He quickly falls in love with humans and has provided morale support for troops from more than a half a dozen countries. He has a daily round at RC South where he goes from office to office announcing his arrival with a loud ‘meow’ and the people inside quickly open the door to let him in.
He often has a snack, will enjoy a quick rub down and takes a nap in his chair (he has a chair in several offices). Garfield's distinct voice, humorous personality, and loving disposition make just about everyone love him”.
After my first deployment I wanted badly to take him home with me. But he was providing so much love to the troops, it felt wrong to take him away.
Before I left, Garfield was actually enlisted in the American Army as a working cat. Much like working dogs, he was given a rank, duties, and veterinary care. Staff Sergeant Garfield’s assignment s were to kill mice, prevent snakes from coming to RC South, and provide morale support to the soldiers. He did all of his jobs with excellence.”
Garfield, guarding the base…
Although his soldier left, he was to be reunited with Garfield.
“On my second deployment I had the opportunity to visit Garfield in RC South where he was doing exceptionally well and was loved by a new group of soldiers and civilians. It is my understanding that SSG Garfield was then claimed by over four dozen individuals.”
But the time came when Garfield would have to leave his home at RC South. Previously he had been protected on base by his rank and his love, but he became in danger of extermination due to a rabies outbreak. Suddenly Leadership thought it best to exterminate all animals on base; and even though he had had all his shots, Garfield would definitely have been included in that order.
Fortunately, according to his soldier, that was not to be Garfield’s fate. He wrote, “Thanks to Nowzad that didn’t happen. We are all so grateful to Nowzad for helping us rescue SSG Garfield.”
And thanks to many Nowzad/SAC Fund supporters, Garfield soon found himself in a totally new home in North Carolina.
While it was comfortable; it was definitely different.
At first things seemed to go very well.
His new mom even said, “Garfield didn't want to get out of bed this morning. He is still rolling around happy in the covers.”
But adjustment problems soon surfaced….
His mom reported:
“Garfield has been meowing and crying constantly for a few days. We have done everything to make him happy and this morning Matheus let him go outside. I was worried sick, but sure enough, one hour later he pranced back into the house, content and calm having hung out in the grass.”
And a month later:
“We haven't sleep a full night in almost two weeks. Garfield is not giving up. He meows by the front door for hours and hours on end starting at 3am. I'm giving him supervised outdoor time, attention, love, and play. Matheus is going to move out pretty soon! What should I do? Let him sleep outside?...
I mentioned catnip. Matheus said, ‘I don't want him on drugs’”
Garfield is nothing if not determined. A week later she wrote;
“Garfield meowed to go outside from 9pm until 9:45am- straight. In the process he also completely destroyed the ventilation system for the dryer out of frustration. We read that outside cats have a shorter lifespan, so we didn't let him out, but we didn't sleep all night and Matheus is bloodshot for work. My head is pounding…
This morning I put his harness on and took him outside for a walk. He escaped from the harness and took off, I tried to catch him but failed, so he is currently on the run.”
Fortunately Garfield did return. But unfortunately a trip to the vet was on his schedule.
Thanks to his parents, we have words from him:
“I went to the vet today. Mom put me in the dumb harness AND brought the dog. I got stuck by needles and they examined my poop. America is lame this way. Good news is that I am 13.5 pounds which is actually my ideal weight (I'm big boned!). Bad news is that I may have hypertension and plan to get retested on Monday. In other news, I have to quit smoking because I have gingivitis. Also mom is going to start brushing my teeth. And, I may be closer to 8 years old, not 4. TBD on that. Hey Afghans don't have birth certificates!”
Not only did Garfield have to endure veterinary visits, but his folks actually dressed him up as the “Lion King of Kandahar”
And despite their effective attention to his hypertension – “Great news! SSG G's blood pressure is down to 170 (which is still high but acceptable under the stress of the vet). He is sleeping a little bit more but it looks like we got his blood pressure under control! Yay!” – Garfield considered taking a trip out of North Carolina.
When that failed, he looked to other pursuits…
“Garfield has discovered his ability to open up the plantation shutters but he only likes to practice at 4 am.”
And was forced to endure more vet visits.
“I went to the vet yesterday for my annual blood screening…The good news is that my blood test came out fabulous; the bad news is that I am stuck in here going to my grandma’s...”
Fortunately the life-saving tactics that Garfield adapted in Kandahar have served him well in North Carolina and he has learned how to accept his lot as a cat with a real home and owners who love and care for him.
A hardship perhaps, but Garfield is a survivor.
His soldier says, “He touched so many of us at KAF, I'm just the lucky one to have him at home.”