This page is actually about my cats! And the dogs, ferrets, and rats of course. I wouldn't want them to feel left out! Just a few pictures of the animals in my life. Much to the dismay of my wife, I might add. She doesn't share my views on animal companionship. My basic views on animals are as follows:

1) They are always there no matter what happens.

2) They don't talk behind my back or spread stories about me.

3) They don't stick a knife in my back when I'm not looking.

Which is more than I can say about many people I've known. Call me a cynic if you wish, (which, by the way, I am) but there is a great deal of truth to the above statements. The only bad thing is that I get so attached to them. One of the hardest things for me to do is put down one of my beloved pets. Gretchen, my previous Shepherd, had to be put down the day after Christmas. Every time I heard "Merry Christmas!" I wanted to slap the person saying it! But, that is the unfortunate part of having and loving animals. I'd better quit this line of thinking before I become maudlin.

I am a consummate animal lover and have been as far back as I can remember. I am just as dedicated to gun ownership. Yet I have never been, nor do I ever plan to be, a hunter. An odd combination according to some. The only thing my guns have ever been used for is the punching of very expensive holes in paper targets. I have too great a love of animals to kill one.

I love animals. Any animal. All animals regardless of what they are. Of them all, my favorite has always been the cat. Big, little, fat, thin, cute, homely, any color. It doesn't matter to me. Although there are those that consider me a cruel, heartless bastard because I have them declawed. (You can read my views on this by following this link.) I have put together a diverse (weird?) collection that I would like to share with you now.

If you want to see the Photo Album of my various furry friends click here. It will load in a separate window while you read. And now, on with the show!

First, we have Callie. A typical cat. Sweet, lovable, and sleeps all of the time. And, a great lap cat! If I'm sitting you can usually find her on my lap. More than I can say about my wife but that's another story...... She wandered into the back yard in 1995 (the cat not my wife) and has been with us ever since. She has to be one of the most expensive alley cats around. Our son pushed her off of his bed one evening. Her leg slipped between the rail and mattress. A broken leg and $700 later! Something that I can't bring myself to do is put down a young, healthy animal. So we had her leg fixed. Some will say that it was a ridicules expenditure. I don't happen to agree. She has remained a marvelous pet for many years now.

Next on the scene was Patches. I work at the local V.A. hospital. It seems to be a very popular dumping ground for unwanted animals! There are countless cats running around, all wild as March hares. While putting out some food one evening in 1999 (a practice that abruptly ended when I discovered that skunks like cat food!!), Patches came up and started rubbing around my legs. She spent the rest of my shift curled up on my lap in the control room. Obviously, she made the trip home! While she was on my lap I decided to check her uterus. Oh, hell! Just what I need: a pregnant cat! Then again, I'm not a vet. Perhaps I'm wrong. I wasn't! The vet confirmed it the next day. A short time later she presented us with a thriving litter of kittens. A home was found for one and one inexplicably died. My favorite, naturally. He was a beautiful flame point. She also had two torte points and a gray tabby.

The first born was Garfield. If he were a yellow tabby instead of gray, he would be the perfect "Garfield". Big (at 20 pounds I'm not exaggerating!) and lazy, he does nothing but eat and sleep. Although he does love attention. He is either on my lap or on our bed. He has a rather annoying habit of waking me up in the early morning hours to be petted! After a few minutes he retreats to the foot of the bed and resumes sleeping. Generally across my feet. It is like trying to sleep with a concrete block on your ankles. But, as sweet and lovable as he is I am well willing to put up with his idiosyncrasies.

Here we have Ying Sway. I'm not sure if this is grammatically correct. It's been 25 years since I spoke Thai so I'm a little rusty. A Thai name for a Siamese cat seems appropriate. It means 'pretty girl', more or less. While I am very partial to German Shepherds, nothing can touch a Siamese cat for beauty. She is my favorite of the bunch and the little snot won't have anything to do with anyone! Except, of course, for Gretchen (our previous German Shepherd) and Friskie. She liked to curl up next to Gretchen and sleep. She and Frisky would play together by the hour. It was a riot to watch the two of them. I hope she comes around to Slinky the same way. And, she does love the Christmas tree. It is an artificial one with wire branches. After Ying Sway gets done, half of the branches are dragging the floor. This drives Leslie to distraction. A Christmas tree is one of the big things in her life. Ying Sway's too, though not in the same manner. The order of her birth is unknown. Garfield was first and came out with his gray markings. The two tortes and the flame were all white at birth.

