Part 12 ~ The Mad Max Catio ~ Phase 1

The Mad Max Catio ~ Part 1

We knew we needed to change the back of the bus dramatically to make it not only escape proof but also accessible from the inside! So the Mad Max Catio was born 🙂

We had two obstacles that prevented it from being escape proof!

Since we knew we were stationary until the escape proof part was completed, that’s where Zach started

~ The No Escape Plan ~

First, the back deck! In driving mode, it’s folded up and secured and then in park mode, it can be lowered to make a deck. It worked, until we needed to keep sneaky, slinky cats from going through the openings on the sides. Zach needed to not only create an insert to close the gap from the back deck part to the top, he had to secure the sides as well!

We needed this entire back section to be 100% escape proof!

Deck In Drive Position
Deck in Park Position

Second, the lift! Another area with large gaps for kitties to slip through! Zach had to create a plate to attach to the sides of the lift that created an enclosed side when in the driving position. 

Lift in Driving Position
Lift almost in park position!

Above all, safety is key! So here is how Zach made our kitties safe!


Here’s What He Did

First and foremost, we needed metal! Which would be super easy if we had a truck! But we found a great company in Oklahoma that not only delivered, but the price point was, well, on point! If you need metal in the Indiahoma, Oklahoma area, check these guys out! Click the metal cat trio to check them out!

Mad Max Catio Technical….

Zach built some basic hinges to support the top enclosure section so that it can be opened when we are stationary. The top enclosure is made of angle iron and expanded metal. It closes and then the lower deck folds closed, locking and sealing it up. The expanded metal that is attached to the bottom of the lift is just that, attached. He used inch and a half angle iron to prevent any escape. 

Basic Hinges
Fully closed top section

Random pics of his build time 🙂 ⬇

Now I know that statement above made sense to him, and to others as well! For me, it’s all about the finished product, I trust Zach and his designs!

I also firmly believe that I have the capacity in my brain for a certain amount of knowledge, so if Zach has that knowledge to build a catio, there’s no need for me to also have that knowledge! I know other things, like toilet paper math 😆  and baking science 🎂

Finally,the finished product! At least for phase 1! Being fully enclosed was the main goal, and we wanted to get going to our next destination before we started Phase 2 of the Catio Project!  That is coming soon!! They will be able to go in and out of the bus without getting down on the ground! Of course, that’s if we don’t want them down! We have some alternate means of getting down planned, that can be in use or hidden away!! 

There are a few more things that need tweaking, like holding the insert in the up position when we have the deck down! But it’s an easy fix!

The lift has wings now 🙂

Zach added in metal sides so that when it is in the up position, it lays flush, creating a seal!  Probably my most favorite part 😬

Last but not least, Our littlest guy loves to be in the middle of the action! He was Zach’s right hand kitty! He is polydactyl on his two front paws, but still couldn’t manage to hand Zach the tools he needed!😂

Mad Max Catio
Phil Loves to Help!

Stay tuned for more Mad Max Catio Phases….

Missed a few parts of the story?? Catch up here!!

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 9.5 Part 10 Part 11 

Love the hats we wear? Zach makes them! Check out his work here

Part 9.5 ~ Our Pets ~ The Insanity

Our Pets

I’ve mentioned our pets here and there in the story, but they are a big part of our lives!

We have 2 dogs ~ Louie and Jemma!  And 4 cats ~ Pebbles, Scabbers, Heddy and Phil!

Let’s start with Louie

Also known as ~ Louis, Lou Dog, Ridiculouie, Louis Navidad 

I adopted Louie in May of 2020, from a rescue in Lake Fort Worth, Florida! He is about 4 years old! 

Next comes Jemma

Also known as ~ Jemma Dilemma, Beetlejuice, the Brown Clown

Zach rescued Jemma from a neighbor who had her tied out, about 2 years ago.  (he had permission to take her with him). She is about 3 years old!

Our first kitty, Pebbles … she is the leader of the Cat Pack! 

Also known as ~ The Queen, the boss, or anything of the like 🙂

Zach adopted Pebbles when she was a baby.  He knew her momma, so he has known Pebbles her whole life

And now for Scabbers .. I only mention him first because he was born first, but Heddy is his sister 🙂

Also Known As ~ Scoober Doo, Oreo, Scoob, Scabber Dabber Doo

I owned his Momma, Milky.   So I’ve had Scabbers since birth!

And that brings us to Heddy

Also Known As ~ Hedwig, Muffin, Toupee, Heddylicious

So as with Scabbers, I’ve had Heddy since birth also. 

So our last little guy is SUPER new ~ Phil

Also Known As ~ Tiny Bits, Philodendron, Phil in the blank

We just adopted Phil from a fellow nomad, Bob!  His cat Smokey is Phil’s momma

So now that you’ve met them, let me tell you more about them as a family of pets.

When Zach and I were headed out on this journey, I had to make a tough decision with Milky, my momma cat. 

The Milky Dilemna

First, before I could get her spayed, she got pregnant again. Not a problem really, since I knew we could take care of them and find good homes. The second problem was that there is no way she would have traveled well. I was fearful she would run off and not come back.

What to do…

I knew a woman who absolutely loved Milky, as much as I did! So I reached out to her and told her the situation and she immediately said she would be happy to have Milky come live with her. As much as I love that cat, I knew it was not best to be selfish and to let her live in one location. I cried, a lot. But she gave birth to 5 kittens the day we set out from Florida!  Talk about timing!!

So that means that Louie has known Scabbers and Heddy since they were born

He’s like a big brother to them

Jemma and Louie were best friends from the moment they met! There was never a growl or mean word between them!

Our Pets

The Dynamic of Our Pets

Now comes the real test!  How do the ALL of the animals get along??  Do they fight or play? Amongst the dogs, the cats, or a mix of cats and dogs fighting??

Nope! Contrary to what most think, they all get along fine ~ despite their species and age differences Well, maybe Pebbles gives the little guys a bit of a rough time, but I think she’s just teaching them!  

So here is our crazy mix of pets, clearly having a blast hanging out with each other!

And of course, Our Pets Videos

And now for some rare footage of Scabbers going into Dog Mode (ok, it’s not rare footage, he plays with them all the time, and we video it almost every time!) This cat is ABSOLUTELY safe during this video, in fact, he started the fight 🙂

And Scabbers has been training the new kitten as well!  He is such a great big brother!

And a couple of random videos of our pets being themselves!

And after a hard day being our pet, Jemma sums it up the best!  Sounds like she is having a good dream

Our pets play a huge role in our lives! We base our stays on where there is safety for them, above all! Our cats like to explore the outdoors, so we need less busy roads, and definitely no predators (there will be times when we can’t guarantee that no predator thing and for that reason, we are building an enclosed catio on the back deck!)


Missed a few parts of the story?? Catch up here!!

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 

Love the hats we wear?  Zach makes them!  Check out his work here

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