Help a special kitty this holiday season

Meet Freckles. He arrived at VOKRA earlier this year after being surrendered at a veterinary clinic.

Freckles started out  life normally enough, but when he went for a checkup the vet noticed his back legs were wobbly. The vet suspected Freckles had cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), a neurological disorder that occurs when a kitten’s brain doesn’t develop properly in the womb.

As he got older, Freckles condition began to get worse and, when he started to dribble urine, he was surrendered.

Once Freckles arrived at VOKRA it didn’t take long for us to suspect CH isn’t the cause of his issues. As he has no feeling in his back legs our best guess is Freckles has a spinal injury.

So far nothing has shown up on an X-ray so the next step is to take Freckles for an expensive MRI with the hope something can be done to increase his mobility.

Veterinary care accounts for 50% of our annual budget. In 2018 alone, we spent more than $300,000 on medical care! As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we can’t afford these costs without the generous support of people like you. 

At VOKRA we believe kitties like Freckles deserve a chance at a happy, healthy life. Whether they’re kittens or adults, feral or tame, healthy or sick – we provide them all with the best care we can. But this does come at a cost.

Despite all his troubles, Freckles is a friendly guy who doesn’t let not being able to walk slow him down. He’s like a little rocket, pulling his legs behind him and only stopping when he meets someone who’ll give him love and treats!

Your support today will help pay for the cost of Freckles MRI, as well as the veterinary care for the more than 1,400 cats and kittens we rescue each year.

Will you help us today?

This holiday season you can give the gift of care and help kitties like Freckles.



P.S. – By becoming a monthly donor you can show your support for VOKRA all year long. Just $10 each month pays for one kitten to be vaccinated and $35 pays for one week of care.

Care for a kitten this holiday season

Elmer and Cobalt are the best of friends.

Both arrived at VOKRA as very young kittens, hungry and full of fleas. Elmer was found alone in the forest crying and Cobalt was taken from her mother too soon and then surrendered.

As they were both on their own, we decided to buddy them up in foster care and they took to each other right away. Now they’re off to the new forever home together just in time for the holidays.

So far this year, we’ve taken in more than 850 kittens, just like Elmer and Cobalt. As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we can’t continue to rescue this many kittens without your support

Kittens in our care have a chance at a happy, safe and healthy life. And by ensuring each kitten is spayed or neutered we’re breaking the cycle.

Your support today will help pay for the cost of rescuing more than 1,400 cats and kittens each year, including veterinary care, medication, food and litter.

Will you help us today?

This holiday season you can give the gift of care and help kittens like Elmer and Cobalt.



P.S. – By becoming a monthly donor you can show your support for VOKRA all year long. Just $10 each month pays for one kitten to be vaccinated and $15 pays for one flea treatment.

Volunteer of the Month – December 2019

One of the first times Charlie jumped on Frederick’s lap

The holiday season is upon us and it’s the purrfect time to celebrate our volunteers! This month we’re toasting to Frederick Lee, a medical team volunteer who always goes above and beyond to spend time with the kitties at our Operations Centre.

Frederick first became interested in joining VOKRA back in January 2016. As he didn’t have any prior experience with cats, he was asked to join the cat care team so he could learn the ropes. He started his first cat care shift on the last Sunday of February 2016 and has been with us ever since and is now a member of the medical team.

“After feeding the cats, I usually stay for a little while to spend more time with them,” said Frederick. “My favourite part of volunteering is definitely spending time with the cats and I usually stay for a little while after my shift. The first cat I had sit in my lap for a while was an orange tabby named Stewart. He passed away a few weeks after I met him, but I’m glad we were able to spend some time together.”

Of all the cats Frederick has looked after his favourite is Charlie, a cat with cancer who was also prone to lashing out suddenly.

“One Sunday, after my cat care shift, I went into Charlie’s kennel and sat in the chair,” remembers Frederick. “After sitting and watching Charlie for a while he jumped up onto the chair, then sat in my lap, so I left him to sit until he got off again. I continued to clean the front room where his kennel was first thing in the morning and, after some weeks, Elizabeth from the medical team showed me how to give Charlie his meds and how to prepare his food. After every shift, I would go sit in his kennel and he would come sit with me for one, two or more hours at a time. I spent some months being his personal heater through the winter. He eventually passed away, but he outlived his estimated life expectancy by a few months.”