We had a new arrival the other day (Apr '05). It came in the form of a two-month-old kitten! Frederick rescued her while she was dodging cars on US69. She was wet, filthy, and hungry but otherwise in good health. Her name is Magoo and she is as black as midnight. I've always wanted a solid black cat! Leslie wasn't too thrilled to say the least! Her first thought was to take her to the animal shelter. Without a word I walked upstairs and returned with a .45 automatic. I held it out to Leslie and told her that if anyone was going to kill this beautiful kitten she would have to do it herself. Needless to say the kitten remains with us.

It has been five years since I've had a kitten in the house and it's a total gas! She is the most loving cat I've been around for many years. Her usual spot is on my lap or sleeping beside my pillow. I look forward to many years of companionship.

Now we come to Nixie. We acquired her the first part of May ('03). I have had a thing about German Shepherds since I was a kid. While she is our third GSD she is certainly the best looking. This is, without doubt, the most beautiful Shepherd I have ever seen! I have raised two puppies; the first and the last. Cute and loveable but a real PIA. So, we searched for a young adult. Thanks to the marvelous folks at North Texas German Shepherd Rescue, Inc. we located and adopted Nixie. She is 18 months old and an absolute sweetheart. She appears quite intelligent but still needs time to get acquainted with her new surroundings. She was abandoned and left wandering in the country then kept at a foster home for a couple of weeks following her rescue. We brought her home and two days later took her to see "Dr. Knife" where she was spayed, had her dew claws removed, and subjected to the usual poking and prodding. I'm sure that her world is a bit upside-down at the moment. Other than chasing the cats, she is quiet and calm. The cats aren't particularly amused at the situation but I'm sure that they'll survive. To give you some idea of just what kind of a dog Nixie is Leslie actually lets her sleep on our bed!!!!! This is an unprecidented first.

As beautiful as they are I do have a few personal observations about living with a German Shepherd.

Yet another recent arrival is Optimo. The manner and reason we acquired him is a story in and of itself and best not delved into here. He is 10 months old and still has a LOT of puppy in him. He is a cross between a Beagle and a ??? He has the face of a Beagle and the body of whatever. In spite of this he is an adorable little thing. He defiantly gives Nixie a run for her money and he certainly is a lap dog. The bed is starting to get rather crowded! Optimo, Nixie, and Magoo are regulars plus as many as three other cats. I hate to say this but something is going to have to change. But this is why we have a spare bedroom. I do hope that Leslie finds the guest bed comfortable........

Next on my seemingly endless list, we come to Slinky the Ferret. He is a new arrival (Jan '04) after the demise of Frisky. I'm sorry to say that Frisky has gone to that great ferret cage in the sky. He was a great deal of fun and played with Ying Sway by the hour. Slinky seems to be more than willing but Ying Sway hasn't come around yet. He is a fearless little critter. Not too bright but fearless. He attacks Nixie with total abandon. Nixie isn't quite sure of what to make of the situation. I suspect that she views Slinky as an animated 'chew toy' so I keep them separated. However, he has made himself well loved in a very short time. I'm presently designing a new cage for him. Details and pictures will follow.

One thing to keep in mind regarding ferrets; they are defiantly not for everyone. They are very different creatures as compared to cats and dogs. I've added my own Ferret Page that gives some of the particulars (and some cute pictures) along with links to other sites. I recommend that you thoroughly do your research before jumping into ferret ownership.

