All Cats Deserve Love

At VOKRA we believe all cats deserve to have a safe and happy life, regardless of their challenges. We often see and hear about all the cute and cuddly kitties, but never about those who show a little less affection or need a helping hand. Now, the spotlight is on some of VOKRA’s long-term care cats – Charlie, Jorje, Charis and Ashlay.

Charlie

Charlie’s an 11-year old tabby who is in palliative care at our Operations Centre. He was adopted in 2007 and, while a loving cat to his family, Charlie wasn’t very tolerant of visitors and other animals so he was surrendered to VOKRA in 2016. When he arrived at our Operations Centre, our volunteers found it hard to feed him and clean his kennel as he would often attack. He was then moved to a larger room to allow space for us to slowly work with him and gain his trust.

Charlie was on a strict diet as any change in food would cause vomiting. He was sent to the vet for bloodwork and x-rays, but nothing was found that would be the cause of his trouble. Finally, an ultrasound revealed a two to three inch tumour between his liver and pancreas; the thickened intestinal wall indicated lymphoma. Charlie’s now on daily pain medication and is fed high quality wet food four times a day with supplements to help sooth his tummy. While he still has some anxiety, he doesn’t attack as often, most likely because his pain is managed. He has a room at the front of our Operations Centre where he can see outdoors and lay on his heated blanket. Due to unpredictable behaviour and essential daily care, Charlie will live out the rest of his days at our Operations  Centre, monitored by our medical team and with the company of our experienced volunteers.

Jorge

Jorje is a 12-year old cat who showed up crying in the rain back in September 2016. He had hair loss, rotten teeth, severe dermatitis and was starving. VOKRA took him to the vet, where they found he has moderate kidney failure, at first requiring fluids twice a week followed now by medication to manage.

While in foster care, Jorje was found to have ringworm, a persistent skin fungus, and was brought back to our Operations Centre for treatment. There, he caught a bad cold and at one point he had painful ulcers on the corneas of both eyes. While nursing him back to health, our volunteers found Jorje also has food allergies which we manage by a raw diet of either bison or beef. Likely because of his allergies, Jorje also frequently suffers from ear infections.

Jorje stayed at the Operations Centre until October 2017 as his ringworm was particularly difficult to treat. No oral medication was allowed due to his kidney issues, leaving the ringworm to be treated through bathing with a special anti-fungal shampoo. His ringworm kept moving around his body, so we resorted to shaving him to help manage and it seemed to work. Jorje is currently doing well at his foster home and may one day be adopted into a caring and loving home.

Charis

Charis was surrendered to VOKRA in November 2016 as she became nervous when the family baby began to move around the house. The family also couldn’t afford to spay her and she was already two years old.  She doesn’t like other cats and was very aggressive on intake; it tooks months for her to settle down at our Operations Centre.

Charis has had five different fosters and the last two returned her for suddenly lashing out. Since October, Charis has also had major hairball issues, along with diarrhea and constipation. She hasn’t been eating well and seems depressed, but is now on a natural anti-anxiety supplement. After coming back to our Operations Centre, she’s calmed down in her kennel as she seems to acknowledge it as her home after having spent so much time there. Charis needs a foster home with no other pets or small children, along with a small space to call her own while she calms down and settles into. She needs a patient person who will learn her fears and work with her to overcome them, before the possibility of being adopted.

Ashlay

Ashlay is a 2-year old cat who came to VOKRA as a stray with three young kittens in December 2016. She was fostered with her kittens for three weeks until she was returned to the Operations Centre for behaviour issues; Ashlay would bite when the foster tried to pet her or clean her litter box. Her second foster worked with her daily to encourage positive interactions and discourage biting. It seems she bites when she isn’t receiving what she wants, whether it be attention, food or playtime. Due to her difficult nature, she’s been waiting for the right foster home since July. She may do well with a buddy cat to keep her busy, or she needs somebody who can establish a routine with her that includes plenty of exercise and playtime.

While our long-term care cats require close monitoring and daily training, we’re confident they have a loving future ahead of them, if not with a foster or forever family, with the devotion of all our volunteers. At VOKRA, kitties will always have a home until their last days. 

