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While on active duty in the Middle East, Sergeant Kelsey met a beautiful orange mama kitty and the two became fast friends. But Sgt. Kelsey knew this cat needed her help.

She was clearly malnourished. She also had wounds on her eyes and nose. Her tail was broken and in the sweltering 126-degree heat, she had very little access to water. Kelsey knew she would need help herself. Because service members are not allowed to bring the animals back with them, according to Newsweek.

So it was time to contact Guardians of Rescue, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to relocating animals to safe homes.

And according to Robert Misseri, the organization’s president and co-founder, it was clear all three cats needed help, especially the poor mother.

“She was visibly malnourished, wounded, and so weak she could only walk a few steps at a time,” Misseri says. “She desperately needed help. SGT. Kelsey began caring for the little cat and found her resilience and fight to survive inspiring; she gave her the name Sergeant Whiskers.”

Kelsey And This Sweet Mama Kitty Formed A Bond.

Kelsey first met Sergeant Whiskers while she was six weeks into her tour. She patiently worked to gain the cat’s trust and nursed her back to health. Then this gentle mama kitty introduced her to her two nursing-aged kittens. She had hidden them near the base, but far away from humans.

For Kelsey and her fellow soldiers, Sergeant Whiskers and her adorable kittens were a source of comfort in what were also unthinkably harsh conditions. And it’s for this reason that Sgt. Kelsey decided to find a safe harbor for them in the U.S. She knew this mama kitty and her babies needed a warm home and a loving family, Yahoo! reports.

Sergeant Kelsey Calls For Help.

That’s when she contacted Guardians, to see if the organization could help her. And according to Misseri, everyone was more than happy to step in.

“We are honored to help relocate these pets back to the soldiers’ home states, so they can live with their families,” president and co-founder of Guardians of Rescue, Robert Misseri said in a statement. “But it’s something that we can’t do alone. We have to have the support from the public in order to help make a mission like this be successful.”

So now Sergeant Kelsey and Guardians (which did not reveal Kelsey’s first name because she is still on active duty) are asking for donations that will provide “medical care, airfare, fees, and more” to bring mama and kittens to the U.S. Misseri said in the statement.

“We want to provide the support to our soldiers, and we will do everything we can to help their wish come true,” Misseri explained. “We appreciate any donations to help get Sgt. Whiskers and her babies to safety.”

Finding Proper Medical Care Can Be A Challenge.

Even as the arrangements are made to send animals to safe and secure places, one of the biggest challenges the organization faces is finding a veterinarian that’s close by. Misseri told Newsweek veterinarians may be as far as five to ten hours away.

But no matter what the challenges may be, Misseri said it’s worth it because it means so much to the service members involved.

“I’ve talked to many service members who didn’t know there was an option that they could bring a dog or cat back home and they left them behind,” he said. “They can develop PTSD over it, they can fall into a depression and they feel like they have betrayed the animal.”

Misseri also notes that if a military camp has to move to a new place, service members can’t bring the animal along. Leaving the animal behind, he says, can be “devastating.”

“When we get a message from them, we jump into action and do everything we can to make it happen,” he said.

Because Guardians is a non-profit, it relies on donations to make it possible to rehome an animal in the U.S. And according to Misseri, donations are still being accepted to bring this mama kitty and her family home. If they are successful, Sgt. Kelsey will return home to three kitties who will be more than happy to see her again.

A Rewarding Process And A Home For Mama Kitty.

Misseri says he feels gratitude for being able to reunite service members with the beloved animals they helped overseas.

“There’s a feeling that you cannot replace when that service member comes back, and they come back after the animal comes to America,” he notes. “The expression, the phone call, the video of appreciation is timeless.”

It’s rewarding to know that Sgt. Whiskers and her kittens will soon be safe and living in a home where they will receive love and affection. This mama kitty won’t ever have to worry about food or water, or whether she’ll have a safe place to sleep. And when Sgt. Kelsey comes home, she’ll have Sgt. Whiskers and her adorable kittens to help her deal with the stresses caused by active duty overseas.

Photos property of @guardiansofrescue

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