Volunteer of the Month – June 2017

Frankie

With the sun shining (sort of), our volunteers are looking forward to a busy June as we head straight into kitten season! We appreciate how hard our volunteers work to ensure each kitty lives the best life they can, and this month we’d like to celebrate Yana Sabanskis, our Volunteer of the Month!

Yana became involved with VOKRA around eight years ago when she worked at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. There, she was familiarized with the faces of VOKRA – Karen and Maria – through their regular visits to restock supplies. She took the opportunity to understand our non-profit organization and the way we work to continuously provide the best care for kitties. Yana helped out with recycling and other odds and ends and, when our new Operations Centre opened in 2015, she continued recycling twice a week. Along with helping out at our Centre, Yana adopted from VOKRA and also fostered several cats, in which she has made strong, yet adorable memories with.

“The first kitty I adopted from VOKRA was Sammi, an 11-year old pure bred Chocolate Himalayan,” explains Yana. “He adapted very quickly to my other cat, Molly, who I had found in an alley in the West End. After Molly suddenly died, I was asked if I could possibly foster a semi-feral 2-year old. I was up to the task and took on Tommy. He really was a challenge, living in the bathroom for about a month. I slowly introduced him to Sammi by taking food and Sammi into the bathroom and leaving them together. Sammi was very docile and performed a miracle so, about a week later, Tommy followed Sammi out of the bathroom and stayed with him wherever he went!”

After Sammi passed away, Yana took in little Paula, a geriatric kitty found in an alley in the Downtown Eastside. “She was an absolute joy to welcome in our home,” said Yana. “She slept on my shoulder and only ever wanted to be loved. She was with us for almost six months before she fell asleep one night and didn’t wake again.”

The next cat that came into their home was Frankie, an 18-year old geriatric kitty who came in from the cold and needed a home. “He joined us for two years until he died,” remembers Yana. “He was so grateful to be inside and insisted on sleeping in my lap, on my shoulder or on my head. He was a large cat and would not compromise his needs, so I accepted him doing whatever he wanted.”

Yana goes on to say, “When Frankie passed away, Tommy decided I was his new pet and we’re now bonded, so much so that he sleeps on me at night! During the day he is elusive, but at night he is a cuddle monster!”

Yana has helped VOKRA in so many ways and her connection with all the furballs she cares for is one we admire. We can’t thank her enough and are happy and appreciative to have such a wonderful, kind-hearted person in our organization. You’re the best, Yana!

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 vokra.ca/volunteer.

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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Come run with us on June 25!

On June 25, 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 1,400 kitties we rescue each year.

Kitties like Tortilla. After her owner passed away the person she ended up with wanted to have her euthanized. Thankfully the vet refused and we were called to take her in. Tortilla’s around 15 years old and when she arrived at our Operations Centre she was covered in fleas and lice and needed a medical check-up to investigate a lump on her chest (which thankfully turned out to be nothing). Without VOKRA Tortilla would be dead.

Today Tortilla is recovering from her ordeal in foster care and will soon be looking for her new forever home. Unfortunately Tortilla’s story is not uncommon and kitties like her wouldn’t be saved without the help of everyone at VOKRA and donors like you.

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 one of the following PIN codes:

Half-Marathon discount code: 17VOKRA21K
5K discount code: 17VOKRA5K

Once you’re registered you’ll receive a link to your personal fundraising page so you can get started right away. And to help ensure you achieve your goal, Team VOKRA will provide you with a motivational emails to help you fundraise. 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!

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

Science says, “Get a Cat if you want to be healthy (and happy)!”

From Emily at Catological

I recently found a few interesting studies that showed that owning a cat not only provides emotional benefits for humans, but also physiological ones. As this sounded a bit strange, I dug deeper and was amazed to find all the benefits our little friends give us.

Just to list a few, and starting with the most commonly known one, science has proven that petting a cat makes you calm and happy. Amazingly, they also help to keep our blood pressure under control, lower our risk of getting a heart attack by about 30%, and their purrs may actually make you feel calmer and may help you sleep better at night.

