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 vokra.ca/volunteer.

 

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 vokra.ca/volunteer.

Volunteer of the Month – September 2019

With Walk for the Kitties coming up, we’re grateful for all our volunteers who make everything we do possible. This September, we’d like to celebrate foster coordinator Diane Atkinson as our Volunteer of the Month

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

I first started volunteering for VOKRA many years ago at the Petsmart Adoption Centre in North Vancouver doing cat care. During my shift I was responsible for cleaning litter boxes, as well as feeding and playing with the kitties who were housed in kitty pods. Sometimes potential adopters would visit. There was lots to learn and at one of my first shifts I forgot to replace a litterbox in one of the pods…oops! The volunteer coordinator was not impressed!

Eventually VOKRA moved out of Petsmart and that ended my volunteer job there. After I retired, I started up again with VOKRA a few years ago as a foster coordinator. During most of my career I worked in Youth Justice with teenagers. This didn’t seem much different…instead of placing teenagers in foster homes and youth centres I started placing kitties in foster homes!

The foster coordinator volunteer job is pretty intense and seems to never end…and summers with all the moms and kittens is a crazy time! I have learned so much about caring for kitties and I am still learning! I seem to have a soft spot for kitties with health problems and senior kitties who get surrendered and love to see them do well in foster homes. I could not do this job without support from many people..this includes the obvious:  Karen, Cassie, Maria, Andrea, Mickey and my fellow foster coordinators, as we’ll as my fellow volunteers on VOKRA’s many other teams, including Surrenders, Ops Reception, Adoptions, Bios, Drivers, Vaccinations, Photos, Papers, Media … too many to name but you know who you are! And of course the wonderful fosters who take in rescue kitties and patiently give them happy homes!

Chilko, Diane’s daughter’s VOKRA kitty

My first cat, Maya, was a shy black cat from a North Van rescue agency. My daughter adopted a black cat, Chilko, from VOKRA He’s a sweet boy but hates other cats with a passion! My present cat, Max, a tuxedo, came from an ad in the paper from someone who was selling kittens out of their trailer park home out in the Fraser Valley. Sixteen years later, he’s successfully living with hyperthyroidism and congestive heart failure, doing his best to finance his vet’s future retirement!

There have been many memorable kitties I’ve had in some of my foster homes, the most recent was a mom and five kittens who were abandoned on a street corner and are now doing so well. It’s gratifying to see the hard-to-adopt kitties like Jeff (age 13 with kidney disease and hyperthyroidism) find their forever homes! And to see super scared cats finally relax, learn to trust their people and blossom in foster care! And I love that sick and injured street cats are given medical care and a chance of a better life!

THANK YOU so much Diane for all the time and effort you put into ensuring our foster parents get the support they need. Your attention and guidance go a long way towards helping the cats in VOKRA’s care.

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 vokra.ca/volunteer.

Volunteer of the Month – August 2019

Summertime’s in full swing, which means our Operations Centre is busier than usual. With cats and kittens going in and out and foster’s stopping by to get supplies, there’s always something to do and our reception team is on top of it!

This month we’re celebrating Margot Kubale, a volunteer who’s been part of our Ops reception team since September of 2017. Here Margot tells us in her own words how she became involved with VOKRA.

You see I first heard of Vokra when I adopted a cat in January of 2006. Here’s the story of how that happened:

I had been without a cat for about nine months because the last of my two cats had passed away in March 2005. I was in no rush to adopt another cat but then met Karen Duncan, VOKRA co-founder, at a craft fair about two weeks before. I almost didn’t make it to the fair and 10 minutes or so before closing time noticed the VOKRA sign to a separate room from the crafts. I walked in and was greeted by Karen with a “Hello, would you like a cat?”.

The last thing I expected was to find a cat at a craft fair. Karen let me hold the big, full grown fluffy orange cat who was very affectionate and in need of a one cat home. I was reluctant to adopt so I opted to foster him in case things didn’t work out. He came home with me that same day and I renamed him Rusty in keeping with my personal traditional of naming red cats with a name that starts with the letter “R”.

Two weeks later I had guests for Christmas for dinner,  five adults and three children, all in a small one bedroom apartment. I was very surprised that Rusty spent no time hiding under the bed and chose be amongst the guests and do a meet and greet of all the adults sitting on the L-shaped couch. He just went from one to the next saying “hello”. It was just like a salesperson would do a meet and greet and I’d never seen a cat do that. He was not intimidated by all the people.

A few weeks later Karen called to see how it was going. I told her how Rusty had been with my Christmas guests and that I’d decided to adopt him. He turned out to be the best cat ever!!!   He was my wonderful four-footed furry friend until he passed in February of 2017. Shortly after that I decided to put in an application to volunteer with VOKRA in memory of Rusty and to give back for receiving such a wonderful cat.

Margot and fellow reception volunteer Dave providing some TLC

I’m very much enjoying my time volunteering in reception and there is no shortage of stuff to do. It’s interesting to talk to the various people that walk in and I like making up the variety boxes for the fosters, printing labels and signs on the computer and keeping the reception area as tidy as possible, and, if it’s slow, helping out with laundry.

One of the things I’ve learned to do better is how to put a cat into a carrier. When it gets busy at Ops I have sometimes helped out with putting the cat’s into a carrier when they’re ready to go out to foster. I remember Keegan was so eager to get out the kennel that he walked right into the carrier without even any kibble inducement! That was fun… loading him so easily.

I also like combing cats and removing their mats if they are calm enough to allow that. I was able to do that once at Ops. In April of this year there was a fluffy black cat in need of a little TLC.  He was very mellow and let Dave, who does reception on the same day as I do, hold him so I could cut out some mats. With a little teamwork we got the job done.

THANK YOU so much Margot for all the time and energy you put into helping out everyone at VOKRA. We very much appreciate your dedication!

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 vokra.ca/volunteer.