As you all know, I am completely and utterly mad for cats. Perhaps you could call it an obsession, but I don’t like coming across too crazy. They are my favourite animal in the entire world. Not only am I passionate about them as a pet, I am also passionate about their welfare. Cats are beautiful creatures that offer potential owners a wonderful companionship – they offer affection, loyalty and love and unlike some other pets, like dogs, require less daily attention. They are happy to be left alone (bot not for too long) and can often amuse themselves. For anyone that is living in a townhouse or apartment environment, cats are the perfection option. So for me, any opportunity to be involved with projects or programs that look after cats around the world is a given for me.
I was walking down the main street in Ubud, when I stumbled across a car parked. What drew me in was the magnetic sign on the sign of the car which read ‘Villa Kitty’, paired with a picture of a cat. I literally jumped and squealed in delight (my boyfriend Pete can definitely confirm that one!) and I immediately wanted to know more. As soon as I got back to the hotel room, I found out that ‘Villa Kitty’, located on the outskirts of Ubud, is a not-for-profit organisation solely focused on rescuing Bali’s abandoned kittens and cats and finding them suitable homes.
Founded by fellow cat lover and Australian, Elizabeth Henzell back in 2009, ‘Villa Kitty’ originally was a “Cats and Kittens Section” in another shelter in Lodtunduh. Elizabeth was asked to look after three tiny kittens, but simply didn’t have the time. Instead, she employed two of her friends, who were looking for work at the time to look after them. From humble beginnings, with just three care takers, two vet assistants and Elizabeth, ‘Villa Kitty’ has grown enormously, with now, twenty three staff. The ‘Villa Kitty’ veterinarian team is led by one of Bali’s most respected vet surgeons, Drh Karnata, with Drh Isa and Drh Sinta caring for all their beautiful cats and kittens.
I was so excited to head down to ‘Villa Kitty’, meet the team and of course, meet the beautiful cats and kittens house there. All in all, there are currently 113 furry friends being looked after. I was in complete and utter kitty heaven.
There are so many wonderful people who are involved in the success and running of ‘Villa Kitty’, from vet assistants, to food preppers, a chef, cleaners, care takers, gardeners, security.. The list goes on. There is even a dog trainer, who feeds and trains the ‘Villa Kitty’ dogs (yes, dogs, even kitties need protection sometimes too!). It makes me so incredibly happy to see other people from around the world, passionate about providing the right care, attention and love to abandoned animals.
Elizabeth, whilst providing a safe and protective environment for all the felines, also runs successfully community projects. ‘Every Child Deserves a Kittten’, was a projected started in 2013. ‘Villa Kitty’ in partnership with SOS Children’s Village, placed 14 desexed and vaccinated kittens into eight different homes so the children and their foster mothers can have the opportunity to look after their own kitten. Additionally, Elizabeth has started a reading group for children, using the ‘Villa Kitty’ as a base – children are also welcome to ‘Villa Kitty’ every Wednesday from 10am – 12pm, where they can assist the staff with looking after the felines.
If you’re a cat lover like me and you’re in Bali, live a little, and do yourself a favour and drop in to ‘Villa Kitty’! The staff are incredibly friendly and you are more than welcome to meet all the feline residents. The cats and kittens loved it when Pete and I walked in – they are extremely curious and want to play!
As ‘Villa Kitty’ is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, support, where possible is always graciously received. If you would like to offer support, you can email Elizabeth directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Banjar Tengah Lodtunduh