Probably the last thing Christine Weber Bouldin expected to find in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army was a new pet. But that’s exactly what she got.
In 2008, Bouldin was at Bagram Airfield — her final deployment after eight years of service — when she first saw the teeny, tiny special needs tabby who would win her heart, People.com reports.
Bouldin, a life-long animal lover, had heard that people were throwing rocks at a cat and kitten who roamed the base and immediately set out to find the stray felines. When she found them, she knew something wasn’t right with the kitten, who struggled to walk.
At first, Bouldin thought the kitten might’ve had some sort of cat version of Parkinson’s disease.
“I’d never seen a cat like that,” Bouldin told People. “I felt so sorry for her. She couldn’t stand up and would flip over.”
After doing some research online, she discovered the kitten, whom Bouldin named Felix, had cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), a neurological condition that occurs when the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills and coordination, is not completely developed at birth. If a pregnant cat is exposed to the virus for panleukopenia, her kittens may end up with CH. It affects their motor skills, but otherwise they are pretty much normal cats.
Bouldin began caring for the kitten and the mama cat in the hopes of bringing both of them home to North Carolina with her. Then one day the mama cat disappeared and the soldier became the surrogate mom.
“She was so sweet and I could tell she appreciated me taking care of her when her mom left,” Bouldin told People. “She makes me cry sometimes still because she looks at me like I’m her mom.”
Unable to properly care for Felix at the base, where pets were not allowed, Bouldin entrusted her beloved kitten to a woman who did animal rescue work in Kabul. The woman, Pam Constable, would take care of Felix until she could bring the cat to the United States where she could be reunited with Bouldin.
“She had a lot of special needs, making a big mess all the time, eating and using the litter box,” Constable told People. “But I never minded any of it because I was so taken with her and her intrepid spirit.”
Bouldin finally came home in 2009 and she and Felix have been together ever since. Today they live in Colorado with Bouldin’s husband and another cat.
Bouldin says Felix helped her through a lot of tough times, and she believes the cat is “an angel sent to me from God.”
We bet if Felix could talk she would say the same thing about Bouldin.