This first story might be a bit off color to some of you. I was raised on a farm (reared if you prefer, I dislike the word). Acceptable speech has changed so much in my life time I don't really have a handle on what is and what is not acceptable these days. That out of the way, on with the story. This is the cats my Mother gave us.
My oldest son, who was about eight years old at the time, named them Mittens (male) and Patches (female). They were outside cats. If you brought them inside, they would sit on the window sill until you let them out. Although not wild, they didn't cotton to lap sitting or petting.
They were however, excellent mouse exterminators. Soon the D-Con found its way to the garbage and mouse traps to the junk box. Also, the snakes disappeared and the squirrels became scarce. Life was good.
Life was good but embarrasing whenever we had company over. Those cats were sex fiends. I had not before nor since seen any animal display such behavior. They had no modesty whatsoever and if you think cats have only the normal animal ritual - well, if only I had videos. Outside in the yard, in clear view of everyone, they would work one position, then another, interspersed with rolling around and making noises that would put a porno movie to shame. Maybe they were desperately trying to produce offspring. They never did but it certainly was not for lack of trying.
Then one day Mittens was gone. Tom cats roam and I thought nothing of it immediately. But Patches was in an awful state. It was bad during the day but horrendous at night. She whined almost constantly and just when you thought you could stand it, she would let out a loud, piercing wail. Mittens never came home though and as time went by Patches learned to live with her loss.
She became a bit more tame. Although she was never a lap sitter, she liked liking my toes whenever I was outside on the deck barefoot. She did roam a little I guess but usually I would see her somewhere around the house or in the edge of the woods.
To this day she was, as far as low maintenance and efficient pest control, she was the best cat I've ever had. I had her for about 13 years. She never had any kittens. One winter I didn't see her anymore...
Although I valued her, told people I wouldn't take a $100 for her (about 30 years ago, so considerably more money than now), I really did not realize how valuable she was until she was gone.
The mice and squirrels lay claim to just about everything I owned. The mice gnawed the wiring harness on my car and ruined it. They gnawed insulation from somewhere in the car and made a mess in the trunk. The squirrels gnawed a hole in the roof of my house I could almost put my fist through. One morning when I called into work to tell them I would be late, my boss said he had never heard my excuse before from anyone - I had to get a squirrel out of the house. They would sometimes come down through the chimney.
This was during the time I thought I could do without a cat. The next few years began a period of learning and adjustment. It was also when we began seeing coyotes and wild dogs in the area. This was followed by occasional reports of a mountain lion or bear sighting. It was into this environment, I brought Alp.