We’re Walking for Finn: Because She Can’t

Finn when she first arrived

Finn was trapped along with her mom Pumpkin and brother Henry at a trailer park in Langley. She arrived at VOKRA covered in fleas and with an infection that made her eyes all gooby. It was also immediately evident something was wrong with her back legs. We suspected she had swimmer syndrome, a developmental abnormality making her unable to stand.

Always a little trooper, Finn wouldn’t let her disability get in her way and would wiggle herself around our Operations Centre looking for cuddles, which, or course, she’d always get!

After several different vet visits, Finn was diagnosed with a spinal issue and it was discovered her right hind leg is significantly shorter than her left. To top it off, because she’s semi-incontinent she’s had to battle several urinary tract infections (UTIs), which isn’t uncommon for kitties with her condition. So today Finn lives with foster mom Corin and gets regular physiotherapy to help her get stronger so she can stand in her litter box and hopefully avoid future UTIs.

Finn gets regular hydrotherapy in the bathtub where she can now stand and take some steps. Corin also does both seated and standing passive manipulation with her to help train her muscles and Finn has some supports she uses to help her get around.

“Finn’s very clever and has figured our how to do pretty much everything without walking like other kitties,” said foster mom Corin. “She’s incredibly intelligent and only needs to see the other kitties in our home do something once and she mimics it.”

Along with her increased strength Finn’s litter box habits are improving so she’s currently UTI-free. If she can remain this way, she’ll head back to the vet to be spayed and will have additionally imaging done to better diagnose her issues. Then she’ll be able to start professional physiotherapy and even perhaps acupuncture.

The reality is only 25% of kittens who don’t receive human care survive. It’s a certainty Finn would not be alive today without help. Unlike many other animal rescue groups, VOKRA is a no-kill organization. This means we will always provide kittens like Finn with a chance at a happy life, no matter the cost.

“An empty lap is an invitation and Finn will fill it in seconds,” said Corin. “But behind those snuggles is a bit of a Rambo kitty. She fears nothing, not even the vaccum!”

Finn is just one of the thousands of reasons why we Walk for the Kitties.

Each year, VOKRA rescues more than 1,400 homeless cats and kittens from around the Lower Mainland. We’re volunteer-driven and our work is made possible through the generous support of people like you – our volunteers, adopters and donors. Walk for the Kitties is our largest fundraising event of the year and we rely on the funds raised to help pay for all the things like food, litter and veterinary care our kitties need.

Please help us help kitties like Finn this September 17 by joining us for Walk for the Kitties, presented by FirstMate.

Eventbrite - VOKRA Walk for the Kitties 2017

Can’t make it on September 17? You can still help when you donate today!

You can also follow Finn’s adventures on her Instagram account at @felinefinntastic

Helmut and Heidi’s Happy Tail Ending

Posh (previously Heidi)

Last December, Helmut and Heidi were two feral cats trapped, along with several other cats, from a building in Fort Langley. Scared and uncertain, they started to come around after a few weeks in VOKRA’s care. Cathy visited the pair at their foster home where their foster parents nurtured them through socialization and play. While Cathy originally only wanted to adopt Helmut, she saw how attached to Heidi he was. He would protect her and always tried to get between her and any stranger. Seeing their bond, Cathy adopted the pair into their furever home and they became Beckham and Posh.

Beckham (previously Helmut)

Beckham and Posh have grown since the beginning of the year, doubling in weight, and their fur has improved and they now have very thick undercoats. Beckham purrs night and day and just about turns inside out to be brushed and pampered. Posh has an undying love for her dried sardine treats, constantly weaving through Cathy’s legs begging for some. While petting is still unwelcome by Posh, she enjoys licking Cathy’s fingers and purring.

Cathy is thankful to VOKRA for ensuring the best of care when Beckham and Posh were first rescued, and we’re happy these two furballs have found their loving furever home.

 

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

Post written by Aurora C.

Tom and Jerry’s Happy Tail Ending

Kashmire (previously Jerry)

Marie-Claire and her family were devastated when their beloved cat Cody went missing. After an exhaustive search they came to come to the realization that Cody was not likely to return and it came time to open up their home to another cat.

While on VOKRA’s website, Marie-Claire came across two bonded cats looking for a new home. After being adopted as kittens, Tom and Jerry were returned to VOKRA and they were quite stressed from the change in environment. The bonded siblings were six years old at the time and waiting for that special someone to come along.

