Top 10 Best Things About Black Cats

Black cats are some of the best cats around – ask anyone who is lucky enough to have one in their lives.  Sadly though, black cats are usually the last to be adopted, despite the fact they’re just as loving and wonderful as a cat of any other color.  A quarter of the cats we currently have for adoption are black.  Most of them are adults, further lowering their chances of adoption.

In honor of Black Cat Day, here are the Top 10 Best Things About Black Cats featuring some of our very own kitties currently up for adoption:

10. When you befriend a black cat, you have a friend for life. They’re some of the most loyal cats around!

Shay and Taya

Shay & Taya, 1.5 year old sisters

9. They know how to cuddle and they’re experts at it.

Katerina and Wookey

Katerina & her brother Wookey, 1.5 years old

8. What they lack in fancy colors they make up for in purrsonality- no two are alike!

Sir Pounce

Sir Pounce, 4 months old

7. They have gorgeous eyes that, thanks to their beautiful black coats, truly stand out.


Ziggy, 6 years old

6. They’re like miniature black panthers, just small enough to fit in your home.


Fishsticks, 2.5 years old

5. They have very distinct meows- you’ll know who’s calling for dinner.

Lucy Lui, 9 months, and her best friend Bear, 7 years old

4. They purr so much and so loudly that you wonder how they never run out of purrs.


Jahan, 10 weeks old

3. They usually have a trick or two up their sleeve, like headbutts or hi-fives or turning shoes into beds.


Gustaf, 11 weeks old

2. They’re good luck – bring a black cat into your life and it will only get better. And better.


Bartholomew, 6 years old

1. They have sooo much love to give. They’ve often waited so long to be adopted that when they finally are, they will truly be all yours.


Daisy, 1.5 years old, has cerebellar hypoplasia. This doesn’t affect her health, but makes her a little wobbly when she walks.

In loving memory of Karona, who touched the hearts of many VOKRA volunteers.



The Great Grocery Stock Up

The Safeway and Save-on-Foods blitz deadline has been extended!

grocery catDid you know when you purchase a gift card through us the retailer donates to VOKRA and you still receive full value for your card?

Right now when you stock up on grocery cards from Safeway and Save-on-Foods we get 8% of the profits.

We need to bulk buy the gift cards in order to get this special 8% return. We’re short of our targets – but you can help by ordering your Safeway and Save-On-Foods gift cards by Friday, October 23.

  • Cards are available in $25, $50 and $100 for both grocery outlets and you can also get Safeway cards for $250.
  • Order now and you don’t need to pay until October 31 (we’ll even take a post-dated cheque for November 2!)
  • The cards will be delivered in early November.

Last year we raised $2,500 which helped buy things like cat food, litter and flea medicine.

To place your order by October 23 email and let the Gift Cards Gals know what you’d like. They’ll confirm your order and contact you to arrange payment and delivery.


Zoë Knows: Cats & Halloween

Zoë is 12 years old and loves cats. She loves learning about cats and how best to take care of them and has agreed to share her knowledge with us as she learns. When she’s not hanging out with her two cats Libra (age 4) and Spooky (age 14), Zoë likes to read, draw, cook and swim at the beach.


This is Zoë’s cat Spooky

Halloween is an amazing time of the year and one of my favourite holidays! But, as a cat owner, I have to remember this can also be a dangerous holiday for my cats. That’s why I decided to write this article to help you keep your cats safe on Halloween.

1. Costumes? Really? For a cat? That may not be a good idea. Some people like to dress up their pets on Halloween, but usually your cat won’t like it. It can make them uncomfortable, scared and uneasy so I suggest skipping costumes.

2. If you’re one of those people who loves going all out on your Halloween costumes that’s awesome, but may also be a bit dangerous. Things like face paint, fake blood or small plastic accessories that go with your costume can be very harmful to your cat if they eat them. Make sure to keep all your costume supplies safe in a drawer away from your cat. Same goes for decorations.

3. On Halloween night there will be trick or treaters coming to your door so remember to make sure your cat is safe and secure. I suggest putting your cat in a different room, but one that she feels comfortable with. For instance, don’t lock your cat inside a small room she doesn’t usually go in to. Put her inside a large room she likes to sleep in and make it really cozy with lots of blankets, cat beds, toys, food, water and maybe even a litter box. You should go check on her once in a while to make sure she’s happy.

4. Fireworks. You probably know how noisy they are and you also know they can really scare cats. Please don’t leave your windows open anywhere in the house, especially in the room your cat is in. You might also want to close the blinds. Think of ways to keep your cat feeling safe inside the room. You could put cardboard boxes in the room and put a blanket inside and give your cat places to hide.

5. And finally, always remember to keep your cat indoors. VOKRA only adopts to indoor homes because it gives cats the best opportunity to live long and healthy lives. You’ll also have fewer worrisome nights.

