Making a Difference in North Surrey

There are an estimated 34,000 free-roaming cats currently living in Surrey. Without intervention, this number is expected to grow as cats and kittens continue to reproduce at an alarming rate. Surrey resident Charlotte Austin recognized the overpopulation of stray cats within the city and the critical need to promote spaying/neutering within her community. With the support of local physician  Dr. Jeffrey Roberts, Charlotte founded the North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project, which provides free spay/neuter services for low-income families.

Overpopulation problem?  Us?

Overpopulation problem? Us?

It began in the fall of 2014 when Charlotte learned that many of the children she works with had unsterilized cats and kittens at home. Many of these children’s families are low-income and could not afford the spay/neuter fees, along with other veterinary care such as vaccination or tattooing. Through her volunteer work with VOKRA, Charlotte would offer to take in kittens that these families needed to find homes for, and would herself pay to have cats sterilized and vaccinated. However, she knew her efforts wouldn’t be enough to address the constant need for free spay/neuter services in Surrey.     

That’s when she remembered a conversation she once had with a doctor in the community (and VOKRA adopter!) Dr. Jeffrey Roberts of the Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine, a company with a lot of caring cat people working there. Having previously spoken together about cats and VOKRA, Charlotte decided to speak to Dr. Roberts about the need for low-income families to access veterinary care for their cats and kittens.

I approached Dr. Roberts about sponsoring a free spay/neuter project for families in the community where I work. He very graciously agreed to sponsor the project and started the wheels rolling with a hefty donation.

In less than five weeks, the North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project helped spay/neuter thirty-three cats and kittens, with several females awaiting spaying once their kittens have been weaned.

Her kittens are adorable, but Mitsy will be happy not to have any more thanks to the NSSNP

Her kittens are adorable, but Mitsy won’t be having any more thanks to the NSSNP

Charlotte immediately saw the positive impact the North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project has had in her community.

This project is unique because it helps both animals and people. The families are extremely grateful for the assistance and the cats do not have to worry about producing more or ever having kittens. As well, it is a shining, real-life lesson in the responsibility of proper pet guardianship to children.

VOKRA and kitten Cookie help kids learn about responsible pet guardianship

VOKRA and kitten Cookie help kids learn about responsible pet guardianship

However, veterinary care is not cheap and there is no end in sight to the cats and kittens in Surrey who need to be spayed/neutered.

We are very proud of how many cats and kittens we have helped, but have basically drained the account. We seriously need help from the public to continue this project. It is a small, but necessary step, in helping reduce the number of stray cats in Surrey.

Cocomo will surely keep getting into trouble, just not THAT kind of trouble anymore!

Cocomo will surely keep getting into trouble, just not THAT kind of trouble anymore!

Charlotte and the North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project have started something great with the support of Dr. Jeffrey Roberts, but with kitten season now in full swing, the project desperately needs your help to continue to address the critical need for veterinary care for cats and kittens in Surrey.

You can help control the number of unwanted cats and kittens. Visit to donate, noting North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project, today.

Post written by Kim C.

Volunteer of the Month, May 2015!

It is the beginning of May, flowers are blooming and sunny, happy days are slowly outnumbering the gloomy, rainy days. And as it is a new month, we would like to give our thanks to our radiant volunteer of the month – Marion Sampson!

Marion 1

Marion is a key player with our Surrey team and part of the backbone of VOKRA. She first expressed her love for animals and her helping nature by volunteering with the SPCA in Surrey, until it closed in 2005. She has since then picked up as a volunteer with VOKRA for three years and counting, beginning in 2012. When VOKRA Surrey lost its TNR Centre (Trap-Neuter-Return program centre) in 2013 – but was then later offered a building – Marion, at her cost, put the building on her property. It was fixed, re-floored, and newly painted. The renovated space was reborn as The Cottage.

