This letter from Mama and Papa (Amy and Art Almquist) to Buford was written on Tuesday, August 3, 2010Buford

Dear Buford,

It broke my heart today to put you to sleep. I wish there was some other way. When you bit my hand on Sunday with such force it scared and devastated me. I realized then so viscerally what I think I always knew but could not admit -- that you were not happy and had not been happy for a long time. I know that you wanted a certain kind of happiness that your papa and I couldn’t give to you. I know too that you had something emotionally going on inside you that made you frustrated at times, happy at times and forlorn at times. It wasn’t anything that you did or didn’t do or that we did or didn’t do. It just was. It killed your papa and I that we couldn’t figure out what to do to make you happy and give us peace in our home the way we needed it. We pray you have found your joy, your happiness and your peace in heaven.

This morning when papa let you outside, I saw you sitting on the rug, looking at the morning sun hit the trees and breathing in the cold fresh air. I came outside and sat next to you. We watched the beauty of the sun and the outdoors in the quiet silence. Somewhere in that quiet stillness there was peace. A peace emerging from the beauty that existed in the present. I felt you tell me that what was going to happen was all right because you already had the gift of the peace of that moment. It was a peace that many humans search years for but you were always able to find in our little back yard. It is why you rarely jumped the wall, because you found what you needed within the safety and beauty of our garden. Thank you for teaching me the value of stillness, solitude, cherishing the outdoors and not taking for granted the beauty in my surroundings, even in a little back yard.

You were shaking in my arms before the vet came in and your papa and I tried to calm you through our tears. You were so brave and gentle in facing this, like the true Alpha cat that you always knew you were but never got the chance to be. We wanted to be there to give you our comforting smells, voices and crying faces that would be the last images and thoughts you would take from this life. I know I heard you purr right before you died and it comforted me to hear the sound you make when you are most relaxed and happy.

Thank you for all the wonderful memories of: bending your head low for a head pet, chewing on my finger on the left side of your mouth, plopping into my arm crook for a cuddle, sitting for hours in your spot under the cape honeysuckle bush to escape the summer heat and look for bugs, wanting to share the lizards, birds and rats you caught with us, your dear high pitched meow that sounded like you were saying “milk” and your low pitched meow that sounded like “wow,” loving to play with stick toys and the hanging creature toy in our bedroom, your drowsy eyes when you would wait on the counter for Friskies, knowing how to sneak outside without us seeing you, being the toughest guy and the fraidiest kitty all at the same time, and always coming to me with a meow when I called you “Buford honey.”

Your papa and I will miss you my dear little boy. You were my baby, my forlorn one, my rat catcher, my one and only Buford honey.

We will always love you, dear Buford.


Mama and Papa (Amy and Art Almquist)