Tribeca sectional and Roundabout ottoman: La-Z-Boy. Photos by Apryl and Tim Stepp, original photos on Houzz

By Brenna Malmberg | Houzz

Jackapotamus Rex is a sweet cat who has lived with Apryl and Tim Stepp for the past five months. They adopted him from the San Diego Humane Society after their previous cat of 18 years died. They hadn’t planned on getting another cat so soon, but Apryl saw his picture online and couldn’t resist paying him a visit. “He was laying in his cat bed and eating his dinner from a purely horizontal position,” Apryl says. “We laughed at his pure laziness and decided we were going to take him home.”


Pet at a Glance

  • Pet: Jackapotamus Rex, a domestic long-hair tabby
  • Age: 14
  • Location: La Mesa
  • Owners: Apryl and Tim Stepp

Jack of many names: When the Stepps brought him home, his name was Jack. They didn’t hate that name, but it didn’t quite fit his personality, Apryl says. Jackapotamus came about because he resembles a hippo when he lies down, and Rex means king. Together, you have have King Jackapotamus, which Apryl says better suits him.

They also affectionately call him Jackie, Jackpot and Jackie Bear.

Daytime routine: Apryl and Tim head off to work each day, leaving Jackapotamus Rex at home by himself. They do have cameras around the house, so they can watch him. But he usually doesn’t move too much. “He’s the ultimate napper,” Apryl says. “If we’re lucky, he will move from one sleeping apparatus to another.”

Living room spot: In the Stepps’ two-story home, Jackapotamus Rex has a rectangular bed with memory foam in the living room. Here he can recline in the sunshine as it reflects off the hardwood floors. The floors in the converted 1920s carriage house are Brazilian wood, Apryl says. At the time of installation, oak was difficult to come by because it was needed for World War II.

Cat bed: PetFusion

Stairs spot: Not far from the stairs that lead up to the couple’s bedroom, Jackapotamus Rex has a pet hammock. “I was really nervous when it arrived that he would hate it, but he loved it,” Apryl says. “He got in and out of it easily.” Stylish Cat Furniture to Match Your Decor.

Lately, he hasn’t been sleeping in the hammock because he can access a big human bed.

Pet hammock: OC Pet Hammocks

The couple’s bedroom is on the second floor, which means Jackapotamus needs to climb the stairs to get there. Sometimes he decides he needs a nap on the way up.

Bedroom spot: The couple’s California king bed calls Jackapotamus Rex’s name. The couple created makeshift stairs next to it so he can climb up and down. Right now the stairs consist of a basket and a bench, but the couple are looking for a more permanent — and aesthetically pleasing — option.

This is Jackapotamus Rex’s favorite spot these days, especially in the mornings before Apryl and Tim leave for work. They give him lots of snuggles and love before heading out the door. Choose the Right-Height Bedroom Bench for Your Pet.

Headboard: West Elm; bedding: Italian Hotel satin stitch, Restoration Hardware

Accommodating an older cat: Slippery floors have caused Jackapotamus Rex — a senior cat with arthritis in his hips — problems when navigating the house. “We realized he doesn’t like walking on slippery surfaces,” Apryl says. The couple added rugs throughout the house. “He shuffles from rug to rug getting around.”

They also found out he’s particular about the amount of padding each rug has. “I switched out the rug for his food and water bowl to something thinner and he did not like that,” Apryl says. The lack of padding wasn’t comfy enough during drinking and eating, both of which he tends to do lying down. 6 Considerations Before Getting a Cat.

Meal time: Jackapotamus Rex has food and water in the kitchen on his rug, but he doesn’t like to be in the room while the couple are preparing meals. He generally scurries off whenever they make any noise in the kitchen; they’re trying to train him not to flee while they’re doing such tasks as throwing away the trash or putting dishes in the sink.

Exercise: Obesity is one of the biggest health concerns with Jackapotamus Rex. Every day, the couple help get him moving by taking him for an outdoor adventure. They carry him outside and take pictures and play with him to help him get some exercise. Usually he just wants to go back inside and hurries back toward the house, as he’s doing here.

Motivation: To persuade Jackapotamus Rex to keep moving, they offer him little treats and lots of pets. They also use the treats to convince him to have plenty of photos taken.

Home, sweet home: “Adopting an older cat comes with a lot of responsibility,” Apryl says. Jackapotamus Rex might not come running to greet them when they get home, or even move that much during the day, but “he is the heartbeat of our home.”

“Older animals have many issues that will put a dent in your bank account, have you rearranging your furniture, buying assistive devices for them and doing things you never thought you were capable of,” Apryl says, “but the money and the small inconveniences are insignificant when compared to the impact they make on your life.”

Cat bandana: Woof Out West

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