It is hard to imagine that during a war, a kitten in the trenches could save a man’s life but that’s exactly what Pitoutchi did. While on trench duty, Lieutenant Lekeux had followed the noise of kittens crying only to find a group of soldiers surrounding a small basket of kittens. The mother of the litter of eight had been killed before they had even opened their eyes and Lekeux took it upon himself to nurse them all back to health. He tried as best as he could to put drops of milk into their mouths but only one kitten would drink the milk. By the next evening, all but one kitten had died. In exchange for saving his life, the cat gave Lekeux his loyalty by following him wherever he went. If the ground was dry, he would walk with Lekeux in the trenches and if the ground was wet, he would leap onto his shoulder and ride along.
While on patrol one day, Lekeux had spotted German soldiers digging a new trench and decided to investigate. He hid himself in a shell hole nearby and began to sketch, but he was so engrossed in his sketching that he didn’t notice the German soldiers on patrol approaching him. Lekeux was stuck in one hell of a predicament, because if he left the hole he would be shot and if he didn’t he would be bayoneted. He decided to lie very still and hoped that the Germans would not see him, but unfortunately he heard one soldier say, “He’s in the hole,” and knew he had been seen. Seeing his captain in danger, Pitoutchi did not hesitate to expose himself in his place. The kitten courageously jumped out of the hole onto a piece of timber and drew enemy fire. The Germans were startled and fired two shots at the cat. Thankfully, Pitoutchi was not hit and he jumped back into the hole with his beloved Lekeux. The Germans laughed and joked that they had mistaken a cat for a man and turned around. Lekeux then finished his sketches and returned to the Belgian lines with Pitoutchi on his shoulder.
Post by Arvin Ramdas