By following these simple tips there’s no reason why you and your cats can’t enjoy and safe and fun Halloween!


The Tale of the Parking Lot Persians


Hi. My name is Wendell and this is my story.

In June of 2014, my sister, Prudence, and I were left in a carrier in the parking lot of a medical building in South Surrey. We are Persians who were used for breeding purposes and had never been socialized with humans. When we arrived at the VOKRA intake center we were very frightened –  especially little Pru – who would huddle behind me for safety.


I had no choice but to protect her, so I would hiss and growl, and put on my most menacing face at anyone who came near our cage. I also couldn’t see very well as I had entropian eyes. My eyelids turned in and the lashes and fur would rub against my eyeball and constantly ooze mucus that would glue my lids shut.


VOKRA fed us, bathed us, groomed us, has us fixed, tattooed us and corrected my entropian eyes with surgery – but we still did not trust any of them.  I did my very best to scare all of the volunteers during the two months we spent at the intake center. Then we went to our first foster home, where we spent most of the time hiding under the furniture. At the second foster home, we spent less time under the furniture, but were still not friendly or trusting and were considered unadoptable.


During those 8 months in foster care a red haired lady would show up every day to put drops in my eyes. She said that I was family. She believed that I was the son of a famous VOKRA cat whose picture is on the wall of the intake center. His VOKRA name was Willie Nelson and he was also abandoned by a breeder. This lady had adopted him. That is his picture above.


Then one day the red haired lady came and took us to a new foster house. We lived in a room with no furniture. There was a giant cat tree in front of a big window, cushions on the floor, toys and stuffed animals. The red haired lady was there all the time and she would feed me and pet me –  besides putting the drops in my eyes. And there was also a very tall man who was great at playing with toys . He even taught my sister how to play and she allowed him to pet her.


After a month we were slowly introduced to the rest of the house. We learned that it is nicer to nap on furniture than to hide underneath it.. We learned that all humans do not mean you harm when they come near you and touch you. I learned that I do not need to hiss and growl. Prudence learned that she does not need to be protected.

We have been living in the home of the red haired lady and the tall man for six months now. Almost one year to the day that we were rescued, they adopted us.


We have awesome siblings too! Prudence is particularly fond of her handsome brother, Hamish. And I have a soft spot for my new sister, Olive – also a VOKRA rescue with an amazing story of her own!


Thank you VOKRA for giving us a second chance at a happy life. If you would like to know more about our progress, follow @missolivepolive and us, the Persian Posse, on Instagram.  As Olive would say, LOVE SLURPS!!!!

As a non-profit association VOKRA relies on the support of people like you. If you’d like to help them rescue more cats like me and Prudence please consider donating today.

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TNR Works!

Mr pochadie trap

It’s hard to keep track of all the acronyms that exist these days, but in the cat rescue world TNR is a big one. TNR stands for Trap-Neuter-Return and describes the process of trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and then returning them to the location they came from. According to VOKRA co-founder Maria Soroski, it’s the most effective and humane way to help control the feral cat population.

When VOKRA formed back in 2000, Maria had no idea what a feral cat was, which is hard to believe for someone who is such a strong advocate for Vancouver street cats. She, along with fellow co-founder Karen Duncan, began by bottle feeding kittens that had been brought into the SPCA before branching off on their own to create VOKRA.


Maria with a bottle baby.

“I had no idea where the kittens were coming from,” says Maria, who wondered what happened to the kittens’ moms. “I assumed they were from owned cats or that they’d been orphaned.” However, as kittens kept arriving from the same addresses, Maria and Karen started to do a little sleuthing. They soon discovered a whole world of feral cats. The mother cats hadn’t been brought in because they were wild – no one could touch them, let alone pick them up and transport them into care.

Maria discovered entire colonies, some with upwards of 50 cats. They were all the moms, dads, aunts, uncles and cousins of all the bottle-fed kittens that had come in. Thanks to the guidance of local rescuers and the resources of Alley Cat Allies, Maria quickly learned to trap and hasn’t looked back since.

VOKRA’s volunteer trappers, spearheaded by Maria, spent eight years trapping seven days a week in Vancouver and Burnaby. It’s estimated there were more than 8000 – 9000 free roaming cats in Vancouver before VOKRA came along. The number of feral cats is now down to less than 300 with the remaining colonies under control. Some of the colonies now consist solely of senior citizen cats, who pass on humanely after living a life on their own terms.


It’s estimated there were more than 8000 – 9000 free roaming cats in Vancouver before VOKRA came along, but now that number is down to less than 300 with the remaining colonies under control.

For cats that we can’t return to their original site, we try and find them another home – specifically a barn or hobby farm. Janet, who coordinates the barn cat placement program, says “It’s an alternative option for feral cats that are unable to be returned to their original location for various reasons.” The barns are located throughout the Lower Mainland, from Abbotsford to Squamish, and Janet often drives the cats to their new homes herself. Potential placements are interviewed in advance and the cats are guaranteed fresh food and water daily, along with a safe shelter area. In their new “jobs” as rodent control technicians they have a better life than they would out on the streets.

