Tag Archives: Jacks

Snap-Shot Cleaning: Jack’s Room

As many of you may know, Jacks, our mini-rex, kind of has his own room. Since he needs to be let out twice a day for exercise and really does not like the dog he gets to be outrageously spoiled. However, that also means that Jacks’ room tends to get cluttered with my work supplies and other useless junk. His was the first room that I decided to try my “Snap-Shot” cleaning approach on.

On the left are the “before” shots with the ones on the right being the “after” shots.

Amount of time spent cleaning: 30 minutes.

While this room was cleaned close to a week ago in this style, what I can remember is the following:

  • Floor swept
  • Blanket folded and put away
  • Unused router wire removed from room.
  • Folders stood up and organized according to information contained.
  • Bureaus dusted off.
  • Books in boxes gone through and some donated to charity.
  • Random papers, over-used chew sticks, and twist ties from hay bags thrown away/recycled.

It’s absolutely amazing how much of a difference just a little bit of time put into a room can make. While it didn’t feel like I had worked in there for half an hour), it was a nice feeling afterward to actually see the before and after. (What boxes that are left on the floor are strategically placed so that Jacks can’t get under anything and will have to remain on the floor until we get the extra few dollars to pick up some untreated lumber to place in front instead.)

Airflow for the Jacks-rabbit

Last summer, the first year that we had our mini-rex Jacks, we realized there was a big issue with keeping his bedroom door closed all the time: temperature. On average, his room was roughly 84 degrees F. This can be dangerously hot for a rabbit if they deal with it long term. Because of the type of fur he has, cuddling cold water bottles is out of the question as it can possibly lead to body rot. We made it through last summer with home made swamp coolers and a fan.

This summer, we decided to do a little more than that. One of the pieces that helped a lot was a twin window fan similar to the one found at Aubuchon Hardware. The one in his room has the added benefit of a thermostat, allowing the fan to shut off when necessary. As we’re stilling trying to save electricity, this was a huge plus.

The second step was to add a vent into his bedroom door.

This is actually a baseboard vent, not a door vent, obviously. For the sake of physics, it would have made more sense to put the vent at the bottom where the cooler air could get in, but with Jacks’ love of nibbling, that wasn’t really an option. The plus side about a metal vent like this is that we can take it off later and paint it to match whatever color we do the trim later on.

For the sake of aesthetics, we did put a vent on the other side of the door as well.

Overall, these two little changes have been a huge success! His room barely hits 82 now, and even then it has to be pretty hot out for the room to get that high. We’re hoping that in the winter this will also allow his room to be a bit warmer. In all reality, it should work like a charm!

Family Fat Camp

So it seems as though a good chunk of us here need to lose a little pudge in the Raymond family. Jacks, the mini-rex, has a bit of a dew-lap that could be smaller; Ashes has no waist to speak of; Belle eats for exercise I think; I just need to lose about 20 lbs to hit my goal.

Jacks (mini-rex)

I’ve noticed that with Jacks, there seems to be a downturn of his energy levels if i cut off pellets, so temporarily, he’s on 1/8th of a cup of pellets in the morning and 1/8th at night, totaling to only 1/4 cup. I’ve also increased his hay dramatically. I now give him a new handful morning, noon, and night, instead of just at night. This is outrageously important since rabbits need a constant flow of hay to keep their digestive track stable.

Belle(Border-Collie mix)

I think the key thing right now with Belle is to increase her activity level. We’re getting more gutsy with leaving her off the leash when we’re outside, so stick fetching (one of her favorite activities) may end up happening a bit more often. Also, we need to keep a better eye on her food consumption. One thing that may actually help is what we’re going to try to do for Ashes, but I’ll get into that in a bit.

Her “walks,” which are just loops around the house, will be increased. When we first got her, we took her on daily one-mile walks, but she seemed to be getting stiff, and not knowing if she has arthritis or not, we did not want to take any chances, and cut back on the walks on the road; the impact of the non-giving tar on the road can severely damage joints after a while.

Ashes (Maine coon cat mix)

Right now, Ashes is my main concern. We did not realize how bad he was getting until I looked down at him the other day and realized he was almost the same width as Belle. I’m putting him as around 19 lbs right now. He really needs to lose about three. I’ve been doing a lot of reading the past couple days and have come up with what Joe and I feel is a pretty good plan.

Ashes has been getting for food….

* 1 cup of Iams Weightloss (dry) split into three meals a day

* 3 – 5 tartar control treats in the morning

Now, the dry food suggests that you feed 1 1/4 – 1 3/4 a day to maintain weight for a 16 lb. cat, and 1 1/4 to lose weight. He’s been on the 1 cup “diet” for close to a year now. Granted, he is getting older and went through a very lethargic period when we got Belle, but he’s gained a lot of weight. About two months ago we tried him on a more “natural” food with no corn — he ballooned up. I think that the rice fillers in the food was the main culprit. Regardless, we’re back to the Iams, but we’re going to try a few adjustments.

In trying to find a way to increase Ashes’ protein from meat and decrease his protein from plant matter, I spent some time looking at wet foods at the local grocery store. There were a few points I was looking for:

– Max crude protein – This should be at least 8% and should be primarily from meat. You can base that off from the ingredients.

– Max crude fiber – Should be considerably lower than crude protein, especially if you also feed dry food, as that has a lot of fiber.

– Max ash content – This should be as minimal as possible. After all, do you want to be eating ash?

– No “for pet consumption only” labels or anything in that regard. To me, if I’m feeding my animal food, it better be something that my future children could consume without me having a heart attack.

In looking at a wide assortment of grocery store carried wet foods, I decided I might also check out Agway’s selection at some point, but that’s neither here nor there. The wet food that I did decide to go with? Surprisingly, Fancy Feast Appetizers. Let me start by stating that for one, these little things are mislabeled. In no way should this be an addition to your cat’s regular meal — it should be one of the meals. (A rant for another time is that we Americans tend to fatten up our animals the same way we fatten up ourselves. We add snacks to meals, instead of creating it into the meal and adjusting our portions. ) The ingredients were very minimal with no artificial anythings and no filler. You can see that it literally is just meat in a sauce. The greatest thing is, with how picky he is on wet food, he loved it!

The game plan is thus…

* 3/4 cup of Iams Weightloss dry food a day split into four meals

* One 2 oz. serving of wet food a day as a meal

This doesn’t seem like much fo a change, but the trick is to eventually get him to a half and half diet, or all the way to wet food with dry as a supplement, the reverse of right now. We will have to keep an eye out, however, to make sure he does lose too much weight too quickly.


Don’t bake so much this winter and keep going on my walks…even if it’s cold out!