Marie-Claire went to visit Tom and Jerry in their foster home. “I had fallen in love with them at first sight and I was so lonely without Cody that I couldn’t wait to have them come home with me,” said Marie-Claire. “We came back the next day to pick them up.”

Boxer (previously Tom)

After some vet care, patience and a lot of love, Tom and Jerry (now Boxer and Kashmire) are fully part of the family and living the pampered housecat dream. “It wasn’t long before they both slept with us, one of either side of me (I am never cold),” said Marie-Claire.

Boxer and Kashmire have become well-seasoned travelers, accompanying Marie-Claire and her family when they travel down south for the winter. They spend their days “helping” Marie-Claire and her family while they work in the home office. Marie–Claire says the kitties are, “very social and always join us when we entertain.”

We’re so glad Boxer and Kashmire have settled in and are so comfortable around people again. Thank you Marie-Claire for giving these sweet cats a second chance at a happy home!

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

Post written by Kim C.

Volunteer of the Month – July 2017

Dania with one of her kitties, Mouse

On the heels of celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, we’d like to celebrate our Volunteer of the Month for July, Dania Sheldon!

Dania discovered VOKRA when she rescued a cat who had been abandoned in a burning apartment; the humans had an illegal grow-op and left her there when an electrical fire started. She thought the cat might like company, so she looked online for options. It seemed to her VOKRA was a good fit as the foster system seemed a much better approach to cats’ welfare than the shelter model. Dania also had previous experience of caring for unweaned orphaned kittens. She has been volunteering with VOKRA since 2005, when she adopted her first three bottle-feeders who had been discovered in a bag in a dumpster.

With Maximus and Thumbelina

Before moving to Gabriola Island, Dania was involved in the day-to-day running of VOKRA as the operations manager. She was in charge of many tasks, such as cat care, bringing kitties to new foster homes, picking up and delivering supplies, fundraising and developing publications such as our Mewsletter and annual VOKRA calendar. Since moving to Gabriola, she’s continued with the calendar through to the 2017 issue, along with facilitating and coordinating the adoptions of VOKRA cats who require safe indoor/outdoor homes that can be found on Gabriola. Dania also represents VOKRA on the Rescue Roundtable, which is a coalition of no-kill rescue groups in  southern BC, sharing education, experience and contacts to achieve the best possible outcomes for animals in need.

“My favourite part of volunteering is spending one-on-one time with cats, particularly those who are shy, frightened, semi-feral or otherwise in need of particular consideration and care,” says Dania. “There is nothing more absorbing, for me, than being entirely focused upon another being and trying to provide whatever will soothe their anxiety. If this means sitting in a room for hours at a time, pretending not to notice a cat while s/he assesses me, I’m up for it. What’s more amazing than the feeling you experience when a once terrified, wary cat decides to trust you? Nothing. That’s the best.”

We’re grateful for all the hard work Dania has put into volunteering with our organization for the past 12 years. She’s helped VOKRA grow and improved the lives of countless kittens and cats. A favourite story that has stuck with her is told below by Dania:

“A little male tabby kitten had been born with his rear left leg significantly shorter than the others. He required ongoing physio, as he also had some spinal deformity either due to or concurrent with the stunted limb. Given his need for indefinite specialized care, it could have been difficult to find him a home, but a family in which the parents were physios heard about him and were interested. As it happened, their boy had a similar condition with one of his legs. His name was Keegan, and he fell in love with this kitten, whom he named Keegan. VOKRA received a note from the mum, who said that this little cat had completely transformed her son’s life; his whole demeanour had changed now that he’d found his buddy, whom he talked to and hung out with all the time and kept up to date on daily events.”

With Lua, a kitty who survived a spinal cord injury. Dania’s written a book about Lua and you can learn all about it here

We thank Dania for helping with the rescue and rehabilitation of cats for the past 12 years and we’re sure the kitties she has saved thank her too.

“There would be no VOKRA if Dania had not stuck with me in my basement in 2005,” say Karen Duncan, co-founder of VOKRA. “We were pretty well done, overwhelmed by the numbers coming in. It was only through her determination and ability to get things sorted and written that we were able to pull through. We were sure we pulled it off with our wonderful glass magic wands which we zipped out every time we ran into a new impossible problem, waving them with desperate hope to find answers. We shared so many tears and much hysterical laughter over this time, and have been great friends ever since.”

