All Cats Deserve Love

At VOKRA we believe all cats deserve to have a safe and happy life, regardless of their challenges. We often see and hear about all the cute and cuddly kitties, but never about those who show a little less affection or need a helping hand. Now, the spotlight is on some of VOKRA’s long-term care cats – Charlie, Jorje, Charis and Ashlay.

Charlie

Charlie’s an 11-year old tabby who is in palliative care at our Operations Centre. He was adopted in 2007 and, while a loving cat to his family, Charlie wasn’t very tolerant of visitors and other animals so he was surrendered to VOKRA in 2016. When he arrived at our Operations Centre, our volunteers found it hard to feed him and clean his kennel as he would often attack. He was then moved to a larger room to allow space for us to slowly work with him and gain his trust.

Charlie was on a strict diet as any change in food would cause vomiting. He was sent to the vet for bloodwork and x-rays, but nothing was found that would be the cause of his trouble. Finally, an ultrasound revealed a two to three inch tumour between his liver and pancreas; the thickened intestinal wall indicated lymphoma. Charlie’s now on daily pain medication and is fed high quality wet food four times a day with supplements to help sooth his tummy. While he still has some anxiety, he doesn’t attack as often, most likely because his pain is managed. He has a room at the front of our Operations Centre where he can see outdoors and lay on his heated blanket. Due to unpredictable behaviour and essential daily care, Charlie will live out the rest of his days at our Operations  Centre, monitored by our medical team and with the company of our experienced volunteers.

Jorge

Jorje is a 12-year old cat who showed up crying in the rain back in September 2016. He had hair loss, rotten teeth, severe dermatitis and was starving. VOKRA took him to the vet, where they found he has moderate kidney failure, at first requiring fluids twice a week followed now by medication to manage.

While in foster care, Jorje was found to have ringworm, a persistent skin fungus, and was brought back to our Operations Centre for treatment. There, he caught a bad cold and at one point he had painful ulcers on the corneas of both eyes. While nursing him back to health, our volunteers found Jorje also has food allergies which we manage by a raw diet of either bison or beef. Likely because of his allergies, Jorje also frequently suffers from ear infections.

Jorje stayed at the Operations Centre until October 2017 as his ringworm was particularly difficult to treat. No oral medication was allowed due to his kidney issues, leaving the ringworm to be treated through bathing with a special anti-fungal shampoo. His ringworm kept moving around his body, so we resorted to shaving him to help manage and it seemed to work. Jorje is currently doing well at his foster home and may one day be adopted into a caring and loving home.

Charis

Charis was surrendered to VOKRA in November 2016 as she became nervous when the family baby began to move around the house. The family also couldn’t afford to spay her and she was already two years old.  She doesn’t like other cats and was very aggressive on intake; it tooks months for her to settle down at our Operations Centre.

Charis has had five different fosters and the last two returned her for suddenly lashing out. Since October, Charis has also had major hairball issues, along with diarrhea and constipation. She hasn’t been eating well and seems depressed, but is now on a natural anti-anxiety supplement. After coming back to our Operations Centre, she’s calmed down in her kennel as she seems to acknowledge it as her home after having spent so much time there. Charis needs a foster home with no other pets or small children, along with a small space to call her own while she calms down and settles into. She needs a patient person who will learn her fears and work with her to overcome them, before the possibility of being adopted.

Ashlay

Ashlay is a 2-year old cat who came to VOKRA as a stray with three young kittens in December 2016. She was fostered with her kittens for three weeks until she was returned to the Operations Centre for behaviour issues; Ashlay would bite when the foster tried to pet her or clean her litter box. Her second foster worked with her daily to encourage positive interactions and discourage biting. It seems she bites when she isn’t receiving what she wants, whether it be attention, food or playtime. Due to her difficult nature, she’s been waiting for the right foster home since July. She may do well with a buddy cat to keep her busy, or she needs somebody who can establish a routine with her that includes plenty of exercise and playtime.

While our long-term care cats require close monitoring and daily training, we’re confident they have a loving future ahead of them, if not with a foster or forever family, with the devotion of all our volunteers. At VOKRA, kitties will always have a home until their last days. 

If you think you may be the right person to either foster or adopt one of these special cases, please visit our website at www.vokra.ca or contact us at info@vokra.ca

Oliver’s Happy Tail Ending

Oliver’s an adorable furball who met his loving family on a snowy day in November 2016. With a fabulous purrsonality paired with charm, Oliver’s fearless, adventurous, clever and sociable.

