If you’re not acquainted with Lil’ BUB, you probably have at least seen her space-cat antics on your Facebook news feed. She’s an internet star, gaining notoriety as a kitten from her excessively adorable face and her inspiring life story. But when she received a diagnosis that could possibly mean euthanasia, her owner was afraid that her star would blink out early – that is, until a fan suggested the Assisi Loop™, which saved her life and helped her continue to fight the good fight for homeless animals.
Found as a tiny feral kitten in a toolshed in rural Indiana, Lil’ BUB was taken in by a rescue organization that realized her physical challenges would require extra help. Her littermates were all healthy and normal, but BUB was clearly different. She was a dwarf, which meant her legs were very short and her body was very long (she almost looks like a ferret in some of her videos). She was adopted by Mike Bridavsky, who already had a few rescue cats in his family. Mike’s video and photography of her kitten antics soon went viral on the internet (his very first viral video featured BUB’s interaction with a yogurt container), and soon she had a fanbase that warranted meet-and-greets and special appearances to promote animal adoption.
However, during the December 2012 filming of her documentary Lil’ BUB and Friendz, it became clear that something was wrong. She was soon unable to walk, and moved only when she absolutely had to by pushing herself along with her back legs while her front legs were pinned to her chest. Mike brought her to a specialist who diagnosed her with osteopetrosis – the only recorded case in a cat. The specialist said that, due to her bones’ uncontrolled thickening and growing, soon her jaw would freeze, and that within a month she would lose the use of her back legs – and this, in time, would mean a death sentence for the little feline celebrity. Mike was devastated.
To try and help, he investigated Reiki healing, an energy therapy that is sometimes called “a spiritually guided life force energy.” Though skeptical, Mike was surprised to see that after a few sessions of Reiki, BUB was better. “By better, I mean she was just back to how she was prior to when she couldn’t walk at all,” Mike told Assisi Animal Health in July 2013. “She was still having a hard time moving around, but at least she was happy and in a good mood again. I don’t think she was in pain anymore, but she still had trouble walking around. … When she was at her best, she would only move around when she had to, which was to get food. That was a big ordeal for her, and I sometimes had to help her. I would have to take her to use the bathroom. She would get up to go number two if she had to, but often she would pee where she was sitting.”
While Reiki was helping, it was clear that something else would be needed for BUB to feel any better. With treatment from her vet (not the specialist who diagnosed osteopetrosis), Dr. Arthur Woodruff, she was on prednisolone for pain and Dasuquin (a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement) for joint health, but she didn’t seem fully comfortable.
In April 2013, BUB and Mike attended a meet-and-greet at a showing of her film, Lil’ BUB and Friendz, in their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. BUB was still not feeling her best, but was at least well enough to make public appearances. After the meet-and-greet, an “anonymous hero” later identified as Libby Waterbury emailed Mike and told him to investigate the Asissi Loop (more people may have mentioned it, too, but Libby was certainly one of them). Dr. Woodruff investigated the Loop and tPEMF™ therapy and decided to give it a try on BUB.
The results were staggering – though, at first, not in a good way. “I would say I started noticing changes within a few days. At first I thought they weren’t very good changes,” Mike tells AAH. “I was worried about her. She twitched pretty severely the first time I put it on her. After the first two days I woke up to her back legs kicking rapidly, like she couldn’t control it. At one point she was kicking so rapidly it was spinning her around, and I was really panicking. She kept licking at her legs and was kind of freaking out, and that continued but got less extreme over the course of a week.”
Mike didn’t know it at the time, but this can be a rare (albeit harmless) side-effect of tPEMF therapy; when tissues haven’t had a lot of blood flow in a long time, there can sometimes be twitching in the treatment area once blood flow is increased again by tPEMF. Since BUB’s muscles had been so severely constricted for so long, her twitching was more pronounced than most, and freaked Mike out.
He talked to Dr. Woodruff, who recommended they continue the treatment despite the twitching. “Within a week I noticed things were getting way better, and the twitching pretty much stopped,” Mike says. “It took a few days but as the twitching slowed down it was traded for mobility. So at first it was 80% twitching and 20% mobility, then it was 60% twitching and 40% mobility. Now she doesn’t twitch at all and moves around like a champ.”
Now, a year and a half after starting treatments with the Loop, Mike says BUB is happy and healthy. “She is now the best she’s been since she was a kitten. Also her mood is better. She purrs every day again. She’s very lively. She plays with toys, which she hasn’t done in a while.” She can jump up onto the couch on her own, which is pretty incredible, since she used to hardly be able to walk. She runs up stairs – and considering each step is bigger than she is, this is quite an accomplishment.
With her health on the up-and-up, BUB continues to make public appearances and Mike keeps making adorable videos of her daily life. Her online store sells fantastic BUB merchandise (and we admit, we definitely have a Lil’ BUB plush in the Assisi office) and proceeds benefit charities that help homeless animals, especially special-needs cats. BUB has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for animals in need.
Assisi Animal Health is proud of the Assisi Loop and all it can do for animals, and Lil’ BUB is a prime example of a pet whose future was uncertain until her owner discovered tPEMF. Click here to learn more about the Assisi Loop!
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