As I can only list few of them here, check out the infographic below to get a detailed breakdown of the many ways that cats can help us humans. And if you have room for one, check out all the cats and kittens  VOKRA currently has up for adoption here.

If you want to learn more about the details behind each benefit, check out the original infographic at catological.com!

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Volunteer of the Month – December 2016

mona2It’s December – time for Christmas shopping, holiday cheer and a new Volunteer of the Month, Mona Boucher!

Mona’s been volunteering at VOKRA for approximately eight years, beginning by trapping a mom, dad and two teenage kittens in her neighbourhood. At VOKRA, Mona plays an integral role in several positions. She’s a trapper, feral tamer, colony caretaker, barn cat placer and a driver – she excels at all of them! Her favourite role is trapping as she loves being on the front lines and having first contact with cats and kittens in need. There’s no better feeling for her than when a trap closes and knowing that cat’s life is about to change forever.

“I have hundreds of stories of cats and kittens who’ve been rescued,” reflects Mona. “The most notable is probably miaowing to catch the tiny kittens at a fish food plant. You may already have even see the video!

mona“My fellow trappers and I drive thousands of kilometres, have climbed on roofs, crawled under buildings, saved cats in car engines and in boats, we’ve climbed haystacks and trapped in forests,” adds Mona. “Each situation is different and we’ll do almost anything to rescue cats. It’s exhilarating, all consuming, rewarding and very addictive.”

As an outstanding VOKRA volunteer, Mona inspires all of us to work harder and give all we have to helping cats in need. She’s an amazing individual to work alongside and we thank Mona for all the time she’s dedicated to saving cats and kittens from all over the province. She truly deserves to be December’s Volunteer of the Month, if not the entire year!

Below is a message from Mona about our organization and volunteers and we really cannot say it any better!

“We’re not changing the world, but we are changing the world for that one cat. As a trapper we have first contact, but we’re only one pair of hands in a long chain of loving hands carrying cats to their forever homes. Everyone can do something to help and each and every role is equally as valuable and important. It takes a village to rescue homeless cats.”

We give one last massive thank you to Mona, for truly being an incredible helping hand in making sure VOKRA is a success and all the cats and kittens get to their forever homes. You’re the best Mona!

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 vokra.ca/volunteer.

You can help save a kitten this holiday season

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This is Cauliflower and she’s the proud mama of five kittens.

She was found upset and crying in the street not far from our Operations Centre. We’re not quite sure how she came to be on her own, but a neighbour told us this isn’t her first litter.

Unfortunately Cauliflower’s story is not uncommon. This year alone, more than 130 moms gave birth to more than 545 kittens while in our care. That’s a lot of kittens! And it doesn’t even take into account the little ones who’ve arrived without a mom.

The reality is only 25% of kittens who don’t receive human care survive. As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we wouldn’t be able to help all these moms and kittens without the support of people like you.

Kittens in our care have a chance at a happy, safe and healthy life. Once they’re old enough, Kale, Parsnip, Courgette, Broccoli and Cabbage will all be spayed/neutered and adopted into loving forever homes. And, like all the moms, Cauliflower will be spayed so she’ll never have to worry about getting pregnant again and she too will have her own forever home.

Your support today will help us pay for the cost of spaying/neutering, as well as for the food, litter and extra veterinary care all these moms and babies need.

Will you help us today?

This holiday season, please DONATE to help save families like Cauliflower’s.

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Parsnip, Kale, Cabbage, Courgette and Broccoli

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Brussel Sprout

And meet little Brussel Sprout, an honorary member of the veggie patch. He and his sister were found freezing cold in a shoebox when they were just a couple of days old. Despite our best efforts, we lost his sister and he was left alone in the world. But luckily for him, he went to live with foster mom Tania where he was bottle fed and received round-the-clock care. It just so happens Tania’s also fostering Cauliflower and her kittens. Cauliflower took one look at him and decided he needed to come join the veggie patch and that’s how he became Brussel Sprout!

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