Kobe, a VOKRA kitty Frederick adopted in April 2019

“Frederick’s great,” said Cassie Preston from our Operations Centre. “I’ve come into Ops at 8 a.m. on a Sunday and he’s already started! He takes his time and is patient with every cat, takes feedback well and is learning and improving his techniques each week. He’s great to work with and all the Sunday volunteers know him by name. We’re very lucky to have him.”

“Fredrick’s an amazing member of our medical team,” adds VOKRA co-founder Maria Soroski. “What makes Fredrick special is he not only comes to his two-hour shift but also spends another three to four hours after that to make sure the medical cats gets the love and attention they need.”

“Our medical team is crucial to giving meds to all the cats that are sick or need treatment,” continued Maria. “This is intensive work that requires special experience or knowledge. Sometimes we have cats with ringworm, which is a fungus on their skin, and these cats need daily baths. It’s hard work, especially if the kittens are feral. Fredrick gowns up in special clothing and wears latex gloves to protect him from the fungus and then after the baths are done he cleans and disinfects every single kennel and bedding. It’s quite the task every day.”

THANK YOU Frederick for your time and dedication to all the VOKRA kitties. In the words of Maria, “We love Fredrick. He’s such a lovely, nice guy!”

As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. Thank you to each and every one of you!

VOKRA is always in need of volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at


Hunter needs your help this Christmas

This handsome guy is Hunter and he has a problem. 

Hunter suffers from a chronic ear infection due to a polyp in his middle ear. Despite being treated with antibiotic drops, the polyp has grown to a very large size and now Hunter needs to have surgery to remove it.

The cost of Hunter’s surgery is estimated to be upwards of $1,500.

At VOKRA we believe kitties like Hunter deserve a chance at a happy, healthy life free from pain. Whether they’re seniors or kittens, feral or tame, healthy or sick – we provide them all with the best care we can. But this does come at a cost.

Veterinary care accounts for 50% of our annual budget. In 2018 alone, we spent more than $300,000 on medical care! As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we can’t afford these costs without the generous support of people like you. 

Without surgery Hunter will continue to live in discomfort. Your support today will ensure he gets the medical attention he needs.

Will you chip in to help Hunter today?



P.S. – By becoming a monthly donor you can show your support for VOKRA all year long. Just $10 each month pays for one kitten to be vaccinated and $25 pays for much needed medication.

Volunteer of the Month – November 2019

This November we’re celebrating vaccination team member Giselle Lightle as our Volunteer of the Month.

Here Giselle tell us in her own words how she became involved with VOKRA:

I’m a kitten vaccinator and have the scars to prove it….

Several years ago I took early retirement from a career in nursing and was wondering what to do with myself that was worthwhile and left me time to do all the other things I’d been looking forward to. A friend suggested training an assistance dog which seemed like a lovely idea. I spent more than two years training an absolutely wonderful lab but it took up every waking moment of my time. As much as I enjoyed the experience it was just way too much of a commitment. It did, however, confirm that I wanted to be involved with animals in some capacity. I’ve had and adored cats all of my life so started looking into cat rescues.

Giselle’s vaccination set-up

Around that time VOKRA was looking for volunteer vaccinators and with my background in nursing it seemed ideal, so I applied and was accepted.  Getting to visit and vaccinate fluffy little kittens seemed like the perfect job.

I was trained by Karen at Ops and turned loose. Technically the process is simple: I receive a request form from my vaccinations coordinator with information about the kittens needing vaccine, I coordinate a time with the foster for the visit, drive out to their home with all my supplies, vaccinate the kittens and finally report back to my coordinator that the kittens were done.

In the beginning, it turned out there were few little fluffy, purring bundles of joy and more hissy, spitty little demons with needle-sharp bits flying in every direction. I simply hadn’t anticipated that even teeny, tiny kittens can be ferocious (I’m looking at YOU, Skittles!) and they might not want to be vaccinated. I had to become good at doing kitty burritos and scarf wraps. Fosters and I had to learn how to best restrain little ones so they could be safely vaccinated without traumatizing the kittens or ourselves.  Eventually I learned to do it without any blood being shed.

Giselle’s rescue Bengal and her two hooligan children

Fortunately, the majority of the kittens I see are indeed the roly poly little ones who play, bounce around, climb into my bag, toss my supplies around and let me kiss their bellies. I’ve been doing this for 3 1/2 years now and occasionally even train new vaccinators.  This is the best job ever!

