When Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott served a tour in Afghanistan, he met a cat named Koshka. While Koshka caught mikce around the camp, other people were often cruel to the cat. After a bloody battle, Sgt. Knott said, “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.”

With the cat giving Sgt. Knott hope for the future, Knott realized that he had to do what was best for the cat, which was to get it out of Afghanistan and back to his home in Washington. To help him, Sgt. Knott enlisted the aid of a local Afghan interpreter who transported the cat to the airport in Kabul.

“The risk to him was immense,” Knott said. “This is a cat with a purple collar and an American-brand cat carrier, going halfway across Afghanistan. Going across God knows how many Taliban checkpoints.”

Knott’s family spent $3,000 to fly Koshka to Oregon, detouring through Islamabad, Pakistan, and New York City. Eventually, Koshka and Sgt. Knott were reunited to a happy homecoming.

“He was my saving grace,” Knott said. “He kept me alive during that tour.”

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