Karen sums up our gratitude to Dania pretty well, so we just want to acknowledge and give thanks for every single ounce of work Dania has put into this organization. You have helped VOKRA take off and we couldn’t be happier to have you on our team!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% 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.

We’re Walking for the Kitties!

WALL-E’s a typical feisty kitten who loves to run, jump and play. Except for one thing, he now only has three legs.

We were first alerted about WALL-E when we saw an advertisement for a kitten with a broken leg. Obviously we were very concerned so we checked things out and ended up taking him in when he was 8 weeks old. WALL-E’s left hind leg had clearly been broken at some point and had healed in a backwards position.

Here you can see WALL-E’s backwards hind leg

WALL-E didn’t let his leg slow him down one bit, but it was clear something would need to be done. After consulting with a veterinarian it was decided the leg had to be removed.

Today WALL-E’s recovering from his surgery and his foster mom Dawn is trying her best to slow him down. Sometimes she even succeeds! Soon his stitches will come out and he’ll be on his way to finding a forever home.

Kittens like WALL-E are just one of the thousands of reasons why we Walk for the Kitties.

Each year, VOKRA rescues more than 1,400 homeless cats and kittens from around the Lower Mainland. Unlike many other animal rescue groups, VOKRA is a volunteer-driven, no-kill organization. Our work is made possible through the generous support of volunteers, adopters and people like you.

Without your support we wouldn’t be able to pay for the veterinary care kittens like WALL-E need. Please help us help kitties like WALL-E this September 17 by joining us for Walk for the Kitties, presented by FirstMate.

Eventbrite - VOKRA Walk for the Kitties 2017

Walk for the Kitties is our largest fundraising event of the year. This 5k fun walk takes place at Jericho Beach and all funds raised go directly towards supporting our rescue efforts. Learn more here.

Can’t make it on September 17? You can still donate today!

Volunteer of the Month – June 2017

Frankie

With the sun shining (sort of), our volunteers are looking forward to a busy June as we head straight into kitten season! We appreciate how hard our volunteers work to ensure each kitty lives the best life they can, and this month we’d like to celebrate Yana Sabanskis, our Volunteer of the Month!

Yana became involved with VOKRA around eight years ago when she worked at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. There, she was familiarized with the faces of VOKRA – Karen and Maria – through their regular visits to restock supplies. She took the opportunity to understand our non-profit organization and the way we work to continuously provide the best care for kitties. Yana helped out with recycling and other odds and ends and, when our new Operations Centre opened in 2015, she continued recycling twice a week. Along with helping out at our Centre, Yana adopted from VOKRA and also fostered several cats, in which she has made strong, yet adorable memories with.

“The first kitty I adopted from VOKRA was Sammi, an 11-year old pure bred Chocolate Himalayan,” explains Yana. “He adapted very quickly to my other cat, Molly, who I had found in an alley in the West End. After Molly suddenly died, I was asked if I could possibly foster a semi-feral 2-year old. I was up to the task and took on Tommy. He really was a challenge, living in the bathroom for about a month. I slowly introduced him to Sammi by taking food and Sammi into the bathroom and leaving them together. Sammi was very docile and performed a miracle so, about a week later, Tommy followed Sammi out of the bathroom and stayed with him wherever he went!”

After Sammi passed away, Yana took in little Paula, a geriatric kitty found in an alley in the Downtown Eastside. “She was an absolute joy to welcome in our home,” said Yana. “She slept on my shoulder and only ever wanted to be loved. She was with us for almost six months before she fell asleep one night and didn’t wake again.”

The next cat that came into their home was Frankie, an 18-year old geriatric kitty who came in from the cold and needed a home. “He joined us for two years until he died,” remembers Yana. “He was so grateful to be inside and insisted on sleeping in my lap, on my shoulder or on my head. He was a large cat and would not compromise his needs, so I accepted him doing whatever he wanted.”

Yana goes on to say, “When Frankie passed away, Tommy decided I was his new pet and we’re now bonded, so much so that he sleeps on me at night! During the day he is elusive, but at night he is a cuddle monster!”

Yana has helped VOKRA in so many ways and her connection with all the furballs she cares for is one we admire. We can’t thank her enough and are happy and appreciative to have such a wonderful, kind-hearted person in our organization. You’re the best, Yana!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% 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.

Why Pairs Are Purrrfect!

