Off the Leash Off the Leash

Soldier saves cat in Afghanistan

'He pulled me out of one of my darkest times.'

By Vetstreet Mar 22, 2013 3:11PM

In December 2011, when Staff Sgt. Jesse Knotts was at his base in Afghanistan mourning the loss of two friends who were killed by a suicide bomber, something unexpected arrived to ease his pain: a cat, who suddenly jumped in his lap.

Photo: Staff Sgt. Jesse Knotts helped Koshka the cat after the cat helped him / KPTV Although Knotts knew pets were not allowed, he couldn’t help but develop a companionship with the feline, whom he named Koshka, which is Russian for "cat."

He didn’t think Koshka was safe living in Afghanistan, so with the help of a brave local interpreter, Knotts got the animal to Kabul, and his parents footed a $3,000 bill to fly Koshka from there to their home in Oregon.

"He pulled me out of one of my darkest times, so I had to pull him out of one of his darkest places," Knotts said.

— Read it at CNN’s Headline News and watch it at Oregon’s KPTV

More from Vetstreet:
5 steps for handling pet aggression
The toughest decision a pet owner has to make is…
4 everyday items that work wonders on pet-stained carpets
26 household items poisonous to cats & dogs
Why does my dog … steal things?

Photo: Staff Sgt. Jesse Knotts helped Koshka the cat after the cat helped him / KPTV

Mar 29, 2013 3:20AM
He and his parents are great people!!  Imagine what that poor cat's fate would have been if S.Sgt. Knotts hadn't come along.  Bless him and his parents always.
Mar 28, 2013 3:35PM
God Bless you & your kitty, what wonderful story it really shows how much animals and humans do need one another to help heal the pain of loss..
Mar 27, 2013 1:18AM
Wow, I'm psyched that both a kitty and a human have found a new partner. Funnily enough, one of my cats is named Koshka too :) I'm glad his Koshka is now happy.
Glad to see him save the cat and the military can't afford any bad press by enforcing the no pets rule they have. God knows some muslim thug would have probably eaten the poor cat.
Mar 26, 2013 6:02PM
Awwww! That's so wonderful of him to do that for that poor cat! God Bless him! That's a very pretty cat too! Thank goodness we have good hearted people yet in this world!
Mar 25, 2013 7:50AM
Mar 23, 2013 4:56PM
who are th a-holes who "thumbs-down" the comments on stories like these????
Mar 23, 2013 12:34AM

I love people who love animals. Thanks, soldier. A happy life to you both.


Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

pics, advice, info and stories for pet lovers

  • Puppy friends (Photo: Courtesy of Mikkel Becker)

    Can dogs have best friends?

    The strong bonds that dogs can form are undeniable.

  • Angry cat (Photo: Thinkstock)

    10 things your pet won’t tell you

    Think you know your pet’s every unspoken wish? Think again. Your pet is unlikely to be capable of communicating her wants and needs in ways you might assume she would. Even those of you most in touch with your pets' feelings are likely missing a few cues here and there.

  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (Photo: Thinkstock)

    10 dog breeds that love and hate the water

    The Chesapeake Bay Retriever made both our readers' and veterinary professionals' lists of breeds that love the water.

  • 7 signs your dog owns you

    7 signs your dog owns you

    You might proudly call yourself a dog owner, pet parent or canine guardian, but let’s be real: Your dog owns you. You might be laughing now, but think about it — you've surrendered the best seat on the sofa to him, you plan your entire weekend around his trips to the dog park, and you take him to the groomer more often than you get your own hair cut. And let's not forget who's in every photo on your Facebook and Instagram feeds. Sound familiar? We thought so. But in case you still think you're in charge, here are seven classic signs that your dog is the one calling the shots.

  • 9 unusual dog breeds

    9 unusual dog breeds the vet is seeing more of

    One of the best things about being a veterinarian is all the different dogs I get to meet. Of course, I love the Labs and Beagles and Boxers and Poodles, not to mention those crazy Canine Cocktails, or what my parents used to call Heinz 57s. They are among the more popular dogs out there, and I see a lot of them. In fact, it used to be that it was rare to see anything else. Here are nine dog breeds I sometimes see now that I didn’t see in the past.

  • Shaving dog (Credit: Thinkstock)

    10 dog breeds that shed the most and least

    We asked veterinary experts and readers which breeds they think and if it is OK to shave longhaired pets in the summer.

  • Maine Coon

    12 kid-friendly cat breeds

    If you're searching for a breed that may enjoy the company of a kid, we have some great suggestions for you.

  • Labrador Retriever

    9 large dogs that can be good for families

    When searching for the right dog to add to your family, your first instinct might be to bring home a tiny little thing that your kids can cradle in their laps. But we're here to remind you that the best fit for you may be a large dog breed.

  • Akita

    11 stubborn dog breeds

    Many breeds were developed to do work that required them to act independently. Those dogs tend to be smart, but as family pets, they may need more leadership and training than others. Ultimately, though, they’re worth it. Here are 11 dog breeds that tend to have independent personalities.

  • Chimera cat with interesting facial colors

    13 pets with cool coats and markings

    Many of us here at Vetstreet are fascinated by pets who have unique coats and cool shapes hidden in their markings. So we asked our Facebook fans to share pictures of animals that have interesting coloration, and you did not disappoint. From mustachioed cats to a horse of a different color, here are our 13 favorite photos of pets with cool coats.

  • Jack Russell Terrier

    Dog breeds most likely to chew something up and land in the ER

    We surveyed 284 veterinary professionals (including vets, veterinary technicians and office staff) to see which breeds they felt were most likely to chew something they shouldn't and wind up in the veterinary emergency room, and we've listed the top five answers below. Do you agree with their opinions? Which breeds would you add to the list?

  • ​Simone Pievani, Getty Images // ​Simone Pievani, Getty Images (​Simone Pievani, Getty Images)

    Help your pet brave the Fourth of July fireworks

    This Fourth of July, Americans will celebrate with the sights and sounds of fireworks. While we love the pyrotechnics, it's important to remember that our patriotic midsummer spectacular is no holiday for many of our pets.

buzzing now on msn living
family videos
editor's pick