“Coke” – Member of Ukrainian Armed Forces Feline Intelligence
“Coke” on the Donetsk frontline.Photo credit AFU soldier near Avdiivka.
Coke’s partner, a soldier on the Donetsk frontline explains:
"The Ukrainian Armed Forces have befriended a lot of pets but Coke, a cat named after the Avdiivka Coke Plant, is our favorite. He has been in service for almost a year now, and we have made him a member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' feline intelligence. We even made him a badge.
He came to us last spring, when we found him at the Coke Plant in Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, where our unit was deployed. Since then, he has always been with us. Even his comrades-in-arms took him to Chernivtsi (west Ukraine) on holiday.
Coke seems to be able to sense enemy shelling before it starts and begins to meow, just like an air raid warning. In our experience, many of our animals can sense the approach of artillery strikes. There was almost a fight in Chernivtsi over who would take this cat.
Chucha on the Bakhmut frontline.Photo credit commander of tank division AFU near Bakhmut.
Chucha is our mascot. Six months ago, we found her in an abandoned house near Bakhmut which began to set up as our base. In one of the rooms, we found a dog with small puppies.
The guys wanted to throw her away because a dog in the house means additional hassle and dirt, but I said that this is the dog's house she is the owner, we can’t drive her out.
One night, there was a Russian attack on us. One shell fell in front of the entrance to the house and another right behind, but by some miracle we survived.
Maybe it's fanciful, but I think it was because of the dog. We did the right thing by not kicking her out, and that took the danger away from us. Since that incident, Chucha has always been with us, and indeed our losses seem to be less than those of other units.
Fearless.Photo credit AFU soldier in Bakhmut.
A soldier in Bakhmut says their cats protect them from mice.
“One cat named Saboteur comes only at night to eat. In the morning, when he goes, he leaves the mice he has caught on the doorstep. The second cat Shell, is a funny shape – fat and long with short legs. He runs away when there is shelling then returns in a couple of days."
"There is another cat that lives in a broken-down car nearby. Everyone calls him by different names. It doesn’t make contact with us but arrives unannounced which sometimes scares you because we hear it moving about.
One day, a sabotage group approached from the direction of the cat’s car. A firefight started and they hit the car but he sat there as still as a mouse for twenty minutes. Then, when it was over, he got out and calmly walked around his property as if checking for damage. We were shocked because we thought the cat had long since escaped. After that, we renamed the cat Fearless."
“Murka” and her kittens
“Murka”Photo credit AFU soldier in Donetsk region.
A guy brought a cat from his village three months ago. We were overrun by mice back then. They jumped like horses, gnawed everything and even bit our hands at night. I was bitten twice. The mice ruined everything.
The cat was young, three-colored - white and red with black spots. She turned out to be a really good mouser. There are no mice now, none at all.
But now nobody wants her any more, especially when we found out she was pregnant. She walked around the dugouts, trying to get close to someone, meowing. One or two of us gave her something to eat but others tried to chase her away. She didn't have a name.
After a week of wandering, the cat chose me and my dugout - the smallest and most uncomfortable. I named her Murka.
She is very affectionate and likes to "talk." I can't eat the sausages they cook for us, because they are disgusting but because there are no mice she loves them, so I save my sausages for her and occasionally give her something tastier, as a treat.
Murka caught the last mouse a week ago. Then this morning she gave birth to six colorful kittens in my sleeping bag.
I dug a little shelf in the dugout in the corner near the stove and put a box for the kittens on it. One of the kittens was frail, so I had to push it to its mother and press a little with my fingers near the ears to make it suck. Now everything is fine.
When we can go to civilization, I will buy healthy food for Murka. She lets me touch her kittens but shields them from the other guys.
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