Sophie & Leo’s Happy Tail Ending

Sophie and Leo are two black beauties who were returned to VOKRA after their previous guardians’ family situation changed and they could no longer care for them. These siblings were quite bonded and needed to find a new forever home together.

Angela decided to add a kitty (or two) to her family earlier this year. She knew she wanted to adopt Sophie and Leo shortly after meeting them: “They were friendly and [Sophie] hopped on the couch when we were getting close to leaving and rested right beside me.”

Sophie and Leo have been in their new home for six months now and have settled in to a new routine of staring out the window together and meowing to each other when they think they’re alone.

“Sophie sleeps on her back with her paws curled in the air and loves to sleep between legs, Leo will run past you and lay right in front to have his belly rubbed,” said Angela. “We spend a lot of time with them, playing and hiding treats; they love to hunt for treats around the house.”

We’re so glad Sophie and Leo got their happy ending. Happy ‘tails’ you two!

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

Post written by Kim C.

2017 AGM set for October 19

VOKRA will be holding its 2017 Annual General Meeting on October 19 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.

2017 VOKRA AGM
Thursday, October 19
7 to 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1573 – 18 Avenue E., Vancouver
RSVP & BECOME A SOCIETY MEMBER

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

  • Minutes of the Previous AGM, October 13, 2016
  • Presentation: 2017 in Review
  • Treasurer’s Report: 2016 Financial Statements
  • Motion to set membership fee post October AGM
  • Motions to change the bylaws (if any)
  • Election of the 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 2019. 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 vice 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, coordinates the quarterly Mewsletter, manages the 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 loves hanging out on the couch reading or knitting with her CH cat Bran and she’s also a certified yoga teacher.

Nicky Forsman

Nicky’s Head of Creative for OUTtv and 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.

Andrea Langille

Andrea began volunteering with VOKRA in 2015 and took on the role of Treasurer in May 2017. She is a CPA, CGA with many years of experience in the not-for-profit area. In her role as Treasurer, Andrea works with the finance team to ensure the proper collection of revenue, processing of payments, tax and gaming grant compliance, and financial statement preparation. Andrea enjoys hiking, gardening and spending time with her friends, family and her senior kitty Lexus.

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 last year, where he helps lead the IT team. 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.

Vacancy: Director at Large

We’re actively recruiting for an additional director at large to serve a two year term. 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 meeting, 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: policy, finance, programs, personnel, 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 communications@vokra.ca.

Camela & Ballo’s Happy Tail Ending

written by Katherine Drabek

This is a story about two sisters who were reunited after having been separated by adoption. After they were found by VOKRA the two sisters transitioned from life in a vacant lot to being fostered in my apartment. I named Camela because of her camel coloured chin and Ballo was named for the opera “The Masked Ball” because of the amazing colours of her face which made her look as if she were wearing a mask. After a few months with me Camela (now Batila) was adopted by a wonderful woman named Ashley and then her sister Ballo (now Nars) was left alone in foster care after their white brother Briar was also adopted. The sisters are tortoiseshell and talkative. Camela would sit at the kitchen door, cock her head and chirp comments while I was cooking.  As a foster kitten she was like a little floor buffer in that she would roll around while chasing string or a ball. Camela ate pieces of mango and even tasted peanut butter.  Ballo would run toward me with a ball in her mouth and pointedly drop it at my feet with a beseeching sound. She had an amazing preternatural wisdom about her and would stay calm in situations in which other cats would have been afraid.

After some weeks Ashley came back to adopt the second sister, Ballo. Now reunited, they enjoy bird watching and napping with the elderly, 15-year old third cat in the household. A one-eared dog has since joined their household and the sisters have benevolently accepted him. They sometimes watch a tap dripping and will hide under bedclothes if they judge guests to be too loud. Ballo has occasional seizures but in her wise, accepting way comes to the kitchen when she hears Ashley opening the pill bottle for her daily medication. Her sister grooms her after a seizure in a nurturing and calming way. Camela continues to chirp at her owners and enjoys bird watching through a window with her sister. That these sisters are living together again gives me great peace of mind. As sad as it was to say goodbye to these special and lovely creatures, I know that they have now a wonderful home and that VOKRA’s loving care of cats, beginning with rescuing the homeless ones like these once were, ultimately leads to passing that love on through the families who later welcome them.