If the cats are young enough or semi-tame, then we’ll try to socialize them so we can adopt them to forever homes.  “We’re not scared of hissy babies,” says Maria. Armed with gloves, towels, treats, and a whole lot of patient love, VOKRA volunteers socialize kittens in their homes.  VOKRA runs workshops and provides coaching to these special families.  Fosters tell us this is an immensely rewarding part of being with VOKRA.  To watch a kitten or adult cat transform from an untrusting and extremely frightened creature to one that seeks out your affection with headbutts to your hand, and who purrs at the very sound of your voice, is a truly amazing experience.

tuffy goodbye

We respond to as many calls we can and trap feral cats, tame moms protecting their kittens and tame adults that are too afraid to trust humans just yet. Sometimes this involves all-night efforts and sometimes it involves walking into an abandoned house in protective gear so as not to be eaten alive by the swarms of fleas. Whatever it takes – the fate of all cats is important to us and those who were never given the chance to live a safe, indoor life deserve the best that we can give them.

Join us in celebrating National Feral Cat Day October 16.

As a non-profit association we rely on the contributions of people like you. If you’d like to support our TNR program click here.

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Post written by Ellen R.

Update: Andy still loves Alice!

IMG_1848You may remember back in August 2014, Alice and her brother Andy were brought to VOKRA with their feral mother. These tiny kittens were only about seven weeks old and were very sick. They had severe conjunctivitis and pneumonia but, over time, were nursed back to health by VOKRA’s volunteer Cat Care team. You can read their full story here.

Fast forward and Alice and her loving brother Andy are now scampy one-year-olds! Here Alice and Andy’s former foster mom Dawn catches us up on what these two have been up to.

Last time we checked in with Alice we were struggling to get some answers about her upper respiratory health concerns. Happily it turned out all she needed was to grow up a bit. As she has grown bigger so too have her nasal passages which has given her the room she needs to be able to breath a little more clearly.

The transition seemed to happen over the course of a few months where Alice was becoming more able to clear her nasal passages on her own. When I say on her own, I mean she would still sneeze huge snot-balls onto whatever happens to be in front of her and she still needs her face washed with a warm cloth. But as gross as snot-balls sound, it is a whole lot better than her getting so congested she would need veterinary intervention. So, yay!

Alice and Andy at the windowWe watched her for a few more months and realized that yes, she had grown out of the worst of it. We wanted to make sure the stress of moving wouldn’t cause her any episodes so we put her and Andy in another foster’s care for a month while we were away on holiday. When that went really well and Alice remained healthy we knew it was time to put the two of them up for adoption; a bittersweet moment for us as they had been in our care for 11 months.

Happily Alice and Andy were adopted in August. I always said they would get snapped up by the first people who came to meet them and that’s exactly what happened. When Bonnie and Sebastian came by to meet Alice and Andy they had an appointment to meet two other kittens but I knew they were going to adopt Alice and Andy because as Sebastian was leaving he whispered to Bonnie, “I’m already in love with them.”

Alice will continue to need daily warm cloth face washes and nose wipes but we, and her vets, have every confidence she will lead a long and happy life in her new forever home with her brother Andy close by her side.



Miller’s Happy Tail Ending

Miller - At HomeMiller had a rough start in life and was a frightened kitty when he came to his VOKRA foster family. After a few weeks, Miller was able to shed his traumatic past experiences and become the sweet kitty he was meant to be, often looking for attention and cuddles. Meeting new people was sometimes a challenge for Miller, but it wouldn’t take too long to earn his trust.

One day, a friend of his foster family dropped by and, after spending the day with Miller, knew he would be the perfect addition for his family. “Miller apparently spent the entire day following my husband and purring,” recalls adopter Jenny. “So he came home and said that we [our son and I] needed to meet him because he was just perfect and a couple days later we contacted the foster family. We all went and met Miller and decided to adopt him that day.”

Miller is now happily enjoying his cozy new home life. He settled right in with his new forever family and canine sibling. Miller’s chatty demeanour makes him all the more loveable. “When he’s happy he makes a funny noise that I’ve never heard a cat made before; it is so cute,” said Jenny. “He also likes to announce himself when coming to bed. He meows and purrs super loud just to let us know he’s there. Then he finds a spot and curls up.”

With Miller at home, Jenny and her family couldn’t imagine life without him. “He has made our days and nights happier,” she said. “It’s fun to see him walk like he owns the house. He purrs a lot and loves to be pet. He follows my husband everywhere he goes. He says Miller adopted him and not the other way around. He found us!”

Would you like to share your Happy Tail? Email us with the subject line “Happy Tails” at

Miller - Bedtime

Post written by Kim C.