The master scrounger, who even secures four boxes of lobsters to share with his comrades, lightens the load of the young combatants by removing their dependence on the military and reconnecting them with the earth and the normal order of hustling for a good meal, a manly jest, and an untroubled sleep. Kat is an experienced, cool-headed warrior who once survived two days behind enemy lines in Russia before making his way back to his unit. After the bombardment of the cemetery, Kat, like a comforting father, sits near Paul and eases him from the nightmare. As they leave the wreckage left in the cemetery, Kat suggests shooting the young recruit, whose terrible wounds will surely kill him.
On the way to the aid station, Paul, who must carry Kat because he cannot locate a stretcher, ponders his love for the older man:
Kat my friend, Kat with the drooping shoulders and the poor, thin moustache, Kat, whom I know as I know no other man, Kat with whom I have shared these years — it is impossible that perhaps I shall not see Kat again.
Because of his son-like devotion to Kat during their three years together, Paul writes down Kat's address and even considers shooting himself in the foot so that they may remain together at the aid station. After Kat dies from a shrapnel splinter in the head, the loss of "Militiaman Stanislaus Katczinsky" seems all the more intolerable, as though the final prop has been knocked from beneath Paul, leaving him defenseless in the face of the interminable war.