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article imageSoldier rescues cat in Afghanistan: 'He was my saving grace'

By Leigh Goessl     Mar 28, 2013 in World
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott was serving in Afghanistan when he found an abused kitten. After seeing evidence of the abuse, he took the kitten back to his office to care for him.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Shortly, after his arrival he came across a kitten who he'd see in his daily duties. He saw evidence of abuse and took the kitten in, keeping him secured in his office.
Knott and the kitten, named Koshka, bonded. Soldiers are not supposed to have pets, but Koshka reminded Knott of his life back home in Oregon.
"You lose faith in a lot but sometimes it's the smallest things that bring you back," Knott said, reported KTPV News.
During the deployment two of Knott's friends were violently killed after a suicide bomber targeted a military convoy. Many others sustained serious injuries. Knott recounts how he'd lost all faith and was crying after this devastating occurrence. The kitten comforted him.
“Once the facts set in and there was nothing I could do, I returned to my office, and a depression struck me like I had not felt since Iraq when a similar event happened,” Knott said, reported Clackamas Review (courtesy KOIN Local 6). “Koshka walked up onto my desk, started to mew and bonk my head purring until I would look up at him. With tears in my eyes he locked eyes with me, reached out with his paw and pressed it to my lips, then climbed down into my lap curled up and shared the moment with me.”
He knew at that moment he could not leave Koshka in Afghanistan and began to try and figure out a way to get the kitten out of the country as he could not bring the cat out through military travel.
"I'd lost hope in myself. I'd lost faith. Then all of a sudden this cat came over and it was like ‘hey, you are you,'" Knott said. "He pulled me out of one of my darkest times so I had to pull him out of one of his darkest places."
With the help of an Afghan interpreter, Knott was able to eventually get Koshka to the U.S. The interpreter, at great risk to himself, had volunteered to take the kitten to Kabul where the Afghan Stray Animal League was located, who helped make arrangements for the kitten's travel to the states.
From Kabul, Koshka was flown to the U.S. on a $3,000 journey paid for by the Knott family that spanned several flights, reported Huffington Post. Today Koshka lives in Oregon with Knott's family and when Knott retires, he will join them all. Currently, Knott is stationed in the U.S.
"He was my saving grace," Knotts said. "He kept me alive during that tour."
More about Us army, Soldier, Afghanistan, Cat, abused kitten
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