Volunteer of the Month – September 2017

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 Ellen Runnalls as our Volunteer of the Month!

Ellen’s been volunteering with VOKRA for almost six years. Time flies when it’s spent hanging out with cats! She mostly helps enter the cats’ bios and puts them up on the website. However, she’s taken on various other tasks in her “nine lives” as a volunteer that make it all a joyful experience. Volunteering is a great way to meet cats without having to take them all home… unless you do.

Some of Ellen’s favourite things about volunteering include meeting all the cats and getting to know their unique personalities (especially the shy ones); spending time with feral and semi-feral cats to watch them gain confidence while also earning their trust; and meeting the real cat ladies of this world who are all so dedicated and amazing, and without whom so many cats would never get a chance at a happy life.

Ellen dishes on her favourite memories and kitties she’s met:

“One of my favourite memories is a feral kitten “search and rescue” in an East Van backyard with (VOKRA co-founder) Maria, and another is holding a garage sale with Yana,” said Ellen. “I love being able to advocate for black cats whenever possible as they’re some of the sweetest cats around. I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite cat, but it’s safe to say that aside from all the black kitties I’ve met, every tortoiseshell has stolen my heart.”

Without Ellen, nobody would be able to read up on all our available kittens and cats on our site! She’s an integral part of VOKRA and we’re so happy to have a dedicated volunteer like Ellen on board.

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.

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

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.

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!

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.