After surviving a tough life in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jess Knott and former stray cat Koshka now live together happily in Oregon City.

Knott rescued Koshka from a life of abuse and neglect in 2010 during his deployment in Afghanistan when he detected that something was just not right.

On three different occasions, Koshka wandered into the Army base where Knott was stationed. Each time Koshka came to visit, he wore a different mark of abuse from spray-painted fur to a bloody ripped-up foot pad, reports Oregon Online.

Going against strict Army regulations, Knott rescued Koshka and brought him in to stay with him.

Soon after, it was Koshka’s turn to be the hero. A crumbling marriage back home was taking a toll on Knott and, after Dec. 8 2010, when a patrol with some of his platoon members was hit by a suicide bomber, he fell into a deep depression, seriously contemplating suicide.

When Knott reached his darkest hour, Koshka would not have any of it. He began meowing, headbutting him, and pawing Knott’s forehead. He then jumped up on his lap and “produced a low, vibrating sound that Knott had never heard from him before,” as reported by Oregon Live.

Koshka helped snap Knott out of his depression, and after, Knott realized that he needed to figure out how to bring Koshka back to the States with him. Thanks to Kabul-based rescue group  Afghan Stray Animal League, animal welfare organization Nowzad Dogs, and Knott’s mother, Helene Knott, Koshka was safely transported to the U.S., where he has since been living out his life in happiness and comfort.

Now, Koshka is set to be honored during the ASPCA’s 2013 Humane Awards on Nov. 21 as the “Cat of the Year.”

“Staff Sgt. Knott’s story truly touched our hearts, and clearly exemplifies the importance of the human-animal bond,” said ASPCA’s senior director for special events, Lindsay Sklar to Oregon Online. “It is obvious that Staff Sgt. Knott saved Koshka’s life, but Koshka also saved Staff Sgt. Knott’s life in return.”

A fantastic honor for an amazing cat!

Image source: Huffington Post