Mothering Sunday – to More than Children

By Elizabeth Henzell
For The Bali Times

UBUD ~ 6:45am: Mother’s Day 2009.

“Hey, Mumsy!”

“Hello darling” – my gorgeous son, Mclean.

“Happy Mother’s Day. Am I the first to phone?” he says in one breath. (My two eldest children are so competitive.)

“Thank you. No,” I reply, “Isobella phoned yesterday to get in first.”

“Doesn’t count,” he says. “What have you planned for the day?”

Ummm… I’m in Ubud – so far from my three children, all in different parts of Australia.

It’s 6:30am on Mother’s Day morning and I’m already on my way over to the Honeymoon Guesthouse, where one of the guests found three tiny kittens three days earlier living in the roof just outside my favourite room. The Laksmi room is gorgeous. It is the room I would choose if I were on my honeymoon, with its wide, spacious veranda and views to the majestic Mount Agung.

Helene and I met last weekend when she was staying in the Laksmi room. She was watching the kittens play on the roofing near the veranda, just as I was watching them from below. We were both a little concerned for their welfare as their mother hadn’t been sighted for a day or so. The next night when the skies opened, dumping unseasonable rain, we decided to catch them.

So began three days of the mysterious case of the escaping kittens.

The initial capture was easy. Helene, with the help of Evo, one of the multiskilled staff at Honeymoon Guesthouse, just reached out from the window and picked up the tiny, wet bundles of fluff. With the blessing of my good friend and cat-lover Janet, we set them up in luxury in a beautiful new cage with delicious food, clean water, kitty litter tray and a bedroom any aspiring princess would love, on the veranda of the Laksmi room.

Over the next few days Helene and I shared a rollercoaster ride of joy and astonishment as we lost and re-found two of these tiny kittens. These little balls of fluff had an uncanny ability to escape a perfectly secure cage.

Friday, and Helene and I have formed a real friendship. We are rewarding ourselves with a beer as once again there are three kittens. Three little kittens? Oh, no! Houdini is alive and well, reincarnated as a tiny Bali kitten. One is missing again.

We are now joined by my talented photographer friend Patria, who has arrived from Australia to stay at Honeymoon Guesthouse for two weeks. Patria is also an animal lover and comes to Bali to volunteer at the animal welfare associations. She too will, hopefully, help with the capture of kitty number three.

Saturday, and the elusive kitty number three is still at large, but by this time I’ve noticed that one of the kittens isn’t doing well at all. I arrange to take it to Dr. Yogi at the Bali Animal Welfare (BAWA) clinic, where he gives her three injections of fluid to rehydrate and antibiotics and vitamins help fight off whatever is the problem. I am now to feed the poor little thing with a dropper every two hours, as she isn’t eating.

Helene is leaving; we are so sad. We’ve had an interesting time and formed such a bond through the Honeymoon kittens. Later I sit on the veranda with my laptop, trying to work and hoping like crazy I will singlehandedly capture the final kitten. No such luck.

Mother’s Day morning and I have returned to check on the kittens. Janet, who realises she isn’t getting breakfast in bed because her Balinese children celebrate Mother’s Day in December, has decided to join me and the kittens, who are now playing in the bathroom. It’s the only area that can be totally locked so that two of the sweetest kittens you could ever imagine could play. Even the little sick one is enjoying herself as she watches her healthy sibling frolic around the room.

My phone rings. It’s Margaux, my youngest, wishing me Happy Mother’s Day. Janet mouths her goodbyes, as I laugh with Margaux about her competitive siblings.

I am still speaking with Margaux when Patria arrives and silently sits watching the kittens. Patria starts signing as Margaux and I say goodbye. “Sorry,” she says, “I didn’t mean for you to ring off but I can only see one kitten.”

Don’t be ridiculous! I can see… The kittens have been playing around the toilet. It must be behind the toilet. Oh, no! There’s a cavity that goes from behind it down pipes down to the space between the floor and the ceiling below.

Patria is saying, “Don’t panic. Don’t panic.” I panic. I stand up and want to scream but it is still only 7:45 on Mother’s Day morning. I pick up the other kitten, the healthy one, to ensure it doesn’t join its mate down the hole. Patria tells me she can hear the kitten. I fear it’s lost in the cavernous area between the floor and ceiling below.

This is too much. I have lost it completely but thankfully Patria remains calm. She quietly puts some kitten food on a dish to entice the little one back. Smart Patria then holds the other kittens close to the entrance and slowly, slowly the kitten comes back and Patria was ready to pounce.

With the kittens safely back in the cage, we head off to BAWA with two lovely Australian girls, Catherine and Emma, who have offered to volunteer. Our work is cut out for us today. So many puppies needing so much attention; so the time passes quickly and it seems like we are back at Honeymoon in no time.

Just as I am heading for the shower I get another text from Patria. “Happy Mother’s Day,” she writes: she and Evo – yes, Evo again – have caught the elusive kitty number three. We are a family again.

Lily, my friend Sarah’s daughter, has talked her mother in to allowing her to adopt two of the kittens. I know where the third one will live. Happy Mother’s Day, Janet!

What a day. It was no matter what, my Mother’s Day.

Please join me in celebrating the beautiful Bali dogs and cats and adopt one or maybe two today. Visit for details.

Filed under: Instinct

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