In the world of ferret ownership there is a thing called 'ferret math'. It alludes to the ability of ferrets to multiply in number without interaction between a male and female. It is a mysterious anomaly associated with owning ferrets. It has just hit our household with the arrival of a new ferret. (June '04) She was a rescue by the Ferret Lovers Club of Texas. She is a very dark sable about 2 years old. What a sweetheart! And she's a real beauty to boot. She is VERY socialized and really likes people. Her name is Weasel. Not the most original name for a ferret but Frederick was very insistent. Even Leslie is quite taken with her. She loves to be held and cuddled. (The ferret, not Leslie.) Weasel and Slinky are getting along well. Slinky is a hob at least twice her size and she runs him all over the room! But, there doesn't seem to be any animosity between them. They should be sharing a cage in the near future if all goes well. I'm working on a third but at the moment it would result in a divorce. I'm still weighing the merits of this decision. Ferrets are less trouble but I can't train them to do my laundry.

Will wonders never cease? We now have a third ferret. (July'04) She is a moderate sized jill with the most distinct markings. Her face, bib, and tail are white. She is VERY lovable and likes to cuddle up and sleep in my arms. Due to her marking I couldn't resist naming her Opossum. It is astounding how much she resembles one. She slipped in the group without any problems. The other day I walked in and found all three curled up in the same hammock. They looked as though they had been tied in a knot by a demented sailor. And, no divorce. Well, that's the way things go. Maybe if I get a fourth ..........

Bugger all! A fourth ferret and STILL no divorce. Oh well, at least I get another ferret out of the deal. Our club (The Ferret Lovers Club of Texas) got a call about a rescue in a town near me so I went to pick it up. (Jan '05) He never made it to the shelter. One look at him and I knew his fate was sealed. He is a truly beautiful cinnamon. And, since I didn't have a cinnamon……….. Well, you can figure out the rest. They had named him Charlie so I stayed with the name. He is six months old and an endless bundle of energy. He gets along great with the girls but he and Slinky (my other male) seem to be having an Alpha discussion for the time being. I'm sure that they will work it out sooner or later. You know haw those 'male things' go sometimes.

While I take a break from looking up divorce lawyers in the Yellow Pages I'll introduce Varmint, my sweet little albino rat.

I have wanted a rat since I was a kid. However, my parents were adamantly opposed. (Communists!!!) As the years rolled by I just never seemed to get around to getting one. A while back, our Son decided he wanted a snake. It took a fair amount of browbeating on my part to get Leslie to go along with it but Fritz got his snake. As a token of his thanks he bought me a rat!

She is an adorable little thing. (The rat, that is.) It's so neat when she wraps that long tail around my arm to maintain her balance! Having started my research on rat ownership I made an interesting discovery; one should not keep a single rat. They are very social animals and will get very lonely without a playmate. I can't begin to describe the joy Leslie felt when I informed her of this…………

It seems that instead of a divorce lawyer I need to look for a good mental health expert. Leslie has taken to sitting in the corner, drooling and sobbing. This might well answer the laundry question.

At any rate I now wish to present Ruby, my new rat. She certainly is a pretty little thing. With her tan shoulders and head identification will not be a problem. And, she has deep, ruby-red eyes, hence her name. She is quite young and much smaller than Varmint. I was a bit concerned the first time I introduced them. Varmint took one look at Ruby and proceeded to pin her with a full body press. This was immediately followed with a complete grooming from nose to tail. So much for any concerns on my part; they play and sleep together like old friends!

You'll have to excuse me now. I have to get a mop and clean up after Leslie. She could turn out to be more trouble than the ferrets!

The Club received a call the other day about a ferret that needed a new home. (June '06) The request was forwarded to me and the rest, as they say is history. Leslie didn't seem to mind. I took her blank stare to mean that she didn't object.

So, I became the new owner of Bailey. As beautiful a ferret as I have seen. She is a silver-tipped DEW and pencil thin. Her silhouette is the quintessential ferret form. She is quite shy and it is going to take a lot of patience to integrate her into the group. But, she is making progress.

Never have I experienced such a socialized ferret. She truly prefers human company to that of her fellow ferrets. Just what I have always wanted; a lap ferret!

Well, there you have it. Just another day in the Schroeder Wild Kingdom. All told, Leslie is a good sport about everything. She complains about them but appears willing to put up with the situation. The Roadster costs more but is in the garage and out of her way. The animals are cheaper but shed all over the house.