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Cat rescued from Minnesota rest stop nearly 2 years ago now a model for Target

Hercules the cat was found at death’s door. Now he’s a Target model.
Hercules the cat was found at death’s door. Now he’s a Target model. 02:08

MINNEAPOLIS — From homelessness and near death, to being a model for one of the biggest retailers in the world, this is the amazing story of Hercules the cat.

The story starts in June 2022 when bystanders called for help after spotting a car jammed with cats at a Chisago County rest stop. The temperature was 94 degrees. The sheriff's department and Animal Humane Society took 47 cats to vets and shelters.

But one — now named Hercules — escaped. Volunteers from Tuff Start Rescue found him a month later, lying motionless, near death, his fur drenched in urine.

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

Dr. Nicole Perreault at St Francis Vet Clinic in Isanti helped put Hercules back together again. He had multiple surgeries, including several on his jaw, which at one point was held together with surgical thread and blue buttons.

LeBruns Family

"With his referral care and everything, we are probably $12,000 in on him," Perreault said. "We basically say they are worth every penny."

Perreault approached her friend Jill LeBrun, a registered nurse, to foster Hercules

"He just looks like a big ham, and he was a hot mess and it was love at first sight," LeBrun said.

With his fractured jaw, Hercules' tongue hangs out a lot. An animal talent agency was looking for cats with unusual faces.

"I sent them a picture of Hercules and they wanted him for the photo shoot and then he did great," LeBrun said.

The agency wants him back and Hercules is even getting recognized.

"He got called back for a second photo shoot," LeBrun said.

Hercules made $100 from his first modeling gig

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