Soldier Saves Afghan Cat: ‘He Was My Saving Grace’


Staff Sergeant Jesse Knotts rescued a stray cat whom he named Koshka while he was serving in Afghanistan, but it was really the kitty who saved him from the difficult times during his service.

“He was showing some signs that people weren’t taking very good care of him,” Knotts said. He brought the kitty in his tiny office and made it home for Koshka. “The cat was a reminder of his life back home in Oregon City,” KPTV.com reported.

“You lose faith in a lot but sometimes it’s the smallest things that bring you back,” Knotts added. An experience he had with a suicide bomber targeted a military convey near his base in the Maiwand District of Afghanistan took away two of his friends. He was devastated and crying in his office then Koshka hopped onto his lap to give him the comfort and love that he would normally get from his loved ones back home.

“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,” he said via KPTV.

He knew there is no way he could leave Koshka in Afghanistan. The little kitty is more than just a cat to him. Koshka is like family to Knotts.

“He pulled me out of one of my darkest times so I had to pull him out of one of his darkest places.”

It was impossible for Knotts to get Koshka on a military convoy. He received help from a local interpreter who risked his life to take the cat to Kabul where they were able to fly the cat from the Middle East all the way to Portland, Oregon. It cost his parents $3,000 for the fly home, but “for them, it was an easy investment.”

“He was my saving grace. He kept me alive during the tour,” Knotts said (KPTV).

Staff Sgt. Jess Knotts rescued a stray Afghan cat who became his saving grace.

soldier saves cat in afghanistan

At that moment, Knotts knew that he couldn’t leave the cat in Afghanistan

soldier saves cat in afghanistan

A local interpreter risked his life to help Knotts bring his cat to Kabul and eventually they were able to fly the cat all the way to his new home in Oregon.

soldier saves cat in afghanistan

Happy and loved

soldier saves cat in afghanistan

Watch video:

KPTV – FOX 12

Source: KPTV.

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51 Responses to “Soldier Saves Afghan Cat: ‘He Was My Saving Grace’”

  1. Denise says:

    beautiful story

  2. winston says:

    Thanks Mr. Soldier

  3. Vivien says:

    I dunno why the news reporter said the cat was feral. People get the words “stray” and “feral” mixed up. They are Not the same thing. This cat is obviously Not feral, you can’t touch a feral cat!

  4. Nancy says:

    I love this story. You and your parents are astonishingly wonderful people.

  5. Sandra says:

    What a wonderful story!! What everyone involved did to save that little baby is amazing, a blessing. Thank you all for caring that much, just lovely! ;)

  6. dinah says:

    what a beautiful story,i have tears in my eyes as im typing..thank you so much for your service and all that you and your fellow service men do..thank you for rescuing the cat,may he give you lots of love..

  7. June says:

    Jesse,
    You know a cat is just another way to show you how much God loves you. My momma just died recently, I dont think I could of made it through the hardest times without my cats.
    Thank you Jesse for your story and your service to our country.
    P.S
    Your parents are great!!!

  8. sleepyo says:

    This shows how important our pets are to us.

  9. Adeline says:

    love the story, best wishes to the cat and the soldier .

  10. MrBsHumanMama says:

    What a beautiful story it brought tears to my eyes. May Stf Sgt Knotts and Koshka have a long and happy life together

  11. julee says:

    I think the military should have a program to help bring these animals home to the soldiers who take them in. It’s not fair to the men or the animals to split them up when they have done so much to keep morale up for our troops.

    • McT says:

      We need guys and cats like this when we think there is no hope. Love to both of you!

    • McT says:

      I sure do think it would boost morale if the army supported this. How can you be in such terrible circumstances and still be human and compassionate if all you see is death? I think pets can have huge benefits for all those guys.

  12. Cindy says:

    What a great story!! It made me cry.

  13. Shelly Lyon says:

    Such a wonderful story! Thank you so much for your service and for savin this precious cat!

  14. sledpress says:

    This makes me happier than anything I have learned of this week. Some day, public institutions, including the military, will realize that our animals are our souls and that being allowed to keep them at our sides is as important as having human family members or a chaplain available (they do a better job of being family or minister, most times).

  15. Caroline says:

    What a beautiful heartwarming story. You guys are a such wonderful people for bringing Koshka into your family. You two rescued each other!

  16. Angela says:

    I’m so happy he was able to keep him. I wish there was a program for soldiers to take home strays without having it cost so much and risk lives. I would gladly donate.

  17. C.C says:

    Amazing Story with a happy ending!!

  18. Diana says:

    What a wonderful story! Hope they both have an amazing life together!

