47 cats removed from vehicle at Minnesota rest stop in sweltering heat

A vehicle full of cats
Animal Humane Society in the Twin Cities is caring for 47 cats found in a vehicle at a rest stop along Interstate 35 near Harris, Minn., on Tuesday.
Photo courtesy Animal Humane Society

Updated: 1:45 p.m.

Forty-seven cats found in a vehicle at a Minnesota rest stop on Tuesday are now under the care of a local animal protection group.

The cats were discovered in "sweltering heat" at the rest stop along Interstate 35 near Harris, Minn., north of the Twin Cities, according to Animal Humane Society. Temperatures in the area on Tuesday climbed into the 90s.

The group said its staff responded to the scene at the request of the Minnesota State Patrol and the Chisago County Sheriff's Office.

Ashley Pudas is an investigator with the Animal Humane Society. She said the cats' owner apparently had lost his home and didn't want to leave the animals behind, so he moved with them into his vehicle while looking for other living arrangements.

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"Unfortunately with the heat yesterday he recognized that it was above and beyond what he was capable of at this time. And he let us help them out,” she said, noting that the owner had not left the cats alone.

The owner — who was assessed by paramedics at the scene — turned 47 cats over to the Humane Society; 14 others had previously been released to a local rescue organization.

"Despite the extreme heat and unsanitary conditions inside the vehicle, most of the cats seem to have only minor medical issues," the Humane Society reported. Pudas said those medical issues were what's typically seen when a number of cats are kept in close quarters and unsanitary conditions — such as hair loss, and some puncture wounds or lacerations from cats striking each other.

Ranging in age from less than a year to more than 12 years old, the cats will eventually be sterilized and made available for adoption through AHS or one of its rescue partners, the group added.