If you missed the first part of our interview with Lil BUB’s “Dude,” Mike Bridavsky, click here to read “Part One: How it All Began.”
Are you getting used to BUB’s fame, or does it still seem surreal at times?
Well it’s been 2 years now, and BUB is only 2.5 years old. So while all of her life has been spent as the most remarkable creature on the planet, 2 of those years have been spent as one of the most famous cats on the planet. It’s actually not surreal at all to me anymore – in fact I don’t even think of her as this celebrity, and I often forget that she’s a household name all over the world. I think the weirdest part about all of this is that it doesn’t seem weird anymore. That’s weird.
When watching video of yours and BUB’s public appearances, I love seeing how protective you are of her. How does BUB handle the travel and the appearances? Do you put a limit on the time she’s in public?
My number one priority is BUB’s safety, health, and comfort. It’s been that way from the beginning, even before she was famous. I don’t consider myself “protective” – I just make sure she’s comfortable and at ease. BUB is unlike any other cat on the planet. And I’m not talking about her physical appearance. What I think is most unique about her is her demeanor and attitude. You have no idea how surprised I was the first time we traveled to NYC, and she was purring while sitting on my lap in the taxi, in the airport, on the plane and in the subway. I can place her on the ground in the middle of Times Square and she will happily look around and just take in the experience. She genuinely loves to travel and she genuinely loves people. However, she generally does not like other cats or animals.
She does get tired though, so I am careful about how much we do when we’re traveling, what we do, and how long we do it for. I often host meet and greets at shelters to raise money and awareness for animals in need – and I limit these to about 2-3 hours. I have very strict rules and guidelines for appearances, and always have the option to end early or cancel if I don’t feel BUB is up for it, or I don’t feel like the environment is safe or comfortable for her. BUB comes first.
A friend of mine who met BUB at one of your New Jersey appearances wrote that “being in her presence is a gift I will always cherish.” BUB seems be an inspiration to many, and she seems to project a message of hope. How do you explain this effect BUB has on people?
To be honest, I can’t explain it. It’s truly a phenomenon that transcends the internet, pop culture or even peoples’ basic love of cute animals. Complete strangers who don’t even know who she is will freeze in astonishment when they meet her. There was a lady working at the airport who saw BUB peaking out of her carrier and she gasped. She said “there’s something very special about that cat. I’m not even a cat person, but she has a very powerful energy. It’s fantastic.”
A similar thing happened when we were staying at a very fancy, high-end, luxurious hotel in Manhattan. BUB had a little accident in the room (she misses her litter box sometimes). So I called down to the front desk and it turned into a big fiasco. To make a long story short, the lady was really upset, so she came to my room so I could fill out some forms and pay a fee or something. As soon as she walked into my room and saw BUB, she just froze. She said the same thing the other woman had said – that BUB had a very special powerful energy she’d never seen before. We talked for about five minutes about BUB, and the lady apologized and sent up a very nice bottle of wine. And that’s how BUB turned poop into wine.
What strikes me about watching the trajectory of yours and Bub’s journey from the outside is that there seems to be a mindfulness to everything you do. Is this true, and if so, have you always approached life that way, or is this Bub’s influence?
Yes, I am completely involved with every little thing that we do – how BUB is portrayed, where her image is used, how she is photographed, what ideas and products she is associated with, etc. I made a couple simple rules from the very beginning, and I’ve stuck to them ever since.
- I will never pursue any opportunities. I will only consider those that come to me naturally or organically. Absolutely everything that we’ve done, from the book to the television special on Animal Planet, to the documentary, has happened organically. Just an email in my inbox.
- Whenever I agree to do anything like a book, a web series or a TV show – I will only do it if I have creative control and I can work with my amazingly talented friends. Any BUB content that you see is created, written and produced by my friends and me. This includes the book, the web series, the TV special, and all of the merchandise found in BUB’s online store – it’s all designed, printed and shipped by my friends and people I know.
- Anything I do with BUB has to be completely about BUB and her mission and it has to meet her high standards. She is not a meme, she is not a joke, and she is not an “internet cat”. She’s a real cat, a real hero, and a real inspiration. I am not really a big fan of memes, especially not at the expense of my remarkable cat.
- I try to only work with people/organizations that are true fans and appreciate BUB’s message, story and aesthetic. If you want to involve BUB with something, or want us to do something for you, referring to BUB as a “he” is not going to get you very far.
- There has to be a charitable aspect to anything we do that involves the exchange of currency.
- There has to be some sort of positive message to any content she is involved with.
Next Sunday: Part Three: BUB’s Challenges, and What Comes Next
All photos via BUB’s Facebook page, used with permission