If you missed Parts One and Two our our exclusive interview with Lil BUB’s “Dude,” Mike Bridavsky, click the links to catch up:
Part One: How It All Began
Part Two: BUB and Her Adoring Public
I’d like to talk a little about Bub’s physical issues. BUB’s osteopetrosis, also known as marble bone disease, is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which bones harden. What types of treatment is Bub receiving?
BUB is the only cat in recorded history born with this bone disease. There are a handful of recorded cases where cats have gotten osteopetrosis in old age, but we know of no cases where another cat has been born with it. As you can imagine, this made it extremely hard to treat, because there were no treatments known for cats. My vet and I both did a lot of research, and even went to specialists, but we didn’t have much luck.
As BUB grew older, her bones kept getting larger and that made it harder for her to move around. When she was about a year and a half old, she was almost completely immobile. It was a scary time, and my specialist said there wasn’t much that could be done. She had a really bad spell where she was obviously in pain and could not walk around , and this was a very difficult time for us. I had to cancel trips, recording sessions, and basically everything in my life for two weeks so I could stay home with her. I didn’t want to put her through this unnecessarily, and while the specialist didn’t know much about it, he seemed to be sure that she would only get worse. But at the same time I also thought it was premature to make the decision to put her down.
At the recommendation of a friend, I tried Reiki/Energy Healing. I was skeptical, but I also was ready to try anything. Another friend recommended an energy healer in town – and it really helped BUB. I don’t think that it “healed” her – but I think that it most definitely helped her. After two weeks of extreme pain, she started to perk up and started moving after about 3 or 4 days of healing sessions, and she obviously enjoyed the treatments – she would crawl right to the healer every morning to get her treatment. The healer came back every day for two weeks, and by the end of that time BUB was back to the way she was before the horrible incident. She was still having a hard time walking (couldn’t stand upright and had to “army crawl”), but she was no longer in pain, and her mood was back to glowing.
At this point I just assumed that she would walk and stand this way forever, and that it would continue to get progressively worse as she grew older. Then I received an email from a fan that recommended I try a device called the Assisi Loop. It had to be prescribed by my vet, but his first one was free. The Loop uses Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field Therapy. It stimulates blood flow and acts as an anti-inflammatory. There are no side effects, and my vet said it wouldn’t hurt to try it out, so we got her one.
It’s very easy to use – you place the loop around the part of the body that is causing your pet trouble (in BUB’s case, her entire body), then you press the “on” button and it delivers specifically tuned electromagnetic pulses through the body for 15 minutes, and turns itself off when it’s done. You are supposed to do two treatments a day. I didn’t expect much from it, and at the very most thought it might just help with her pain a bit. After only a few days of treatments, I could see immediate physical effects. I didn’t know if they were good at this point – but something very drastic was happening.
Her back legs started twitching very aggressively, almost like muscle spasms. I was actually worried at that point. But my vet said it was nothing to worry about. He presumed it was caused by the increased blood flow in her legs (remember, BUB barely moved around much at all at this point, for about 4 months). So I kept up with the treatments and after a week the spasms stopped. That’s when I was stunned – because BUB was starting to stand upright for the first time since she was a kitten. It truly was remarkable! She still had a hard time walking, but at least she was trying. After about a month, she was walking comfortably again. After about 5 months, she ran for the first time in over a year. And now, about a year later, she is running, playing and even JUMPS ON THE COUCH which is nothing short of a miracle.
Well as it turns out, PEMF Therapy happens to treat a very specific type of osteopetrosis, which is something I found out from a doctor, not a vet, who studied this rare disease for her dissertation in the 80s. She actually messaged me about BUB not because she was a fan, but because she googled “osteopetrosis” and BUB was the first thing that came up. When she found out that PEMF was helping BUB, she explained that PEMF helps a very specific form of the disease where these certain cells are too large to break down on their own (which is why her bones kept growing denser), and the electromagnetic pulses actually help break those cells down.
This also explained why BUB liked traveling so much, and was always so much more mobile and active on trips – the vibrations from the car, plane, etc helped break these cells down as well. And that’s when I realized that BUB used her magic powers to become famous – to help find a cure for her disease. If it weren’t for her fame, we never would have found this treatment. And so BUB gives back by spreading positivity, joy and awareness to people and pets all over the world. Sounds made up, doesn’t it? It’s not.
As a Reiki Master Practitioner, I loved hearing that Reiki helped BUB. Did you learn Reiki specifically to help BUB, or were you using it before she came into your life?
As I mentioned above, I had a Reiki Practitioner come in to work on BUB when BUB was having a really tough time. While I didn’t officially learn Reiki specifically, I did learn some energy healing techniques and used my own intuition and energy to work on BUB. I feel strange talking about it because it’s a very personal thing for me, and something that I could probably only do with BUB. But she is VERY receptive to energy, and while I can’t say with certainty that Reiki or energy healing cured her, I have no doubt in my mind that it helped substantially with her pain and state of mind.
As BUB’s fame continues to grow, how do you decide which projects to accept and which to turn down?
I just follow the rules I laid out from the very beginning. If it’s about BUB, has a great message, sounds fun and exciting, and I can involve my friends, I’ll probably do it. The thing for me is that I am totally OK with all of this ending tomorrow. I am not afraid to say no. I play in touring bands and run a recording studio – so I am happy to go back to doing that full time. But so long as people want to work with BUB and I can continue to be creative and have fun with it, I will entertain all offers and pick the ones that I feel BUB is most excited about.
What’s next for you and BUB?
Well one thing we are very excited about is Lil BUB’s Big FUND for the ASPCA. The name is a little misleading because the money isn’t actually for the ASPCA – it’s for grants that are offered by the ASPCA to any shelter in the country. The grants are specifically created to help with special needs pets. BUB donates a generous portion of all proceeds from licensed products and from her own online store to the fund. People can also donate directly.
We are also excited about the Lil BUB Plush Toy that is coming out later this spring, created by Cuddle Barn. A portion of the proceeds from the plush will benefit Best Friends Animals. And after that we will be working on a BUB Plush with real BUB sounds, and then a fully animatronic BUB toy, hopefully with a remote control. You know, so everyone can own their very own BUB.
One last question: if you had to describe Bub in a single word, what would that word be?
All photos via BUB’s Facebook page, used with permission.