Come and meet Koshka, a very special cat who saved the life of a very special soldier.
A soldier and a kitten bond
Thirty-eight year-old Jessie Knott was stationed in a tiny Afghanistan village around July of 2010. One day, the stray kitten wandered through the camp-site and the two immediately connected with each other. There were other stray cats the soldiers fed scraps to, but this kitten, which he named Koshka, was different, and something, he knew, was wrong with the cat's overall demeanor. (See; The Cat Who Saved an Abandoned Baby.)
Bits of what looked like paint were stuck in the animal's coat. Soon after, part of the cat's hair was shaved off in a sort of careless "reverse Mohawk" in which some deep nicks were visible in her skin. But it was at a barbecue a few days later when Knott reached an important conclusion. He heard mewing and when he followed the sound, he saw the kitten emerging from behind a concrete barrier with blood spurting as he went. One of the cat's toe pads had somehow been almost torn off. (See: The Story of Lucca.)
Knott made a decision to save this kitten
He knew he was breaking military regulations by keeping a cat on the base but he did it anyway. He feared it wouldn't survive if he didn't. He said: "In an environment like that, if you are limp or lame, you're not going to make it." He hid the kitten he named Koshka into his tiny office and his animal-loving commander got him some canned pink salmon fro food. Koshka loved the attention he was getting and deeply bonded with his new human friend.( See; Two Purple Hearts )
December of 2010 brought things to a terrible head
In that agonizing month, Knott lost two close friends who were killed in a blast initiated by a suicide bomber. He had been slated to be with them on that patrol, but plans changed at the very last minute. He was so devastated by the loss, and the fact that his marriage was failing, that he decided to join his two friends, but Koshka had other ideas.
This little kitten wouldn't leave Jessie alone. He lay purring loudly in his lap, constantly head-knocking, patting his face with a paw and producing a low, vibrating sound the soldier had never heard before. Koshka's warm presence and constant purring brought Jessie back from a dark and perilous threshold from which there is no return. He realized he did have a purpose in life after all, and that was to make sure this sweet cat got out of Afghanistan. (See:Local Hero Awarded Service Dog.)
Knott is determined to take Koshka home
In Knott's own words: "The cat saved my life that night and I have no doubt about that . . And after that , it became my mission to get him out of that country, no matter what." Knott was able to find the Kabul-based Afghan Stray Animal League that transported the lucky kitten first to Kabul and then to his parents' home n Oregon City, but it was not an easy trip to plan. The biggest problem was finding a way to pay for the cat's overseas flight from a war zone. Helene Knott, Jessie's mother, who was a quilter by trade, came to the rescue and raised $3,000 by designing a popular line of cat patterns. (See: Hero Dog Given Second Chance.)
This inspiring tale of double rescue made it all the way to The Big Apple where the ASPCA named Koshka as "Cat of the Year" in 2013 at a special luncheon. In 2014,both soldier and cat were honored with the Oregon Humane Society's Diamond Collar Award.
It would appear that a caring soldier saved a cat's life, and Koshka, in simple feline fashion, merely returned the favor.
Joy to both in civilian life.
See also: Bretagne