Sunday we went to Villa Kitty. You probably know I have a kitten,Cosmo, who I got in February. While I was looking for a new kitten (with great difficulty) I ‘liked’ the Facebook pages of some of the cat shelters around Sydney. Somehow a little more recently I came across Villa Kitty, a cat shelter a outside Ubud. We were lucky enough to be there while these two kittens went to their new family in Sanur. Velvet and Pus-pus.
How I came to visit Villa Kitty is that Elizabeth mentioned on the Facebook page that Villa Kitty could do with some Australian rubber gloves. The cleaning of the kitty litters is all done by one person to minimise the chance of infection. See photo how many kitty litter trays. The local rubber gloves just don’t match up, so I brought over a few pairs for them. Then, in an Ubud brochure we picked up at Bina Wisata, it mentioned Sunday lunch under the mango tree at Villa Kitty.
I have been coming to Bali for 27 years. BB last came 19 years ago. She has noticed the difference in treatment of animals here. There used to be packs of sick and injured dogs on the streets and cats were emaciated and sick too most of the time. Now, you see many dogs that are obviously pets in the sense that we would have a pet at home. Same with cats. Many hotels and restaurants have a cat (Ubud Village Hotel, my second home, always had ginger cats, even back then.)
So off we went for Sunday lunch under the mango tree, with Elizabeth who runs Villa Kitty. First we met the cats (the well cats). See photos, healthy and very sociable. The whole place is spotlessly clean with no ‘cat’ smell. Pretty hard to do when you are caring for 127 cats and kittens, many of them sick. Not to mention the fact that there are several resident dogs, very friendly.
So, next when you are in Bali, go for lunch on the Sunday under the mango tree, take plenty of rubber gloves from home, and give a big donation. You will have a great time and meet some extremely interesting people.
In the afternoon we drew some animals we’d been getting around to drawing since our first day. These mountain goats have their own little mountain right in the middle of the zoo. You can see them sitting high up in nooks and crannies & even in little caves. The zoo call them TAHR, but I know them as THAR. I looked them up in Wikipedia and it seems that both names are OK.
At one time I worked at a hotel in New Zealand’s Mount Cook National Park. The two imported animals in the national park were the chamois and the thar. We had to know all this stuff to tell guests at the hotel, so I was a bit thrown when I saw it spelt another way at the zoo. You can see the woolliness of their coats varies a great deal, and I haven’t found out yet what that means. Age?
Our next stop was to stand in a short queue to see the tiger cubs who had only been on display for 13 days (photo taken with my Xperia Arc). There are three of them, though we only saw two. So cute. Mother was looking absolutely gorgeous and very proud. She was keeping her eyes fixed on all the people watching her cubs, and according to the keeper, also on the father was was sitting above us. See this zoo video of them – just wonderful. A few days ago, someone put this video of lion cubs on FB and I am sooooooo envious.
Last drawing of the day was back to see my favourites- the ringtail lemurs. There are 5 males – easy to tell because of the way they always carry their tails in the air. The zoo page has some wonderful photos of them. I just love them. We spent as long just sitting watching them as we did sketching. Next time I will take my camera with the 12x zoom.
The zoo has made me think of childhood rhymes and old song lyrics. You probably saw one on one of my earlier zoo drawings and now here’s another one on the drawing of the bongo. The words, by the way, are from a song called “Civilisation”.Our third day at the zoo started out with a plan that worked pretty well. We came along past the bongos, and they were relatively cooperative. It is such a beautiful animal with distinct facial markings, but what I really love about it is the markings on its coat that look as if paint has been dribbled down it.
The zebras are even more beautiful if that is possible. I’m becoming more and more fixated on the beauty of the animals with every visit to the zoo. Just after we began to draw the zebras, the keeper came in, bringing brunch. That’s how I had a two-version drawing happening until the zebra decided that it was doing and I was able to finish the drawing.
Another beautiful day at Taronga Park Zoo, and this time we had a plan. We went straight to the Barbary Sheep – gorgeous calm looking beasts with shaggy hair like a mane, but falling down from their throat. Apparently they are a species of goat-antelope, and they’re a beautiful caramel colour.
There are quite a number of them, but on this hot morning at first they weren’t cooperating. They stood far from where we were. Fortunately with some patience, some of them decided to come and sit quite close to us, and I was able to get some better drawings.
After a large coffee and a few short visits to other favourites, we were on our way to draw the spider monkeys. As we passed the floral clock, a peacock was putting on quite a display. He was there for quite some time and totally gorgeous (and he knew it).
The spider monkeys saw us with our sketchbooks and immediately went to the other side of the enclosure. We stayed put, hoping they would come back. They remained fairly unhelpful,so we just did the best we could. I’m certain if we’d moved closer they would have moved away again. These animals know what you’re up to!
Our last drawing of the day was the colourful Cassowary. There were two of these amazing birds. We’d seen them prior to our (late) lunch and one had been sitting at the front of the enclosure. By the time we settled down to draw them they were both wandering their enclosures, so again it was a matter of waiting for one of them to take the same pose for a second time. There was a large heap of big green round eggs. An adult cassowary can be 6 feet tall or more, and the eggs were sized accordingly. Though they are native to Australia – not from around here -I’d never seen one before. It’s ‘hat’ is called a casque. It actually had metallic gold colouring at the back, so I had to get the gold acrylic paint out to finish it off when I got home.
We arrived at the gorilla enclosure just as the keeper talk was ending. I should mention that the zoo is Stroller City. Not only that, but full of school groups of very small children. All the little darlings shriek at once, so arriving when they leave is a great bonus.
The gorilla enclosure is quite large, but there are a lot of them, so plenty of opportunity to draw. The one on the top left was sitting at quite a distance, and he seemed to be the boss. I’ve drawn the expression on his face as far more benevolent than it was. I liked ‘The Thinker’ in the middle – that seemed to be a pose they liked too. The one at bottom left appeared to be pregnant.
After drawing the gorillas we had time for lunch on a lawn with a beautiful tree. Although we were there to draw the animals, we couldn’t leave without drawing the tree as well.
On our way back we wandered into the lemur enclosure – well, they are behind a pane of glass. This cheeky little person came and sat right in front of me for some time – so close I could have touched him and rested his paws on the wood that supported the glass. These ringtail lemurs are my absolute favourite. Their tails are so long & when they walk around they carry them upright, but curled like a question mark. I could watch them for hours. There are five of them according to the zoo article but they are so cheeky and entertaining that it seems like more.
Recently the Sunday paper had two-for-the-price-of-one vouchers for Taronga Park Zoo. They are valid till the end of November, so I rushed up to the shop and bought a few extra papers. I hadn’t been to the zoo for years and years. It is normally very expensive.
We had perfect weather. Took our folding chairs – however we had to stand to draw the giraffes. They are so elegant – the way they move. I only wish I could do them justice. You can see from the photo that they have the best real estate in Sydney.
From there we went to the elephants - there were two mothers and babies, but although they don’t seem to move much, they constantly shift about. I have a wonderful very old book full of drawings of animals and the artist says that elephants are the most difficult to draw because they are constantly changing position from one foot to another. They also stood quite far away from us in a patch of shade, because it was getting quite hot in the sun by then.