Help special needs cats like Gabby

Gabby’s a girl with a wobble. The official term for her condition is Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia, or CH for short, and it’s a neurological condition that results in walking and balance problems. This condition doesn’t get worse, it’s just something she was born with, and despite being unable to walk normally she’s healthy and can climb any cat tree out there!

To help strengthen Gabby’s back legs, her foster mom Becky does physiotherapy with her daily and has seen a vast improvement in her mobility. Due to her intensive regime, Gabby’s now able to support herself and walk a few steps without being aided. Yah Gabby!

We estimate it will cost $2,000 to provide Gabby with the best possible chance at a normal life. This will pay for a specialized diet, a harness to help her get around, acupuncture treatments and all her medical expenses. Special needs cats like Gabby have increased medical costs and, as a volunteer-driven non-profit, it’s a real challenge to find extra funds.

Will you help Gabby walk by donating today?

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Medical costs account for approximately 50% of VOKRA’s budget. All extra funds raised will go directly towards helping other special needs cats like Gabby.

Gabby and her mom Crystal are available for adoption together. You can see Gabby’s bio here and Crystal’s bio here.

Volunteer of the Month – January 2016


Claudia with former foster Shandy

We wish everyone a very Happy New Year and look forward to another 12 months of bringing happiness to all our little furry friends! Of course that happiness doesn’t come about without the help of our many volunteers. Kicking off the new year, we’d like to give an appreciative shout out to our January Volunteer of the Month Claudia O’Hearn!

Growing up, Claudia was taught to love nature but was never allowed any pets other than spiders and frogs. As she became and adult having a pet didn’t find into her lifestyle until she moved to Vancouver with her husband Tim. An encounter with a neighbourhood cat helped her decide the time was right so she told Tim they were getting a cat – it was finally time to get a kitten. They adopted a four-month old tabby that was “free to a good home” and so Claudia’s love of cats began.

After moving to Burnaby, one spring evening a white cat peeked into their dining room window. Claudia was unsure of what to do so she posted on Facebook and was lead to Janet Cox and VOKRA. Janet taught Claudia how to trap and together they were able to capture the white cat which they named Snowy. Snowy turned out to be very feral so, after getting him fixed, Claudia let him outside and tried to feed him until he hopefully moved on. Thereafter, more and more strays began showing up at their house and Claudia was able to trap a few. And, of course, how could you trap all these kitties without falling in love? White Paws, one of the cats Claudia trapped, was just too peculiar she couldn’t give him up so she became what we call a “foster fail”!

“Claudia was extremely eager and motivated to learn how to trap and easily learned the dynamics of trapping,” said Janet Cox. “It was apparent she was a huge animal lover. I’m very impressed with the fact she ordered an insulated cat enclosure for Snowy to use after he was trapped. A few months later I found out Claudia had decided to volunteer with VOKRA. She helps VOKRA in any way she can and has helped trap other cats, as well as foster them. She also helps out by picking up and dropping off supplies for other fosters that aren’t able to pick up from our Operation Centre.”

Not long after Claudia began trapping, she and Tim volunteered to foster a mom and her two kittens over the summer holidays. They’ve been fostering on and off ever since. Although Claudia and Tim find the kittens insanely cute, it’s the older cats that are the ones that capture their hearts the most. According to Claudia, they’re a lot easier than kittens and it’s extremely rewarding to see a cat that behaved feral when stressed out become a cuddly purr monster once it’s settled in foster care.

“Over the past couple of years my fellow volunteers have become friends and now I consider VOKRA as family to us,” said Claudia. “One of the best things is all the support we get when it’s needed. Tim and I joke that we have Maria Soroski (VOKRA co-founder) on speed dial! But I can’t tell you how many times she’s helped us with advice and by being there for our foster cats, whether it’s at our house, at the Operations Centre or at the vet.”


Claudia’s husband Tim with Muffin

Claudia also credits Tim with being a big part of her volunteer work. Not only does he support her volunteering, he also does the occasional driving and helps with fostering on a daily basis. He loves all their foster cats but it seems his heart is the fondest when it comes to their senior fosters like Shandy, Shyane and Muffin. Shandy’s story is one of Claudia’s favourites. He was critically ill a year ago and they thought they might have to give up on him. But today he’s thriving and Claudia will always treasure the experience they had caring for him together with Maria and the vet.

Claudia’s been trapping, fostering, driving and doing regular litter runs for the past few years. She loves that she’s able to be involved in various ways to make the lives of kittens and cats better. And she always has a laugh when friends and family come to visit – it never takes too long before someone asks “How many cats do you have now?!”

VOKRA would like to give the biggest thanks to Claudia and Tim for being amazing fosters to our kittens and cats. VOKRA would not be the same without you – thank you and may this year bring more fluffy cats and joy!

post written by Aurora C.

If you’re interested in volunteering visit our website at


I’m Thankful for Snuggles

catfe logoThis post was written by Michelle Furbacher and originally appeared on the Catfe blog on October 11, 2015. It’s reprinted here with her permission.


snugglesI would like to express gratitude to VOKRA for their foster program which has blessed me with such a wonderful companion for the past two months, and in particular this holiday, when I needed a friend. This weekend, with my family far away, I’ve got one temporary family member to celebrate the holiday with and keep me company — my foster cat, Snuggles.

When I took on the fostering of this little dude, I could not have predicted the impact it would have on me, and on Catfe as well. In September, Catfe joined forces with Stretch Yoga to host Cats on your Mats, a yoga class and fundraiser for VOKRA in a studio filled with cats! The event was a success, and helped raise money and awareness for orphaned kittens. It was also the perfect opportunity to learn first hand what it’s like to herd a bunch of cats together in one room and see what hijinks ensue. I brought Snuggles along for the adventure.

He’s a curious, friendly cat who loves to explore and play, and the event provided lots of stimulation for him… but when I brought Snuggles home at the end of the day, his purr motor kicked into overdrive, and I was touched by how much he loved being in his own home. Until then we had been planning for Catfe to be home to a stable colony of permanent feline residents — but Snuggles’s purring became the soundtrack to my epiphany that every cat deserves to find a loving home where they can purr to their heart’s content, snuggled up with their trusted human.

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VOKRA is different from other cat rescues in the Lower Mainland: their foster system is unique, as they do not house their cats in cages until they are adopted, but rather in home settings. In foster care, VOKRA cats get to live in a safe, comfortable environment while they wait for forever homes. I came to the realization that Catfe can be more of a force for good by providing a spacious, temporary home in a stimulating environment for other less fortunate cats, who are currently housed in cages or small living spaces at other shelters.

So thanks to Snuggles, Catfe has changed its course: our business will help cats who are most in need find permanent homes. All cats at Catfe will be available for adoption, with a focus on getting cats out of shelter cages, rather than taking them out of foster homes.

Our cats will come from the BC SPCA, and Catfe will act as a centre for support and awareness for animal rescues and charities all over British Columbia. Each month we will donate a percentage of our profits to a different charity, and help shine a spotlight on the important work that they do. VOKRA will be the first of these charities, and I look forward to continuing our relationship together, promoting their TNR program, cat and kitten adoptions, and of course their foster program. If you have a little extra room in your home and your heart, think about fostering a cat — it just may change your life!

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