Schroeder was a farm cat who somehow got tangled in a piece of farm machinery and sustained terrible injuries, as can be seen from the scar across his nose. His injuries also required amputation to one of his front legs—a high amputation to the shoulder. The farm family paid for Schroeder's emergency medical care but did not think that he would make it as a farm cat, especially with only three legs. So, Schroeder was abandoned.
For any animal, losing a front leg is much worse than losing a back leg. Because the front legs carry their weight, losing one affects the animal's balance and ability to walk without growing tired. For cats who revel in their agility, the loss of a front leg is even more significant. In addition to mobility, a cat's front paws are important for grooming, picking things up, and moving things around.
When Schroeder underwent blood work prior to admission to the sanctuary, it was also discovered that he had contracted FIV. FIV is a virus in cats that is spread primarily by deep bite wounds, which is why so many tom cats are positive. Schroeder most likely caught the virus from another stray when he was left to fend for himself.
Although FIV is not as contagious or as deadly as the feline leukemia virus, cats who test positive must be isolated from those who are not affected. The virus affects the cat's immune system over time, making them more susceptible to colds, dental problems and the like. So, Schroeder now lives in the special cattery at HFL reserved for FIV-positive cats like him.
Most cats with FIV can live a long life when they receive care. Other than living in a separate facility, Home for Life's FIV cats enjoy all of the amenities that our non-contagious cats do. The residents in our FIV cattery consist mostly of neutered toms like Schroeder, who have retired from prowling and fighting and now live peaceably together along with a few sweet girl cats.
For entertainment, the cats enjoy the company of the raucous cockatoo Candy, Oscar the macaw, and a few friendly bunnies. Among the bunnies is Zoe, who selects a best friend of the month among the FIV cats. Zoe's current favorite is Polar, a ragdoll. Last month she favored Kryssy, a deaf white cat. Zoe likes the cats whose fur is as soft and silky as her own.
In this accepting and stimulating environment, Schroeder maintains a happy-go-lucky outlook, occasionally displaying his suave and cool bachelor attitude around the ladies and visitors. He would always rather have attention than even the choicest canned food delicacy. He is relaxed and easy going, and even though he has lost a leg, he seems to understand that he still has several of his nine lives left.
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