Like a smaller version of VOKRA’s Vancouver Operations Centre, cats that are trapped by Mona, Marlene, Anne, or Marion, are provided a cage in The Cottage with the necessities – food, water, flea treatment, de-worming, vaccinations, trips to the vet for neutering or spaying, attention, assessments on their adoptability and lots of volunteer love before they go to foster. The Cottage has grown immensely within the past year. VOKRA Surrey, prior to the establishment of The Cottage, fostered 75 kitties in 2013, but with the introduction of The Cottage, that number grew to a total of 240 cats in 2014 and an additional 105 cats from the beginning of this year until now. 

The Cottage – comfortably fits up to eight cages.

The Cottage – comfortably fits up to eight cages.


Cottage 1

Lucky foster kitty Maybeline gets an accommodation that includes the beautiful view of sunny days through the door.

Of course, the success of The Cottage is not only possible by the effort of one, but of a family. Paul, Marion’s partner, helps with cat care – washing, sanitizing, cat socialization, and assessments – and Marc, Paul’s friend, aids in driving to and from the vet. Go team!

Marion & Paul

Speaking of team, there is no shortage of people willing to sing the praises of Marion. VOKRA Board member and key Surrey team member, Mona, tells us:

Marion fearlessly handles flying ferals and fragile newborn kittens. In her spare time she also picks up, hauls, handles and arranges the sale of donated dog food and cat litter with proceeds going directly to VOKRA. Being on the front line of rescue is not easy and can sometimes be heartbreaking, but Marion never gives in or gives up. Late at night, when I trap a kitty, it is not uncommon for Marion to meet me halfway to pickup the cat wearing only a robe (which really should have a superhero emblem on the back).

Marion in her superhero robe

Marion in her superhero robe

VOKRA Surrey Foster Coordinator, Christine also gushes about Marion:

Marion helps out in every area and, thanks to her, so many cats and kittens have found a new life and a new home. She can always be relied upon to assist with feral cats and kittens and will travel to the hinterlands of the Fraser Valley to save a cat or kitten from its current not-good life to make sure that better will be had at the Cottage. No space left at the Cottage? Marion’s house is open to the most feral of kittens and the workshops which she has given are a testament to how much she cares about the cats and kittens in her care. Seeing her give a bath to a little kitten and the look on his/ her face which says, “What just happened?” is priceless, just like Marion herself.

As with any other cat lover, Marion struggles to pick a favourite kitty as each is enjoyable in different and unique ways. It is no doubt that upholding The Cottage is hard work; Marion is often overwhelmed and stressed due to the number of kitties that need help, but she reminds herself of the difference to the kitties’ lives she has the power to make, with the poem below.

Starfish Story

Marion demonstrates a fierce and admirable will to better cats’ lives, and inspires all of us to continue what we do best at VOKRA. Thank you, Marion, for all that you contribute to this organization. Not one ounce of your effort goes unnoticed. Stay awesome! Kitties, VOKRA, and starfish alike, all say thank you for their bettered lives.

If you would like to get involved with our wonderful VOKRA team, please visit our website for more information, and apply to volunteer today!

Post written by Aurora C

Let’s Hear it for These Moms!

It was one year ago, Mother’s Day to be precise, that we started this blog with an ode to our mama cats. Since then we have shared rescue stories, introduced you to some Compassionate Kids, told you how much our volunteers rock, and more. Thank you for following along on VOKRA’s journey to rescue, heal and home cats in need and for your continued support!

So, here we are, back to where it all began, at Mother’s Day.

Being a mama is hard work! Today VOKRA would like to recognize the hard work of mothers of all kinds, four legged and otherwise. Happy Mother’s day to all of you amazing mothers! Because we have so many amazing mama kitties, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our favourite little families with you.

Cue the slideshow!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


As we’re sure your Mom has let you know on more than one occasion, raising kids is expensive, and raising kittens is no exception. Our kitties live in volunteer foster homes and VOKRA provides all the supplies. Quality cat food, litter, and expenses amount to approximately $50 a month. When you donate to VOKRA, you help fund an 100% volunteer run, no-kill shelter dedicated to the rescue of cats like the mamas pictured, their kittens and so many other cats in need.

In honour of Mother’s Day, please visit our website  to make a donation. Then go call your mom!

Donate Button