Alana here today.
It’s not that often that I walk up to a theater and find a line snaking down the entire length of the block, but that’s what happened last night when Chicago was treated to the premier of the movie “Lil Bub & Friendz.” A huge crowd of people showed up to see the film, with the predominant age group falling somewhere between 25 and 40. Hipsters abounded, adorned in Lil Bub jackets, shirts, and buttons. Although I don’t have an official number, word has it that over 1,000 people attended the event, many paying extra to stay late for a meet and greet with Bub herself. Of course, Mike Bridavsky, her “dude,” was also there. And that, I think, is the most interesting part of this story.
Most people are familiar with Bub. She gets most of the focus, and that’s not surprising considering her sweet face and kind nature. It’s not often that a cat will sit placidly on a table snoozing away while her person signs autographs for a line of waiting people, but such is the way of Bub. The film itself was entertaining and cute, informative, and surprising. It didn’t just focus on Bub, but really did give quite a bit of information on other cat celebrities and even on people who love to love the cat celebrities. How, though, does Mike fit into all of this?
At the beginning of the event, the audience was asked to applaud silently, using a finger-wiggling cat call taught to us by Jenny Schlueter of Tree House Humane. Why? Because Bub doesn’t like loud noises, and it’s apparent that her safety and comfort is number one to Bridavsky. He stood out on the stage quietly holding Bub, allowing the audience to just savor her, and that they did. Everyone was captivated by every move she made, especially by her little scuttle across the floor after Bridavsky set her down for a moment.
After the film, Bridavsky handed out movie posters and signed them with a 6-toed paw print and Lil Bub’s name. I made a point of asking him why he never autographs them himself, and his reply to me was, “Because it’s not about me.” And that would seem to be his predominant attitude. Many photos of Bub feature Bridavsky holding her and looking directly at her, rather than posing for the camera.
After the autographs were completed, a few people with VIP tickets stayed behind for a Q&A session with Bub. In this case, Bridavsky did all the talking and Bub did the snoring. With a microphone near to her face so the audience could enjoy the sound of her siesta, Bridavsky talked about his life with Bub. What’s truly impressive is his absolute love for his friend. Bridavsky said that Bub was like his daughter, and that he could never understand why people would think it was strange to admit feeling love for an animal. In his family, he commented, he grew up knowing that it was ok to love people and creatures, and it’s only natural for him to outwardly show affection for his friend and companion.
During the session, amidst the snoring, Bub wore her Assisi loop, a device that Bridavsky explained helps with her pain and mobility issues. The loop transmits a Pulsed Electromagnetic Field that, Bridavsky says, has made it easier for Bub to move around. Travel, he explained, is also good for her, because the vibrations from air and car travel help break down the extra bone growth that have limited her mobility. Bub didn’t seem the least bit bothered by her device and snoozed peacefully, receiving gentle pets from Bridavsky while he talked and sipped a beer.
Outside of his life with Bub, Bridavsky owns a recording studio, which isn’t operating much these days due to his schedule with Bub. A seemingly down to earth fellow, he has a policy of not approaching anyone for any kind of deal with Bub. They’re welcome to approach him, and he considers offers carefully, putting Bub’s welfare and his own creativity before financial matters. He recently turned down a deal with a major cat corporation because he wasn’t comfortable with the terms. He does, of course, support himself with the Bub industry, but he’s also very generous. In fact, 100% of the ticket sales from the premier of the movie went to Tree House Humane.
The Q&A ended when Bridavsky noticed that Bub was getting worn out. As we were leaving, I heard the tinkle of piano keys behind me. I turned around to see Bridavsky plunking out a few notes next to Bub, who he had gently placed on the keyboard beside him.
Lil Bub, as popular as she is, is more than just a sweet face. She’s a symbol for special needs cats. She shows that, despite her disabilities, she has plenty to offer. And she’s also the vehicle for showcasing Bridavsky’s generosity and love for animals. It’s obvious that he prefers the spotlight to remain on Bub, but his gentle nature and approachability are hard to ignore. Together, Bub and Bridavksy are a symbol for what we at Catinthefridge.com hope for from the whole world: kindness to animals, the ability to see something beautiful in a creature that might otherwise have been overlooked, and the desire to put freedom and compassion in front of money and fame. For all these things and more, we thank Bub and her dude for all they’re doing.
Crepes will be doing a Q&A with Bub in the near future. Keep an eye out for it!