I think this is the ultimate comeback story. A cat who was on the brink of death is rescued, given the care he needs, and is now a face that will soon be well-known across Minnesota.

Cats Found in Sweltering Hot Car in Minnesota 2 Years Ago

2 years ago, in June of 2022, 47 cats were found in a sweltering hot car at a Chisago County rest stop, according to CBS. It's bad enough to leave a pet in a car on a hot day but on this day it was even worse, sitting at 94 degrees.

The cats had been living in the car with their owner and ranged in age from less than a year to 12 years old. The owner released the cats to the Animal Humane Society.

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At the time in 2022, AHS told CBS, "'Despite the extreme heat and unsanitary conditions inside the vehicle, most of the cats seem to have only minor medical issues. They are currently being cared for, examined, and evaluated by AHS veterinary and animal behavior staff.'"

But then, they discovered a 48th about a month later.

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Minnesota's 'Miracle Kitty'

WCCO reports that this final cat had evaded being found for a month until Tuff Start Rescue in St. Francis found him "lying motionless, near death, his fur drenched in urine."

He was treated for a severe jaw fracture and a maggot infestation. The infestation "was so bad that it had eroded through his cheek tissue."

The poor guy was so bad off that in order to facilitate the healing of his jaw they used surgical thread and blue buttons on his cheeks to hold everything together.

Dr. Nicole Perreault at St Francis Vet Clinic in Isanti was one of the people who helped this cat heal and get better. She contacted a friend of hers named Jill LeBrun to foster the cat.

Well, Jill fell in love with him, he was named Hercules, and now he's a full-blown cat model.

Minnesota Cat Now Modeling for Target

One of the biggest companies in the world, Target, has asked Hercules to model for them. Jill had seen that they were looking for cats "with unusual faces", she sent in a picture of Hercules, and they wanted him for a photoshoot.

Because of his injuries, Hercules' tongue hangs out a lot therefore qualifying him for the 'unusal faces' requirement. Plus, what a great comeback story!

Esme Murphy, WCCO
Esme Murphy, WCCO

Hercules has already had his first photoshoot and they must have loved it because Jill said they've called back for another shoot.

Pretty soon (if it's not already available at your nearest Target) you'll be able to find Hercules on Target's Up and Up branded fragrance-free cat litter.

Carly Ross, Townsquare Media Rochester
Carly Ross, Townsquare Media Rochester

Why do cats have whiskers? Why do they meow? Why do they nap so much? And answers to 47 other kitty questions:

Why do they meow? Why do they nap so much? Why do they have whiskers? Cats, and their undeniably adorable babies known as kittens, are mysterious creatures. Their larger relatives, after all, are some of the most mystical and lethal animals on the planet. Many questions related to domestic felines, however, have perfectly logical answers. Here’s a look at some of the most common questions related to kittens and cats, and the answers cat lovers are looking for.

Gallery Credit: Andrew Lisa