If you are considering becoming a VOKRA foster volunteer I highly recommend it. I’ve never had more fun as a volunteer.

As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers and fosters. THANK YOU!

To learn more about fostering visit vokra.ca/fostering and to learn more about volunteering visit vokra.ca/volunteer.

 

Kittypants and Britches’s Happy Tail Ending

Max (left), Simi (right)

Kittypants is the proud mama of seven kitties. Happily, she was adopted with one of her spotted little kitties, Britches. Gillian fell in love with the two when she visited them in their foster home. Kittypants (now Simi) was a nervous mama, but accepted hellos and pats. Britches (now Max) was a confident kitten marching around the room always looking for trouble.

Since being adopted, Simi and Max have adapted well. While still somewhat nervous, Simi’s become much friendlier and confident. In the beginning, she hid under the bathroom sink, skeptical of her human parents.

Simi hiding under the sink

It’s taken a long time for Simi to trust them and it’s still a work in progress, but now she purrs the moment you pat her and is quite playful. Max is a curious kitten with tons of energy, usually used during playtime or to show Gillian where his food is. Both furballs are gentle, lovely companions who are also easy to train. Simi learned to ‘sit’ in about two minutes!

 

Smitten by Simi and Max, Gillian and her partner love discovering their individual personality quirks. Once Simi realizes she’s getting pats, she always runs over to a good patting spot – carpet or mat – to stretch out as long as she can to receive a full back rub. Max starts purring whenever they talk to him, pat him, feed him, play with him, look at him and pretty much just 24/7.

“I discovered that Simi seems interested in certain types of music,” said Gillian. “When I start tuning my ukulele she perks up and trills. If a soft, uncomplicated melody comes on the stereo, she goes over to the speaker or the TV to check it out.”

Max enjoying a nap

As for Max, he apparently has the cutest and longest meow she’s ever heard in a cat. Gillian has a glass door closing off the kitchen (because a certain spotted kitty likes to lick butter if unattended) and around food or play time Max stands on his back paws and holds onto the doorknob with his front paws. He then lets out what Gillian says to be, “a record-breaking longest meow known to cat or human.”

We’re so happy Simi and Max are flourishing in their furever home with endless pats and playtime. Thank you to Gillian and her partner for giving these furballs a second chance and a loving, fun-filled home.

 

Want to share your Happy Tail? Email us at communications@vokra.ca.

Post written by Aurora C.

Flashback to Kittypants with all her baby pants.

 

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

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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Kitten season is off to a record start!

This beautiful girl is April and she’s the proud mama of 10 healthy kittens. Yes, 10 kittens! This is the first time in VOKRA history a mama has successful delivered 10 healthy babies.

Each year during kitten season more than 900 kittens are born in our care. And if April’s litter is any indication, this season will be no different. As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we can’t support this many kittens without the help of people like you.

Kittens in our care have a chance at a happy, safe and healthy life. With so many kittens, April isn’t able to care for them all on her own. She simply doesn’t have enough milk to support this many babies and, if she would have given birth on the street, it’s certain some of them would not be alive today.

Thankfully we were able to rescue April in time and she gave birth in a safe space. Her foster mom Brenda is ensuring all the kittens get enough to eat through bottle feeding so everyone’s thriving.

Between the cost of special kitten formula and supplements, nursing kits and medical care we anticipate the cost to support each of these kittens is more than $150. That adds up to more than $1,500 just for this litter alone.

Will you help us today?

Your support today will help us buy extra food and litter, and will also pay for veterinary care and medication.

Please donate today to help save kittens like April’s.

A special thank you to Laureen Stokes for taking the photos of April and her family!