  19. Jesse Knott says:

    Thank you everyone! I am so honored by your responses! Koshka was and is still one of the most important things in my life! I cannot express how much love and affection he gave and shared with me, even with having been mistreated by humans, he still showed me trust and love! When I lost hope he reminded me that he was there for me!
    The organization I rescued him through was the Afghan Stray Animal League, they are a non profit all volunteer group that works in Kabul and do such amazing things on a daily basis!
    It has been my honor to serve my country, and work with some of the finest soldiers I have ever met!

    Thank you again everyone!

    Kindest Regards,
    SSG Jesse Knott

  20. Brooke says:

    Thank you for your service and thank you for saving this beautiful kitty!

  21. Lily says:

    thank you for your service to our country and your super love for this little cat. proves how important such love can be from such a little animal

  22. Linda N says:

    So heartwarming. Cats are truly wonderful creatures.

  23. Ingrid says:

    What an incredible and wonderful story! Thank you to this soldier and his parents for making it happen. Long and happy life to all of them :)

  24. Cole says:

    This made me cry, no joke. This is amazing.

  25. Noelegy says:

    What a good, poignant and sweet story. Many happy and healthy years to you and Koshka. And thank you for your service.

  26. Tucker says:

    YOU ROCK SGT.KNOTTS!!!!
    THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR DOING AND THANK YOU FOR SAVING THIS CATS LIFE!!!!

    MAY YOU AND KASHKA BE SAFE AND HAPPY TOGETHER
    FOR A LOOOOONG TIME!!!!!

  27. Teresa says:

    This made my heart smile, I have been part of the military all my life, and still don’t get the mentality of the military …I don’t understand why he couldn’t have flown back with his human.

  28. Druscilla says:

    This is SO beautiful! Reminds me of me and my cat… Well, it wasn’t as radical of course, but we took him in as a kitten when my leg was injured and I had to stay at home in bed for weeks. Tho just a kid, I was a bit depressed until he showed up. He gave me meaning again. Cats are awesome!

  29. Dorothy says:

    This is such a beautiful, amazing, and hopeful story. Many blessings to you Sgt. Knott–and to Koshka, your supportive family, and the Afghan interpreter who risked his life to transport Koshka. Thank you.

  30. Christine Stewart says:

    Thank you Staff Sgt, for saving Koshka- and thank you, Koshka, for being a good friend in return!

  31. Kate says:

    Cats are a blessing, and so are good-hearted soldiers. Bless you both.

  32. Sue says:

    What a great story to learn of. Thanks Jesse for your service. Much appreciated. And thanks for saving your little fur angel Koshka. God Bless you both. :)

  33. Mary says:

    I am so touched by your story. Koshka is a handsome guy, so is his Daddy. Your humanity has remained in tact. Many blessings to you.

  34. Iffat says:

    What incredible people to risk so much to save this cat. Amazing story, lucky cat!

  35. God bless you and Koshka!

  36. Debra Olsen says:

    Wish more people could understand the strong connection to be had between people & animals. Amazing outcome considering all the risks. Must have been tough for Koshka to eat & *use the facilities*. Glad he made it!

  37. Valentina says:

    Lucky cat… I wonder where his name “Koshka” comes from. Obviously it’s Russian for “cat” (female cat that is), but why?

  38. M Kope says:

    Amazing story. I also took two cats out of the Middle East and brought them home with me to the US. Cats are treated like vermin and pets are not valued like they are in America. His cat, and my two kittens, are the luckiest creatures on earth.

  39. Alice says:

    This made my day, without doubt.

  40. Jenn says:

    This is so sweet. Hope the soldier is reunited with Kitty Love in Portland.

  41. Debbie Johnson says:

    God Bless You Sgt. Knotts and all those who risked their life to keep these 2 together. Koshka, you are a beautiful reminder what animals can do for our morale. You love and trust so unconditionally and us smart animal lovers are blessed to be part of your lives. Sgt. Knotts, thank you for all your courage and service. I wish you and Koshka many years of love together!

  42. Jeff hardman says:

    Thank you SGT, I’m sure your kindness will be repaid many times over….Good luck to you sir….

  43. gabrielle says:

    This connection with a cat is a very very real thing! I was very sick for many years; it was like being in a dark closet where nothing registers and time is an unendurable pit. I remember nothing of the past decade, except that one day in November a homeless kitten wandered into my life, because from then on things began to change. I beg everyone who hears these words to accept that there is great benefit when you give respect to a cat; ours is still a culture in which cats and kittens are given up and/or thrown away daily (e.g. craigslist.com). A cat’s life is as much a thing of value as any other; certainly we should not be blind to suffering!. Hooray for those who are open to this connection and are willing to nourish it.

  44. Katherine Leigh says:

    God bless this man. The Good Lord smiles upon he who helps children and animals.

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