Meet Colleen & Suzie-Q

SuzieQ_ColleenColleen and Suzie-Q are literally the picture purrfect pair.

These sisters came to VOKRA when they were only 5-weeks-old from a house where they were living with dozens of other cats. The home owner did her best, but was no longer capable of taking care of them. When Colleen and Suzie-Q arrived they weren’t in the best of health so they went to live with experienced foster mom Valerie.

Initially the kittens were sneezing, as if they had a cold, and then Colleen’s right eye became runny. The kittens took a trip to the vet where they were both diagnosed with having a feline herpesvirus (FHV) infection. Initially this may sound scary, but FHV is actually quite common, especially with cats who come from crowded and stressful situations. The symptoms are easily treated with a course of antibiotics and sometimes, like in Colleen’s case, eye drops are needed for a week or two. With medication, good nutrition and tender loving care, most cats will make a successful recovery and lead a long, full life.

Which is exactly the case with Suzie-Q and Colleen! The sisters are now 13 weeks old, symptom free and no longer require medicine.



“They’re great, relaxed kittens and are ready to go to their forever home,” said foster mom Valerie.  “Recently they’ve been in a photo shoot, gone to a school presentation where they were loved by 40 kids and spent three hours on a film set where there were wrapped in their fluffy blankies and  happily held by just about everyone on set. They’re beautiful, funny, sweet-tempered and gentle.”

Suzie-Q and Colleen entertain each other and love playing in their tunnel, with a laser dot and with the ball in a circle toy. They like to cuddle, especially at bedtime and when they have full tummies. These two kittens are so special and want to find their perfect home where they can be loved and cared for.

They may have had a bit of a rough start in life, but today they’re doing well and continue to show their strong spirit and independence. Their FHV diagnosis shouldn’t stop them from finding a loving forever home and leading long, happy lives.

Colleen photoshoot 1


Although most cats with FHV will remain latently infected (meaning they’re life-long carriers of the virus), for a majority of cats being a carrier causes no problems and they’re not a risk to others. Occasionally some cats will intermittently have flare-ups, but this is more common following episodes of stress or when the cat’s immune system is suppressed. Since FHV is contagious and can be spread among cats, Suzie-Q and Colleen are looking for a home just for the two of them where they can get lots of cuddles.

If you’re interested in adopting Suzie-Q and Colleen please fill out an adoption application today at


Volunteer of the Month – April 2016

CharisWe’re kicking off National Volunteer Week by introducing you to our Volunteer of the Month for April – Charis Kalesnikoff!

Charis has been volunteering with VOKRA since 2012. However, well before she came across our organization she frequently volunteered at various animal shelters doing cat care. Several years ago, Charis started researching cat behavior, prompting her to spend extra time observing and interacting with cats who were having trouble adjusting. Conducting this research and being alongside cats made Charis long to work with a positive, supportive organization that’s able to address the unique needs of all cats and help to make them “adoptable”. Valerie, whom she was acquainted with at other shelters, encouraged Charis to volunteer with VOKRA.

As a VOKRA volunteer, Charis cares for the cats as best as she can. She drives, delivers, traps, helps find lost cats, and just about anything that she can do to help. Soon, she realized that although VOKRA wanted to save as many kittens and cats as they could, costs were an issue. Charis then became an active fundraising volunteer. She helps with various events such as Walk for the Kitties, attends information and adoption events around the Lower Mainland and works hard selling our calendars and gift cards.


Charis (r) and Valerie spread the word about VOKRA at a recent event at VanCity

The main fundraising activity Charis participates in is the gift card program. Here she tells us how it all started:

“One night at a VOKRA meeting, I asked Karen about a handful of gift cards sitting in a box that were for sale but not being bought,” explained Charis. “I told Karen I would try to sell the cards and give it a one year trial. The first month we made a profit of a pitiful $25 – hardly enough to contribute to vet bills, food, litter, etc. The rest is history. Our gift card program is alive and well, and we now have a hardworking Gift Card Team of five volunteers.”

All Charis’ effort and long hours are because she believe in the work VOKRA does and because she loves cats.


At first Webster wasn’t so sure about being indoors

“My favourite rescue story is of a cat that I called Webster,” said Charis. “His journey that year with me and several VOKRA volunteers is representative of how meaningful the work of rescuing cats is for all of us. This young, handsome and clever cat had survived a winter in a rundown, deserted cabin. It was due for demolition very soon, so he would have no shelter. He was beside a busy highway close to a coyote den and searching for food during the night. It took me a month to trap him and he was terrified, but not aggressive. Once I took him to VOKRA, we questioned whether he would ever be able to live inside a home and trust humans. Thankfully nobody would give up on him.”


Webster well adjusted and happy today

Charis goes on to say, “Webster was a challenge, but was eventually fostered by Becky (from Confident Cats) when no other foster volunteer could be found to work with him. He’s the signature cat on Becky’s workshop photo teaching us how to help shy and fearful cats. This lucky boy has been living in a wonderful forever home for over a year now. His owners send updates which tell us he is healthy, happy, spoiled and adored by his adopted family. I miss him but love that he is safe and loved.”

Charis is clearly dedicated to VOKRA and all the work we do. She’s an incredible asset to our organization and we’re lucky to have her do all the work she does. Thank you, Charis! You’ve been with us for more than four years and we look forward to many more… and more stories too!

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

Join Team VOKRA


We want to let you in on a life changing experience.

On June 26, Team VOKRA will be participating in the Scotiabank Half-Marathon and 5k run/walk and we want you to join us. It might not change your life, but your support will definitely help change the lives of the more than 1,800 cats and kittens we rescue each year.

Cats like Gingersnaps. After being bitten by a coyote, Gingersnaps developed a serious spinal infection and needed special medical care. As a volunteer-driven non-profit, VOKRA relies on events like the Scotiabank Charity Challenge to raise much needed funds to care for Gingersnaps and all the other kitties in our care. Last year we raised more than $10,000 and, with your help, we know we can beat that this year.

You don’t have to be an athlete to join. And few on our team have ever fundraised before either (you only need to commit to raising a minimum of $50). All you need is a love of cats. This love is what unites us as a team and carries us all over the finish line!

It’s super easy to get started. To join Team VOKRA simply click here to register. And, as a bonus, each team member is entitled to a special preferred rate. To get the preferred rate be sure to enter PIN code 16VKITTENS. (And when you register please specify you’d like “Team VOKRA” on your bib.)

Once you’re registered we’ll send you a link to your personal fundraising page so you can get started right away. And to help ensure you achieve your fundraising and fitness goals, Team VOKRA will provide you with a half-marathon training schedule and weekly motivational emails. We’ll also invite you to join the Team VOKRA Facebook group so you can connect with your fellow team members. So there’s no excuses! Sign up today and join Team VOKRA!

Be sure to reserve your Team VOKRA spot as soon as possible so you don’t miss out!

register now

Don’t want to run? You can still help when you sponsor Team VOKRA today!