If you think you may be the right person to either foster or adopt one of these special cases, please visit our website at www.vokra.ca or contact us at info@vokra.ca

Oliver’s Happy Tail Ending

Oliver’s an adorable furball who met his loving family on a snowy day in November 2016. With a fabulous purrsonality paired with charm, Oliver’s fearless, adventurous, clever and sociable.

Moving to Canada from Brazil, Fernanda quickly found herself volunteering with VOKRA to help what she loves most in life – kitties! She had rescued her cat, Tom, from the streets of Brazil and he also came with her to Canada on a 21 hour of flight. However, it wasn’t easy for Tom to settle into his new home. He behaved strangely and cried nonstop. He would stare at two neighbourhood cats all day, wanting to get their attention. It was clear he was asking for a little brother so Fernanda and her husband then adopted Sam, and the two became the best of friends.

As Fernanda got ready to celebrate her first birthday in Canada, her husband got in touch with VOKRA and wanted to give her a new “son” as a birthday present. Visiting the foster home, they met Oliver who was the biggest of the litter. For a kitten of 3-4 months, he was huge! Fernanda fell in love with Oliver instantly, knowing she had to bring him home and grow her family of kitties from two to three. While slightly doubtful about introducing a third cat to the house, Fernanda’s husband encouraged her to adopt Oliver. It was a good idea, as in two days he won his brothers’ love and affection.

As a cat lover, having three beautiful, healthy, smart and friendly cats is all Fernanda could ask for. Of the three, Oliver’s what Fernanda calls a “tick,” as he’s always with her and her husband and loves to sleep and cuddle with them. He’s always found in the laps of all their visitors too. Fernanda is over the moon and happy to share her love of her furballs with her husband.

“Today, my husband, who didn’t want any cats, now calls himself the daddy of three and it’s hilarious to hear him call Tom, Sam and Oliver to sleep in bed every night,” said Fernanda. “We’ve travelled a bit and he says he doesn’t want to travel anymore as he can’t stay away from his kitties!”

Adopting Oliver was the best thing we did in life,” she adds. “He makes my days much happier along with his brothers and we’re not sure if the family is complete. There may be a fourth one day!”

We are so happy to hear how much joy Oliver brings to Fernanda’s family! Thank you to Fernanda for choosing VOKRA and giving Oliver a furever home and a lifetime of love.

Would you like to share your Happy Tail? Email us at communications@vokra.ca.

Clean, clean, clean!

Post written by Aurora C.

We’re Looking For Volunteers!

We’re looking for volunteers to join our wonderful reception team!

Our reception team works at our Operations Centre in East Vancouver and is the first point of contact for our visitors.

We’re looking for volunteers that want to learn more about VOKRA and help our organization grow. Joining our reception team will enable you to learn about our cats by entering their information into our system, as well as by cuddling them! In addition to supplying guests with general information, the reception team helps with filing, volunteer management, inventory management and selling VOKRA merchandise.

Our reception team ensures the Operations Centre runs smoothly and plays a central role from when kitties enter our system to when they’re adopted, and everything in between.

Reception team volunteers must commit to a minimum of 1 shift a week (2-4 hours each).

If you’re interested in joining our reception team, please click here.

Volunteer of the Month – November

Now that snow has fallen upon us, we can safely say autumn is definitely starting to turn into winter. But here at VOKRA we’re never cold because we have so many cuddly kitties to bundle up with. This November, we’d like to celebrate our Volunteer of the Month, a champion cat-cuddler, Anne Salomon.

Anne has always been a cat lover, having grown up with a cat throughout her childhood. After she retired in 2008, she started volunteering with a shelter in Langley as their communications director and helped with fundraising. Taking a short break from that job, she quickly found herself volunteering with VOKRA, helping with trapping cats.

Anne with Little

Anne came to realize how big the homeless cat situation is and wanted to help the best she could. She has now trapped and helped save several hundred cats and kittens! Some rescues that stand out to Anne are Little, Dude and their two siblings. These were day-old kitties found in an abandoned house under construction.

Trapping is hard work, but Anne finds it wonderful to follow all the cats’ journeys on Facebook. At the same time, she faces a tinge of jealousy as all she wants to do is take them all home!

Anne on one of her many rescue missions

“I’m honoured to be on the VOKRA trapping team,” said Anne. “I always know the whole organization is behind us and that we work towards a common goal, to combat the homelessness of cats in our area. I cherish the camaraderie and support amongst the volunteers at VOKRA. The work is very rewarding and addicting, but at the same time, sometimes heartbreaking. There are highs and lows and I’ve learned it’s not just the cats that need our help. We end up helping people as well.”

