The narrator says that Katczinsky has "a sixth sense," and calls him "the smartest man (he) knows." He cites the example of one night when the company had landed in "some entirely unknown spot, a sorry hole, that has been eaten out to the very walls." Quartered in "a small dark factory adapted to the purpose," the men find that they are expected to bed down on bunks made of hard wire netting stretched over wooden beams. The men have nothing to put on the netting, but after evaluating the situation, Kat goes off to explore and returns with straw that he has found in a horse box somewhere outside. Now the company can sleep, but they are starving, and have been told by and artilleryman "who has been some time in (the) neighbourhood" that they will not find "so much as a crust of bread" there until rations come up in the morning. Undaunted, Kat sets off again, and returns with "two loaves of bread...and a blood-stained sandbag full of horse-flesh in his hand."
Kat's resourcefulness is evidence of his intelligence and efficiency. It shows that he has a gift, and tells us that he is capable beyond what would be expected of an ordinary person. The narrator says,
That is Kat. If for one hour in a year something eatable were to be had in some one place only, within that hour, as if moved by a vision, he would put on his cap, go out and walk directly there, as though following a compass, and find it...it is uncanny. (Chapter 3)