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Soldier and Cat Save Each Other in Afghanistan

By Caroline Golon

Photo courtesy of Sgt. Jesse Knott

click image to enlarge

The last thing Sgt. Jesse Knott expected to bring home to the United States from Afghanistan was a cat. But this soldier and an Afghan cat he named Koshka were clearly destined to be together after helping each other survive a dangerous war zone.

Stationed in an Army base in southern Afghanistan, Sgt. Knott noticed one day that a feral cat who roamed around the base was limping and bleeding heavily. He lured the cat into his office with a piece of steak and spent the next seven months caring for the cat he named Koshka.


The two bonded quickly. Sgt. Knott nursed Koshka back to health, while Koshka comforted Sgt. Knott during the certain danger and emotional toll of war.



Photo courtesy of Sgt. Jesse Knott

click image to enlarge

"You lose faith in a lot but sometimes it's the smallest things that bring you back," Knott told KPTV in Portland.


When it was time for Sgt. Knott to return to the states, he wouldn’t leave Koshka behind. He explained to KPTV how he worked with a local Afghan interpreter who agreed to, in an extremely risky transport, take Koshka to Kabul. Weeks later Sgt. Knott learned that the cat (and his Afghan chaperone) made it safely across “God knows how many Taliban check points,” to Kabul, where Koshka boarded a plane bound for the states. The $3,000 Sgt. Knott’s family forked over to fly the cat home was worth every penny, they said.


While Sgt. Knott is currently stationed in Washington state, Koshka is now safe at home with Sgt. Knott’s parents until the pair can be together again.


The Oregon Humane Society recently honored Sgt. Knott and Koshka with a 2013 Diamond Collar Hero award for their incredible story of friendship.


Until his assignment is over, Knott gets home as often as he can to visit with his furry best friend. "He was my saving grace," Knott told KPTV. "He kept me alive during that tour."


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