THANK YOU so much Giselle for ensuring the kittens in our care are vaccinated so they stay healthy and happy. We’re very lucky to have you as a part of our vaccination team!

As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. Thank you to each and every one of you!

VOKRA is always in need of volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at

The Great Grocery Stock Up is Back!

Right now when you stock up on grocery cards from Safeway, Save-on-Foods, Nesters Market and Stong’s VOKRA gets a higher percentage of the profits. 

These profits can really add up fast! Last year with the help of our fosters and volunteers we raised more than $3,600 which we used to buy things like cat food, litter and flea medicine.

We need to bulk buy the gift cards in order to get this higher return and that’s where you come in. We need you to order your Safeway*, Save-on-Foods**, Nesters Market and Stong’s cards by November 11.

  • Safeway cards are available in $25, $50, $100 or $250
  • Save-On-Foods and Nesters cards are available in $25, $50 or $100
  • Stong’s cards are available in $50, $100 or $200
  • Order now – but you don’t need to pay until November 11 (We’ll even take a post-dated cheque for November 15!)
  • The cards will be delivered by the end of November so they can be used for the holiday season.

This is a limited time offer so be sure to place your order by November 11 by emailing and let the gift card team know what you’d like. They’ll confirm your order and contact you to arrange payment and delivery (be sure to add to your safe sender list so the confirmation email doesn’t end up in your junk box!). Want to know more about our gift card program? Click here.

You can help us reach our goal of $40,000 in sales. That’s a profit of more than $3,000 for VOKRA kitties!

*Safeway gift cards can be used at Sobeys, Foodland, FreshCo, Thriftyfoods, Lawtons & Needs.

**Save-On-Foods cards can be used at PriceSmart, Overwaitea, Urban Fare and Cooper’s Foods.

2019 Board of Directors Election

VOKRA will be holding its 2019 Annual General Meeting on October 10 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Anyone can attend our AGM, however in order to vote you need to become a society member. Membership is only $10 and is a great way to show your support for VOKRA.

Thursday, October 10
7 to 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1573 – 18 Avenue E., Vancouver
(Online membership sales close at 3 p.m. on Oct. 10. Memberships will be for sale at the door.)

Members will receive a full agenda package, but briefly, the points to be covered will be:

  • Minutes of the Previous AGM, October 18, 2018
  • Presentation: 2018 – 2019 in Review
  • Treasurer’s Report: 2018 Financial Statements
  • Motion to set membership fee post October AGM
  • Motions to change the bylaws to align with the new Societies Act
  • Election of board members
  • Thank you to the outgoing board
  • New business
  • Meeting adjourned

We have asked people to indicate whether or not they will be attending the meeting so we can get a rough idea of the number of people who will show up. People intending to run for Board positions must be present for both the nomination and the acceptance of the nomination. Under BC Society Act bylaws, no proxies are permitted.

At the AGM we will be electing six new members of the board of directors to serve a two-year term until 2021 and one new member to serve a one-year term. Board membership is a leadership position within VOKRA that guides the organization to achieve its mission. Directors act in a position of trust for the community and are responsible for the effective governance of our organization.

Current board members seeking re-election:

Tasha Bukovnik

Tasha’s been volunteering with VOKRA since 2014 and has been on the board since 2016, currently in the role of president. She’s a public relations professional and leads VOKRA’s integrated communications and marketing team. She oversees all of VOKRA’s social media activities, manages the Mewsletter and blog, coordinates the development of marketing materials, helps promote events, handles media relations and generally supports other VOKRA teams with whatever they need. Tasha also leads the fundraising committee and her main focus is to manage VOKRA’s direct fundraising initiatives and appeals. When not volunteering, Tasha can usually be found at the yoga studio.

Nicky Forsman

Nicky is mostly known to those at VOKRA as the producer/director of the documentary series Kitty 911. Filming the series gave Nicky a unique perspective of all facets of VOKRA. It allowed her to meet volunteers from all departments and really delve into how the organization functions – an opportunity not many VOKRA volunteers are lucky enough to have. This insight inspired Nicky to join the board late last year and continues to inform the work that she does at VOKRA. When Nicky’s not working she’s usually at home snuggled up with her kitty Brooklynn, a former VOKRA mama, or educating her neighbours about how their cats should really be kept inside. A huge passion of hers, Nicky dreams of a world where seeing a cat outdoors alone raises the same red flag for the general public as it would to see a dog in the same situation.

