An American soldier in Kuwait who was featured in a viral photo showing him napping with a cat wrote to Stars and Stripes to tell the story behind the photo. The photo of Pfc. Kevin Davidson and a cat adopted by soldiers at his base went viral after it was shared at Reddit.
Soldiers took the cat in and provided him with food and care. The cat has given back with furry companionship that means a lot to soldiers stationed far from home and family.
Pfc. Davidson said the cat was found curled up outside the base on Christmas Eve, and soldiers brought it inside. About a week later, Davidson wrote in an email to the military publication, “I was sitting in my tent with two of my soldiers and I heard a ‘meow.’ I went outside and found this cat laying on one of the [temporary barriers]. I picked him up and brought him in our tent to show him to everyone.” Davidson put the cat back out of the tent and the cat returned, he put the cat out again and the cat again returned. “After that, the cat just sort of moved into our tent with us,” he said.
Davidson said the troops who initially found the cat brought him in to the base and began feeding him. The company commander wanted to have the cat euthanized, citing disease concerns, but the company executive officer instead took the cat to an installation with a veterinarian and had the cat neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, ear clipped, and treated for fleas.
Once the photo of Pfc. Davidson and the cat went viral, the soldier was contacted by people wanting to know if he was planning to bring the cat back home. Davidson, who is in his second deployment and set to return home, said the cat will remain at the base, where it can continue to provide comfort to the soldiers there.
He said, “I was honestly really thankful for [the cat]. You see, as a reservist on a nine month deployment, it isn’t just nine months without leave, it’s about 10 1/2 because we have to leave our families and go to an active-duty installation to train,” Davidson said. “So this cat was the first thing I could hug or really show any affection to. It was very therapeutic.”
“After seeing how he raised my morale and the morale of my team, I couldn’t take him away from all those soldiers still [based] there,” Davidson said.
“After having a cat for a few weeks, I can honestly say that more pets for deployed soldiers would help with the depression and probably cut down on the amount of suicides. I’m not saying I considered suicide while deployed, but I had some dark days missing my wife and kids.”
Pfc. Davidson says the cat stays mostly indoors, and has caught a couple of mice.