Moving to Canada from Brazil, Fernanda quickly found herself volunteering with VOKRA to help what she loves most in life – kitties! She had rescued her cat, Tom, from the streets of Brazil and he also came with her to Canada on a 21 hour of flight. However, it wasn’t easy for Tom to settle into his new home. He behaved strangely and cried nonstop. He would stare at two neighbourhood cats all day, wanting to get their attention. It was clear he was asking for a little brother so Fernanda and her husband then adopted Sam, and the two became the best of friends.

As Fernanda got ready to celebrate her first birthday in Canada, her husband got in touch with VOKRA and wanted to give her a new “son” as a birthday present. Visiting the foster home, they met Oliver who was the biggest of the litter. For a kitten of 3-4 months, he was huge! Fernanda fell in love with Oliver instantly, knowing she had to bring him home and grow her family of kitties from two to three. While slightly doubtful about introducing a third cat to the house, Fernanda’s husband encouraged her to adopt Oliver. It was a good idea, as in two days he won his brothers’ love and affection.

As a cat lover, having three beautiful, healthy, smart and friendly cats is all Fernanda could ask for. Of the three, Oliver’s what Fernanda calls a “tick,” as he’s always with her and her husband and loves to sleep and cuddle with them. He’s always found in the laps of all their visitors too. Fernanda is over the moon and happy to share her love of her furballs with her husband.

“Today, my husband, who didn’t want any cats, now calls himself the daddy of three and it’s hilarious to hear him call Tom, Sam and Oliver to sleep in bed every night,” said Fernanda. “We’ve travelled a bit and he says he doesn’t want to travel anymore as he can’t stay away from his kitties!”

Adopting Oliver was the best thing we did in life,” she adds. “He makes my days much happier along with his brothers and we’re not sure if the family is complete. There may be a fourth one day!”

We are so happy to hear how much joy Oliver brings to Fernanda’s family! Thank you to Fernanda for choosing VOKRA and giving Oliver a furever home and a lifetime of love.

Would you like to share your Happy Tail? Email us at communications@vokra.ca.

Clean, clean, clean!

Post written by Aurora C.

We’re Looking For Volunteers!

We’re looking for volunteers to join our wonderful reception team!

Our reception team works at our Operations Centre in East Vancouver and is the first point of contact for our visitors.

We’re looking for volunteers that want to learn more about VOKRA and help our organization grow. Joining our reception team will enable you to learn about our cats by entering their information into our system, as well as by cuddling them! In addition to supplying guests with general information, the reception team helps with filing, volunteer management, inventory management and selling VOKRA merchandise.

Our reception team ensures the Operations Centre runs smoothly and plays a central role from when kitties enter our system to when they’re adopted, and everything in between.

Reception team volunteers must commit to a minimum of 1 shift a week (2-4 hours each).

If you’re interested in joining our reception team, please click here.

We’re Walking for Finn: Because She Can’t

Finn when she first arrived

Finn was trapped along with her mom Pumpkin and brother Henry at a trailer park in Langley. She arrived at VOKRA covered in fleas and with an infection that made her eyes all gooby. It was also immediately evident something was wrong with her back legs. We suspected she had swimmer syndrome, a developmental abnormality making her unable to stand.

Always a little trooper, Finn wouldn’t let her disability get in her way and would wiggle herself around our Operations Centre looking for cuddles, which, or course, she’d always get!

After several different vet visits, Finn was diagnosed with a spinal issue and it was discovered her right hind leg is significantly shorter than her left. To top it off, because she’s semi-incontinent she’s had to battle several urinary tract infections (UTIs), which isn’t uncommon for kitties with her condition. So today Finn lives with foster mom Corin and gets regular physiotherapy to help her get stronger so she can stand in her litter box and hopefully avoid future UTIs.

Finn gets regular hydrotherapy in the bathtub where she can now stand and take some steps. Corin also does both seated and standing passive manipulation with her to help train her muscles and Finn has some supports she uses to help her get around.

“Finn’s very clever and has figured our how to do pretty much everything without walking like other kitties,” said foster mom Corin. “She’s incredibly intelligent and only needs to see the other kitties in our home do something once and she mimics it.”

Along with her increased strength Finn’s litter box habits are improving so she’s currently UTI-free. If she can remain this way, she’ll head back to the vet to be spayed and will have additionally imaging done to better diagnose her issues. Then she’ll be able to start professional physiotherapy and even perhaps acupuncture.

The reality is only 25% of kittens who don’t receive human care survive. It’s a certainty Finn would not be alive today without help. Unlike many other animal rescue groups, VOKRA is a no-kill organization. This means we will always provide kittens like Finn with a chance at a happy life, no matter the cost.

