MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities cat has become an Internet superstar.

Pudge is so successful that her Minneapolis owner quit her job and now works full time managing her career.

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It started slowly with pictures posted on Instagram, but Pudge has more than 400,000 Instagram followers and more than 370,000 fans on Facebook.

There’s even a full line of Pudge merchandise.

For Kady Lone, it all started in 2010 when she saw a picture of a kitten posted by a Chicago breeder.

“She was about eight weeks old and was really tiny,” Lone said. “She was just so cute.”

Lone, 21, drove to Chicago and came home with Pudge.

In 2011, she began posting on Instagram.

“All these random people started following me to see more photos of Pudge,” she said.

Pudge’s big break came after the 2012 Internet Cat Video Festival, which is put on by the Walker Art Center. A crew filming another famous cat, Lil Bub, included Pudge in their movie, which went on to win an award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“It’s been one event after another,” Lone said. “Making appearances and going to meet-and-greets.”

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During Christmas of 2013, Lone took a leave from her design job to meet the growing demand for the new line of Pudge merchandise.

“Her fans were saying, ‘I want a calendar of Pudge and I want a T-shirt of Pudge,'” Lone said.

The 21-year-old never went back to work.

Pudge has since starred in photoshoots, and has a big one planned for this weekend. Lone can’t talk about it though, because there’s a confidentiality agreement.

For a cat, Pudge is a talented model. She held poses for minutes when WCCO’s cameras went to meet her on Tuesday.

“She sits there and takes direction, like a dog,” Lone said.

On a typical day, Lone spends her time managing Pudge’s online accounts, appearance requests and merchandise orders.

Pudge spends her day riding in Lone’s car, napping and posing.

“I guess you could say she knows that she is famous,” Lone said.

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If you are wondering about Pudge’s unique features, she is an exotic shorthair — a breed developed to be a short-haired version of a Persian.

Esme Murphy