Monday, April 22, 2013
Me and Lil Bub
Today, I joined hundreds of other cat lovers at the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia for the chance to get up close and personal with celebri-kitty, Lil Bub. I've never met an internet famous cat before, so going in I was a little bit nervous, and didn't know what to expect.
The crowd was a diverse mix of age and gender, but one characteristic that everyone shared was a pure, unadulterated love for Bub. Many of the people I chatted with in line took the day off of work to meet her, and when asked what makes her so special, one grown man replied, "because she's f*cking awesome."
Got my Lil Bub "YES" pin!
While waiting in line, we were instructed to sanitize our hands, and given adorable "YES" pins (cuz Grumpy Cat says, "NO", get it?), along with a postcard promoting her upcoming book, due out in September. Fans could purchase Lil Bub merch, including tees, totes, buttons, and posters (30% of the profits price were donated to the shelter), and were also encouraged to leave donations of money or food, toys, and litter, in exchange for the chance to meet, kiss, and take a picture with her Bubness.
The whole experience kinda felt like being at a concert, and after waiting over an hour for the chance to see her (I got there way early), we were escorted to a private room where was stationed. When I walked in, she was calmly seated on a soft green knit blanket, just chillin' and doing her own thing.
We were allowed to pet her and take pictures - the only rule was that she didn't like being touched behind the ears. They had a little ribbon that they were wiggling around trying to get her attention, but in typical cat fashion she just looked up and smiled when she felt like it. Her dude, Mike Bridavsky, was also there keeping a close watch over her. I got the chance to chat with him for a few minutes, and he couldn't have been nicer.
Looking good, Bub!
What really struck me about the whole experience wasn't how tiny or soft she was, but witnessing firsthand the happiness that she brings into people's lives. I saw men exiting the meeting room with huge grins on their faces, and a woman clutching her chest and exclaiming, "She's just perfect!" You would think they had just met a rockstar, not a tiny, toothless cat who they follow on the internet.
Bub was in town as part of her East Coast tour for the release of her new documentary, "Lil Bub & Friendz", which debuted last week at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC (check out the trailer and screening times here). I viewed it over the weekend in preparation for meeting her, and found it unexpectedly moving. In addition to being an examination of internet cat culture (mostly in terms of videos), it also provides a closer look into Bub's life, including her medical conditions, and the story of the family who found her in their shed as a kitten. It also gives fans the chance to observe the deep bond that she shares with Mike, who says she is like his daughter.
Watching the documentary and meeting Bub in person today has really given me a deeper understanding about what makes her such an extraordinary cat. She truly is a living, breathing miracle, and nearly two years after landing on Earth, it's clear that her mission is far from done. Long live Lil Bub!
To learn more about Lil Bub, visit her website at lilbub.com.