We’re incredibly grateful for all the help Anne has given – through her time, effort and loyalty – to help VOKRA and the kitties. We’re lucky to have her on our team and the cats and kittens are very lucky to have Anne on their side. Thank you Anne for helping us towards our mission to end cat overpopulation and homelessness.

Post written by Aurora C.

As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Wanted: Event Coordinator

We’re looking for a pro-active event coordinator to assume a leadership role and organize events to raise awareness and much needed funds to care for our ever-growing family of kittens and cats.

Responsibilities

  • Seek out fundraising event opportunities, research and recommend opportunities for new events;
  • Build relationships with local event organizers and vendors;
  • Screen event attendance requests and determine if appropriate;
  • Execute and plan VOKRA events – organize information tables/booths at local pet conventions, community events and pet food stores; ensure appropriate volunteer staffing, coordinate third-party event attendance;
  • Coordinate with other teams inside VOKRA as needed for events,
    such as Communications, Photography, etc.
  • Arrange transportation of promotional and event supplies to and from the event;
  • Manage record keeping and reporting for events – money raised, inventory sold, etc.
  • Participate as part of the Fundraising and Events committee, including attending quarterly meetings

Skills, Experience & Abilities

  • Highly organized, exceptional planner with high attention to detail;
  • Desire to lead and take ownership of events;
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills: ability to work collaboratively with teams and fellow volunteers
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision
  • Adaptable, with a keen interest in VOKRA
  • Experience coordinating events
  • Access to a vehicle

To apply please complete the volunteer application form here and then email Pat at volunteervokra@gmail.com to let him know you’ve completed the application.

Sophie & Leo’s Happy Tail Ending

Sophie and Leo are two black beauties who were returned to VOKRA after their previous guardians’ family situation changed and they could no longer care for them. These siblings were quite bonded and needed to find a new forever home together.

Angela decided to add a kitty (or two) to her family earlier this year. She knew she wanted to adopt Sophie and Leo shortly after meeting them: “They were friendly and [Sophie] hopped on the couch when we were getting close to leaving and rested right beside me.”

Sophie and Leo have been in their new home for six months now and have settled in to a new routine of staring out the window together and meowing to each other when they think they’re alone.

“Sophie sleeps on her back with her paws curled in the air and loves to sleep between legs, Leo will run past you and lay right in front to have his belly rubbed,” said Angela. “We spend a lot of time with them, playing and hiding treats; they love to hunt for treats around the house.”

We’re so glad Sophie and Leo got their happy ending. Happy ‘tails’ you two!

Would you like to share your Happy Tail? Email us at communications@vokra.ca.

Post written by Kim C.

2017 AGM set for October 19

VOKRA will be holding its 2017 Annual General Meeting on October 19 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Anyone can attend our AGM, however in order to vote you need to become a society member. Membership is only $10 and is a great way to show your support for VOKRA.

2017 VOKRA AGM
Thursday, October 19
7 to 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1573 – 18 Avenue E., Vancouver
RSVP & BECOME A SOCIETY MEMBER

Members will receive a full agenda package, but briefly, the points to be covered will be:

  • Minutes of the Previous AGM, October 13, 2016
  • Presentation: 2017 in Review
  • Treasurer’s Report: 2016 Financial Statements
  • Motion to set membership fee post October AGM
  • Motions to change the bylaws (if any)
  • Election of the Board members
  • Thank you to the Outgoing Board
  • New Business
  • Meeting Adjourned

We have asked people to indicate whether or not they will be attending the meeting so we can get a rough idea of the number of people who will show up. People intending to run for Board positions must be present for both the nomination and the acceptance of the nomination. Under BC Society Act bylaws, no proxies are permitted.

At the AGM we will be electing six new members of the board of directors to serve a two-year term until 2019. Board membership is a leadership position within VOKRA that guides the organization to achieve its mission. Directors act in a position of trust for the community and are responsible for the effective governance of our organization.