You may remember Cauliflower, our veggie queen and proud mama of six adorable kittens. As kitten season is now underway, we thought we’d provide an update on the veggie patch kittens – Kale, Parsnip, Cabbage, Courgette, Broccoli and Brussel Sprout – and explain why we think it’s so important to adopt in pairs. All the veggie patch kittens were adopted in pairs, allowing further kitten-to-kitten interaction and playtime to help them develop important social skills.

Kale & Parsnip

Magnus and Bjorn

Kale and Parsnip, now Magnus and Bjorn, are prime examples of how kittens help each other develop social skills. For example, Magnus has shown Bjorn the simple way to get more pets: climb all over the humans. In return, Bjorn confidently showed Magnus their new food was delicious when it became time to change their eating habits. The two lean on each other during kittenhood, being the strength to the other’s weakness.

Another advantage of adopting two kittens is they can entertain themselves when humans aren’t around. As Bjorn tends to be more independent, he’ll entertain himself with a toy mouse for a while before playing around with Magnus. When the fun and games end, there’s always a cuddle session!

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Magnus and Bjorn enjoying a cuddle session

In general, Magnus and Bjorn have grown much since the first day they were adopted. They’re both around 8 pounds each, but Bjorn’s closer to 9! They’ve both been neutered and Magnus has had his congenital abdominal hernia repaired. Bjorn’s also developed into a strong, silent type, which is a change from the rambunctious kitty he was at his foster home! He’s smart to assess a situation and make a calculated decision before acting, whether it’s pouncing on his brother or jumping into the nearest lap. Magnus continues to be the fool-hearted, fearless kitten he always was. They’re both so loving and are always longing for never-ending belly rubs!

Want to see more Magnus and Bjorn? You can follow them on Instagram here.

Cabbage & Courgette

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Bailey and Guinness

Cabbage and Courgette, now Guinness and Bailey, have grown into extremely playful kittens that like to ride the floor sweeper while the humans dust the floor!

The two kitties spend most of the day with each other, cleaning each other when taking a break from chasing one another all over the house. Having another kitty around means they can help clean each other’s ears and head, areas somewhat difficult to reach. The two are able to entertain each other and themselves, but prove to be very social when they’re guests around.

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Bailey and Guinness demonstrate their love

As for what they’re up to these days, Guinness has been neutered, but Bailey has a small heart murmur so her family are awaiting test results before she goes in for surgery. The two kitties enjoy sitting at the front window, watching the birds and bugs fly outside. They’re obsessed with the numerous toy mice they have, especially the ones that rattle. They’ve been a wonderful addition to the family and they’re “parents” say it’s been amazing watching them grow and learn from each other.

Broccoli & Brussel Sprout

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Broccoli and Brussel Sprout

Broccoli and Brussel Sprout are the best of friends. While play fighting has become a pastime, they also find entertainment with the kids of the house. They don’t mind being carried around and Brussel Sprout has even slipped on a pink dress without any sign of being bothered!

As kittens, they respect each other’s space, but Broccoli is clearly the boss, acting like a wise, older brother (well he is two weeks older!). They clearly love each other and are always in the same room. When one meows the other is sure to come running! They both love their treats and food and Brussel Sprout has proven to be the fastest eater of the furball kingdom!

 

George and Broccoli

In other news, Broccoli and Brussel Sprout have both been neutered and didn’t even need to wear cones of shame! They both bounced right back. Broccoli’s in love with the resident Airedale of the house, George. They cuddle in George’s bed and are constantly licking each other – call it instant friendship, if you will. However, Brussel Sprout is not a very big fan of George. The two cannot be left to their own devices together as George can’t understand why Brussel Sprout doesn’t want to be friends. He’s been on the receiving end of many of Brussel Sprout’s jaguar-like swats. So the patient introduction continues and once they find some common ground, everything’ll be golden!

The kittens have been an amazing addition to the family. While Brussel Sprout is a little naughtier and keeps the humans on their toes, they wouldn’t change a thing. Watching the kids bond with their dog and kittens is the sweetest thing one could ever hope for. Unconditional love from a pet is the best.

You can follow Broccoli and Brussel Sprout’s adventure on Instagram here.

Brussel Sprout and Broccoli love their people

As kitten season continues, we want to urge those wanting to adopt to adopt in pairs. The veggie patch kittens’ stories are examples of how advantageous, beneficial and sweet it can be to have two furballs in a household. Our mission at VOKRA is to ensure all kitties get the furever home they deserve, and you can help by adopting in pairs to give them not only a loving home, but a lifelong best friend at their side.

Click here to learn more about adopting through VOKRA.