“An empty lap is an invitation and Finn will fill it in seconds,” said Corin. “But behind those snuggles is a bit of a Rambo kitty. She fears nothing, not even the vaccum!”

Finn is just one of the thousands of reasons why we Walk for the Kitties.

Each year, VOKRA rescues more than 1,400 homeless cats and kittens from around the Lower Mainland. We’re volunteer-driven and our work is made possible through the generous support of people like you – our volunteers, adopters and donors. Walk for the Kitties is our largest fundraising event of the year and we rely on the funds raised to help pay for all the things like food, litter and veterinary care our kitties need.

Please help us help kitties like Finn this September 17 by joining us for Walk for the Kitties, presented by FirstMate.

Eventbrite - VOKRA Walk for the Kitties 2017

Can’t make it on September 17? You can still help when you donate today!

You can also follow Finn’s adventures on her Instagram account at @felinefinntastic

Why Pairs Are Purrrfect!

You may remember Cauliflower, our veggie queen and proud mama of six adorable kittens. As kitten season is now underway, we thought we’d provide an update on the veggie patch kittens – Kale, Parsnip, Cabbage, Courgette, Broccoli and Brussel Sprout – and explain why we think it’s so important to adopt in pairs. All the veggie patch kittens were adopted in pairs, allowing further kitten-to-kitten interaction and playtime to help them develop important social skills.

Kale & Parsnip

Magnus and Bjorn

Kale and Parsnip, now Magnus and Bjorn, are prime examples of how kittens help each other develop social skills. For example, Magnus has shown Bjorn the simple way to get more pets: climb all over the humans. In return, Bjorn confidently showed Magnus their new food was delicious when it became time to change their eating habits. The two lean on each other during kittenhood, being the strength to the other’s weakness.

Another advantage of adopting two kittens is they can entertain themselves when humans aren’t around. As Bjorn tends to be more independent, he’ll entertain himself with a toy mouse for a while before playing around with Magnus. When the fun and games end, there’s always a cuddle session!

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Magnus and Bjorn enjoying a cuddle session

In general, Magnus and Bjorn have grown much since the first day they were adopted. They’re both around 8 pounds each, but Bjorn’s closer to 9! They’ve both been neutered and Magnus has had his congenital abdominal hernia repaired. Bjorn’s also developed into a strong, silent type, which is a change from the rambunctious kitty he was at his foster home! He’s smart to assess a situation and make a calculated decision before acting, whether it’s pouncing on his brother or jumping into the nearest lap. Magnus continues to be the fool-hearted, fearless kitten he always was. They’re both so loving and are always longing for never-ending belly rubs!

Want to see more Magnus and Bjorn? You can follow them on Instagram here.

Cabbage & Courgette

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Bailey and Guinness

Cabbage and Courgette, now Guinness and Bailey, have grown into extremely playful kittens that like to ride the floor sweeper while the humans dust the floor!

The two kitties spend most of the day with each other, cleaning each other when taking a break from chasing one another all over the house. Having another kitty around means they can help clean each other’s ears and head, areas somewhat difficult to reach. The two are able to entertain each other and themselves, but prove to be very social when they’re guests around.

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Bailey and Guinness demonstrate their love

As for what they’re up to these days, Guinness has been neutered, but Bailey has a small heart murmur so her family are awaiting test results before she goes in for surgery. The two kitties enjoy sitting at the front window, watching the birds and bugs fly outside. They’re obsessed with the numerous toy mice they have, especially the ones that rattle. They’ve been a wonderful addition to the family and they’re “parents” say it’s been amazing watching them grow and learn from each other.

Broccoli & Brussel Sprout

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Broccoli and Brussel Sprout

Broccoli and Brussel Sprout are the best of friends. While play fighting has become a pastime, they also find entertainment with the kids of the house. They don’t mind being carried around and Brussel Sprout has even slipped on a pink dress without any sign of being bothered!

As kittens, they respect each other’s space, but Broccoli is clearly the boss, acting like a wise, older brother (well he is two weeks older!). They clearly love each other and are always in the same room. When one meows the other is sure to come running! They both love their treats and food and Brussel Sprout has proven to be the fastest eater of the furball kingdom!

 

George and Broccoli

In other news, Broccoli and Brussel Sprout have both been neutered and didn’t even need to wear cones of shame! They both bounced right back. Broccoli’s in love with the resident Airedale of the house, George. They cuddle in George’s bed and are constantly licking each other – call it instant friendship, if you will. However, Brussel Sprout is not a very big fan of George. The two cannot be left to their own devices together as George can’t understand why Brussel Sprout doesn’t want to be friends. He’s been on the receiving end of many of Brussel Sprout’s jaguar-like swats. So the patient introduction continues and once they find some common ground, everything’ll be golden!

