Kittens Keep Marines "Sane" in Afghanistan

 |  Jul 13th 2010  |   9 Contributions


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This week, PeoplePets featured the following story about a group of kittens in Afghanistan who not only kept the base free of rodents and snakes, but also befriended the marines stationed there and kept them "sane." One Marine vowed to return the favor:

Nawa, in eastern Afghanistan, is a region without many Taliban insurgents. It has green fields situated near the Helmand River, a large marketplace teeming with thousands of people. Still, for U.S. Marines stationed there, Nawa has few of the comforts of home.

"It's not exactly the most fun time I've ever had," Cpl. Brian Chambers tells PEOPLEPets.com of his tour there.

What helped make life on the base a little more bearable for Chambers and the others in his unit were the stray cats that would hang around and, at some point or another, start to resemble pets. For Chambers, that cat was Kiki, a 3-week-old kitten that was dropped off by other members of Chambers's company in November last year.

Kiki, who was one of several kittens and cats on the base, alternated between roaming the grounds during the day and spending time indoors at night. Even upper command didn't mind the cats: "They keep out all the mice and the snakes."

"It gives you something to look forward to at the end of the day," Chambers says. "They keep you sane, I guess."

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Then, in early March, Kiki went missing. He turned up a few days in terrible condition: Kiki had been cut in four places, possibly the result of someone attempting to skin him. He was treated immediately by HM2 Andrew Kunkel (pictured) and a local Afghan vet, and within three days, Kiki was back to his usual self.

It took just those few, hard days for Chambers to cement his attachment to Kiki, so he made arrangements, with the help of his wife, to get the cat home to Houston.

"At that point, I didn't want to leave him here, with this stuff going on," Chambers says. "I was just going to bring him back."

Chambers's wife Yianna, who lives in the U.K., helped fill out paperwork, and reached out to a rescue organization called Nowzad Dogs. They helped coordinate and arrange the transfer of four cats from Chambers's unit: Kiki, KeyKey, Simba and Rako. Chambers himself put up $1,500, and with the help of generous donations, rounded up the necessary $6,000 to transport the four cats to their various destinations.

Read the rest of the story at PeoplePets.com.

[SOURCES: PeoplePets.com and WashingtonPost.com via Mr R W Emerson]

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