Current board members seeking re-election:

Tasha Bukovnik

Tasha’s been volunteering with VOKRA since 2014 and has been on the board since 2016, currently in the role of vice president. She’s a public relations professional and leads VOKRA’s integrated communications and marketing team. She oversees all of VOKRA’s social media activities, coordinates the quarterly Mewsletter, manages the blog, coordinates the development of marketing materials, helps promote events, handles media relations and generally supports other VOKRA teams with whatever they need. Tasha also leads the fundraising committee and her main focus is to manage VOKRA’s direct fundraising initiatives and appeals. When not volunteering, Tasha loves hanging out on the couch reading or knitting with her CH cat Bran and she’s also a certified yoga teacher.

Nicky Forsman

Nicky’s Head of Creative for OUTtv and is mostly known to those at VOKRA as the producer/director of the documentary series Kitty 911. Filming the series gave Nicky a unique perspective of all facets of VOKRA. It allowed her to meet volunteers from all departments and really delve into how the organization functions – an opportunity not many VOKRA volunteers are lucky enough to have. This insight inspired Nicky to join the board late last year and continues to inform the work that she does at VOKRA. When Nicky’s not working she’s usually at home snuggled up with her kitty Brooklynn, a former VOKRA mama, or educating her neighbours about how their cats should really be kept inside. A huge passion of hers, Nicky dreams of a world where seeing a cat outdoors alone raises the same red flag for the general public as it would to see a dog in the same situation.

Andrea Langille

Andrea began volunteering with VOKRA in 2015 and took on the role of Treasurer in May 2017. She is a CPA, CGA with many years of experience in the not-for-profit area. In her role as Treasurer, Andrea works with the finance team to ensure the proper collection of revenue, processing of payments, tax and gaming grant compliance, and financial statement preparation. Andrea enjoys hiking, gardening and spending time with her friends, family and her senior kitty Lexus.

Jeff Matthews

Jeff and his son Raine have been enthusiastic VOKRA volunteers for close to seven years. Originally starting out as drivers, they’ve taken on a range of roles, including cat care, failed foster, vaccinations and generally being available to help out when needed. Jeff was elected to the board last year, where he helps lead the IT team. He’s also the proud companion to two VOKRA kitties. Jeff has had a life-long love of animals, dedicating much of his spare time to volunteer activism for the environment and animal rights, including a stint as President of Sea Shepherd Canada. In his professional life, Jeff holds a PhD in Physics from UBC, working as a biomedical research consultant and advisor.

Maria Soroski

Maria co-founded VOKRA with Karen Duncan in 1999, after years of volunteering with cats and kittens. While volunteering, Maria saw a desperate need to develop a holistic approach to cat and kitten care, as well as a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program in order to keep the feral and homeless cat population down. After VOKRA’s inception, Maria’s dream started coming true. Local shelters were seeing a dramatic drop in feral cat and kitten numbers in Vancouver – something Maria is proud to have helped with. She paved the way with VOKRA’s founding values and continues to ensure that as a no-kill organization, the TNR program is one of the best in BC. With a passion for giving homeless and feral cats a happy and healthy life, Maria always ensures VOKRA uses organic and nutritious food for all cats. With VOKRA keeping her busy, the former prairie gal loves to reward herself with time spent at home relaxing with her cats.

Vacancy: Director at Large

We’re actively recruiting for an additional director at large to serve a two year term. A director is fully informed on organizational matters and participates in the board’s deliberations and decisions in matters of policy, finance, programs, personnel and advocacy. They also review the bylaws and policy manual and recommend bylaw changes to the membership; participate in the development of VOKRA’s organizational plan and annual review; and assist in developing and maintaining positive relations among the board, committees, operations management team, volunteers and community to enhance VOKRA’s mission. Directors at large are required to attend monthly VOKRA board meeting, including preparation time to review materials.

Here’s what it takes to be a board member:

  • MEMBERSHIP IN THE VOKRA SOCIETY! You must be a member to be a board member
  • Commitment to the work of the organization
  • Knowledge and skills in one or more areas of board governance: policy, finance, programs, personnel, fundraising and advocacy
  • Willingness to serve on committees and attend committee meetings
  • Attendance at monthly board meetings + preparation time to review materials
  • Attendance at meetings of assigned committees
  • Attendance at Annual General Meetings
  • Support of special events
  • Support of and participation in fundraising events

If you’ve got what it takes and want to learn more email communications@vokra.ca.