Sometimes amazing things happen. And so it did when LilBub, a very cute kitten was – like so many other kittens – first filmed by her owner: The videos went viral. Everyone agreed; LilBub has an aura of awesome. Testament to this she today has hundreds of thousands of followers, frequent appearances and meetings with her fans all over the US, she’s a book author, has appeared on film and even hosted her own TV show! She is simply adorable.
Most importantly, BUB cares about others. She has used her popularity to collect money for pets with special needs in LilBUB’s Big Fund, together with the ASPCA. Drawing attention to such frequently overlooked living beings is key to what BUB is about.
And it’s not just her temperament and ideals that make Lil Bub so special. She also a number of features that are not normally seen in cats – in fact, they’re so striking it’s even been rumored she might be from outer space…
What are these features?
She has an extra digit on every paw. Giving her a grand total of 22 toes!
And she has a rare disease, which causes severe overgrowth of her bones. At some point this was so bad that her health deteriorated. Luckily, after consultation with her vet and other experts a treatment for her condition was found and she’s doing much better now. Vibrations from planes and cars, which she encounters when traveling, apparently also help.
But how did Lil Bub become so special?
As Lady Gaga might have put it: “She was born this way”. Or, as her vet explained it, Lil Bubs features are likely due to some errors during her development, before she was even born. Some of her features may even be connected: because Bub’s bones grew very quickly, her snout possibly did not have enough time to grow to the proper length before the cartilage template mineralized. That process likely also inhibited her teeth to grow through the jaws.
But can we go beyond this explanation? Can we find an answer into why she developed so unusually? We think so – with the help of modern molecular biology and genetics. Moreover, we think Lil Bub could help shape our understanding of rare human diseases – making her even more amazing! Follow our blog entries, where we’ll explain everything step-by-step, as the LilBUBome project unfolds!