Jeff Matthews

Jeff and his son Raine have been enthusiastic VOKRA volunteers for close to seven years. Originally starting out as drivers, they’ve taken on a range of roles, including cat care, failed foster, vaccinations and generally being available to help out when needed. Jeff was elected to the board in 2016 and spearheads many of VORKA’s grant writing efforts. He’s also the proud companion to two VOKRA kitties. Jeff has had a life-long love of animals, dedicating much of his spare time to volunteer activism for the environment and animal rights, including a stint as President of Sea Shepherd Canada. In his professional life, Jeff holds a PhD in Physics from UBC, working as a biomedical research consultant and advisor.

Maria Soroski

Maria co-founded VOKRA with Karen Duncan in 1999, after years of volunteering with cats and kittens. While volunteering, Maria saw a desperate need to develop a holistic approach to cat and kitten care, as well as a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program in order to keep the feral and homeless cat population down. After VOKRA’s inception, Maria’s dream started coming true. Local shelters were seeing a dramatic drop in feral cat and kitten numbers in Vancouver – something Maria is proud to have helped with. She paved the way with VOKRA’s founding values and continues to ensure that as a no-kill organization, the TNR program is one of the best in BC. With a passion for giving homeless and feral cats a happy and healthy life, Maria always ensures VOKRA uses organic and nutritious food for all cats. With VOKRA keeping her busy, the former prairie gal loves to reward herself with time spent at home relaxing with her cats.

New candidates seeking election:

Brian Blamey, BA, CGA CPA

Brian brings his athletic endurance, zeal and energy to public practice at Galloway Botteselle & Company where he has been a partner since 1996. Brian deals with the everyday issues small to medium‐sized businesses face regarding taxes, business expansions or reorganizations, acquisitions, valuations, and personal financial planning. He has dealt with the requirements of, and the audit for, a number of not for profit organizations. Brian is also an effective teacher and has made numerous presentations on the latest changes in tax laws and how to reduce taxes.

Brian is past Chair of the Porter Hétu International’s National Management Committee, a group of independent accounting firms across Canada and internationally, and is currently the treasurer for the Achilles International Track and Field Society.

Brian and his wife Rose are supporters of VOKRA and have fostered a number of cats, although they did foster fail with their first foster. Rose has been a volunteer with VOKRA for the past three years and encouraged Brian to become a board member. Earlier this year, Brian was appointed by the VOKRA board to fill the vacant role of treasurer.

Shelley Dowson

Shelley has volunteered for the past 11 years, since discovering VOKRA and adopting her two kitties Chookah and Ubu. She has volunteered for VOKRA in many different capacities: as a foster coordinator, adoption interviewer, adoption contracts, surrenders, event coordinator, adoption event coordinator and cat care. More recently, Shelley was instrumental in getting our Operations Centre up and running and she continues to coordinate building logistics.

During the day, Shelley works in the “not so real world“ of film and television, spending the past 25 years as a paint coordinator. As a result, she has been able to access materials that are to be recycled or has been in the right place at the right time to receive that perfect item the Operations Centre needs. She can usually be found at Ops whenever she is not working, busily moving or organizing things to run more smoothly for the volunteers.

Shelley is a past board member and is looking forward to returning to the board.

Vacancy: Director at Large

VOKRA is actively recruiting for one new member to join the board as a director at large. We are especially looking to fill the vacancy with someone with a strong background in human resources.

A director is fully informed on organizational matters and participates in the board’s deliberations and decisions in matters of policy, finance, programs, personnel and advocacy. They also review the bylaws and policy manual and recommend bylaw changes to the membership; participate in the development of VOKRA’s organizational plan and annual review; and assist in developing and maintaining positive relations among the board, committees, operations management team, volunteers and community to enhance VOKRA’s mission. Directors at large are required to attend monthly VOKRA board meetings, including preparation time to review materials.

Here’s what it takes to be a board member:

  • Membership in the VOKRA society. You must be a member to be a board member
  • Commitment to the work of the organization
  • Knowledge and skills in one or more areas of board governance: personnel, policy, finance, programs, fundraising and advocacy
  • Willingness to serve on committees and attend committee meetings
  • Attendance at monthly board meetings + preparation time to review materials
  • Attendance at meetings of assigned committees
  • Attendance at Annual General Meetings
  • Support of special events
  • Support of and participation in fundraising events

If you’ve got what it takes and want to learn more email