The kittens have been an amazing addition to the family. While Brussel Sprout is a little naughtier and keeps the humans on their toes, they wouldn’t change a thing. Watching the kids bond with their dog and kittens is the sweetest thing one could ever hope for. Unconditional love from a pet is the best.

You can follow Broccoli and Brussel Sprout’s adventure on Instagram here.

Brussel Sprout and Broccoli love their people

As kitten season continues, we want to urge those wanting to adopt to adopt in pairs. The veggie patch kittens’ stories are examples of how advantageous, beneficial and sweet it can be to have two furballs in a household. Our mission at VOKRA is to ensure all kitties get the furever home they deserve, and you can help by adopting in pairs to give them not only a loving home, but a lifelong best friend at their side.

Click here to learn more about adopting through VOKRA.

Byron’s Happy Tail Ending

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Byron came into VOKRA’s care after he was found as a stray in an industrial park. Street life was starting to take its toll on him – he had some battle scars that were likely caused from run-ins with other animals. However, a tough life on the streets didn’t dampen Byron’s affectionate and playful nature.

Even though he was in good health, it was discovered Byron was feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) positive. Byron’s diagnosis didn’t affect his overall health, but it did mean he couldn’t go to a home with another cat.

Byron’s second chance came when his future adopter, Rebecca, decided it was time for a kitty to come into her life.

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“I’ve wanted to adopt a cat for a couple of years. I always had kitties growing up and I missed having a cat around. My best friend introduced me to VOKRA when she adopted her kitty, Penelope,” said Rebecca. “My friend suggested I check out Byron’s page on the website. He was a guy she and her boyfriend had wanted to meet before they adopted Penelope.”

After reading about Byron’s background and biography online, Rebecca knew this was a kitty she wanted to meet. “I thought he might be a guy who could do with some stability and some pampering,” she said.

Byron and Rebecca hit it off and he soon found himself in a new forever home. Thanks to his amazing foster dad Bill, who brought his toys and cat things to Rebecca’s home, Byron settled in quickly and was king of the castle before long.

happytails3.png“Now that he’s settled in, it turns out he’s a bit of a chatterer,” said Rebecca. “He really makes [my husband and I] laugh. He does this thing where he takes your hand between his paws and draws it under his head to use as a pillow. He’s so funny when he’s hungry, which is basically always. I haven’t had to set my alarm once since he settled in. He wakes us up at the literal break of dawn every morning. He doesn’t let up until one of us gets up and gets his breakfast.”

Besides watching the clock for mealtimes, Byron has discovered his people make wonderful places to sleep on. He also has a love/hate relationship with his favourite catnip toy (he beats it around then cuddles with it when he naps).

We’re so glad Byron found a safe and happy place to call home. Thank you to Rebecca and her husband for giving a second chance to this wonderful cat.

Would you like to share your Happy Tail? Email us at communications@vokra.ca.

Post written by Kim Cormack

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Wanted: Adoption Counsellors

momoWho wants to help our kitties find their forever homes?!

We’re looking to grow our team of adoption counsellors and are looking for cat lovers like you. Our adoption counsellors review new adoption applications, interview applicants and, ultimately, match up kitties with adopters. Yah!

Adoption counsellors can take on as many or as few applications as they choose. However, to keep up to date and involved in the adoptions process, it’s ideal for counsellors to have at least 6 hours of volunteer time available per week. Although it may only take a few moments to assist an applicant with their application, it’s important members of the adoptions team respond to emails readily and on a daily basis. All VOKRA volunteers are asked to commit at least 6 months of their time.

Adoption counsellors tasks include:

  • Receiving and reviewing new adoption applications
  • Contacting applicants, scheduling interviews and follow-up
  • Matching kitties and/or suggesting kitties for applicants
  • Liase with fosters to learn more about kitties personalities, pairings, etc..
  • Working with approved applicants to schedule viewing with kitties
  • Follow-up with applicants after viewings
  • Forward adopters to the papers team for processing/payment completion
  • Respond to adopters queries post adoption
  • Update database at each step to reflect status of adoption applications

Members of the adoptions team work closely together to manage the volume of applicants that apply to adopt through VOKRA. If you’re looking to join a fantastic group of people and help kitties find loving forever home then the adoptions team is for you!

To apply to become an adoption counsellor click here.

Questions? Email volunteervokra@gmail.com