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 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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Meet Charlie & Angel

Charlie and Angel are a brother and sister duo looking for a forever home together.

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Charlie’s very sweet and loves to be around people. He adored cuddling and receiving pets, and if you don’t have time to give him a pet he’ll be sure to patiently wait for one. He enjoys playing with his sister Angel and his favourite toy is the laser. He’s very friendly and will come up on the bed and sit on the pillow in the morning.

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Just like her brother, Angel loves to be around people. Her hobbies include cuddling, being pet and napping in your lap. She also likes playing with her toys and Charlie. For some reason, she also really enjoys watching her human friends in the kitchen, whether they’re cooking or doing dishes! Angel’s a very friendly kitty and was recently a young mama to her three kittens who have now been adopted.

If you’re hoping for a pair of adorable and loving cats to enter your life, look no further!

If you’re interested in adopting Charlie and Angel please visit our website at vokra.ca/adopt to fill out an adoption form.

Special thanks to Laura Bartlett for these great photos of Charlie and Angel!

Why we Walk for the Kitties

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Long John Silver doesn’t let his injury stop him from being a scampy kitten

Tiny Long John Silver got his name because of his amazing silver fur. And because he’s missing part of his back leg.

He was rescued when a woman in Port Coquitlam spotted a mama and two kittens emerging from a carport. The kind Samaritan took the little family inside but the mama begged to be let back out. Once outside she went back to the carport and one by one brought out five more kittens.

We were called in and now the big family is safe and sound in foster care. Mom is very sweet and her mix of babies were likely no more than 4 weeks old when rescued. All the kittens are healthy except for Long John Silver who has a very damaged back leg and is missing his foot. The wound has been there for awhile and is infected, but with some TLC he’ll hopefully be able to live a normal life. He’s already made several trips to the vet though and the bills are starting to add up. But the good news is he’s healing really well and his wound is slowly closing over.

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Long John Silver and his siblings

The reality is only 25% of kittens who don’t receive human care survive. The chips were stacked against Long John Silver and with his wound it’s certain he wouldn’t have made it without our help.

Long John Silver is just one of the thousands of reasons why we Walk for the Kitties.

Each year, VOKRA rescues more than 1,800 homeless cats in the Lower Mainland. Unlike many other animal rescue groups, VOKRA is a volunteer-driven, no-kill organization. Our work is made possible through the generous support of volunteers, adopters and people like you. Walk for the Kitties is our largest fundraising event of the year and we rely on the funds raised. Learn more here.

Please help us help kitties like Long John Silver this September 18 by joining us for our 7th Annual Walk for the Kitties.

Eventbrite - VOKRA's 7th Annual Walk for the Kitties

Can’t make it on September 18? You can still donate today!

IMG_0052LJS loves boxes! IMG_0053Here he is with his brother Mr. Smee.
LJS is much smaller than his siblings

Snaggletooth’s Happy Tail Ending

27260047193_b007f182d9_zSenior kitty Snaggletooth first came to us in July 2015 as a stray. At some point in his life someone cared enough for him to ensure he was neutered and tattooed. But by the time he came to us the tattoo had faded and couldn’t be read so he was stuck with us. He’s a sweet, loving, relaxed guy and sometimes his bottom left tooth ends up being in front of his upper lip so we dubbed him Snaggletooth.

Life on the streets was rough for Snaggletooth and it took it’s toll. He had high blood pressure, a heart murmur and was mildly anemic. But with some care and attention he was doing well, until disaster struck.

In April Snaggletooth failed to land a jump and severally broke his right back leg. In fact he broke it so badly a specialist had to come in to install a plate and pin the leg. But Snaggletooth is a resilient guy and he recovered nicely from his surgery and by June he was ready to find a forever home. That’s when something special happened.

IMG_7133We featured Snaggletooth on adopteez.com and shared the post on our Facebook page. His profile ended up showing up in the news feed of a woman named Jen who automatically recognized him as the cat she lost more than a year ago. She contacted us right away and we were able to confirm Snaggletooth is indeed her kitty. It turns out he’s actually 19 years old and she’s had him since she was seven. It also turns out his name is actually Ramsey and he went missing shortly after they moved to a new home. Our best guess is after he escaped he was trying to make his way back to his old neighbourhood when we trapped him.

We’re so happy these two have been reunited!

Do you have a Happy Tail to share? Email us at communications@vokra.ca.

Bottle Babies – A Reward Like No Other

20160507_Bottlebabies_2950_lowresWM-1If you’ve ever wondered about VOKRA’s origins, you wouldn’t have too look far – it’s right there in our name, specifically in the O and the K, which stand for “Orphan Kitten”. Founded because of kittens that were orphaned and without moms, VOKRA began as a means to provide crucial care that would replicate the feeding and love a mom cat would normally provide.

Though bottle feeding kittens may sound like it’s all purrs, cuddles and explosions of cute, considering that most litters reach upwards of five, it’s no small feat. Newborn kittens require constant tending to and must be fed every two hours. They have to be kept warm at all times through the use of blankets and heaters, they need to be burped and bathed, and you must stimulate their poop and pee. Basically you need to replace their mom in every way possible, short of becoming a cat yourself.

Many years ago, VOKRA founders Karen Duncan and Maria Soroski were volunteers at the SPCA when litters of kittens kept coming in without moms. They quickly learned how to bottle feed and fielded requests for their services up to twice a day during kitten season. If you’re picturing an actual orphanage filled with rows of cat beds and endless litters of kittens, you wouldn’t be far off. At times their own beds were piled high with kennels full of kittens requiring 24-hour care. Eventually, Karen and Maria branched off on their own and realized the reason for all the motherless kittens was that no one had figured out how to trap the feral moms. Once they began trapping them, the need for bottle feeding was greatly reduced.

While keeping kittens with their mom is always the preference, bottle feeding is at times a necessity. Sometimes it may only be for a short period, temporarily feeding them until their mom is located or merely helping a mom cat with her extra large litter. Other times we may be able to use surrogate moms instead, adding orphaned kittens to another mom’s litter. We trap feral moms whenever possible, using the scent of her kittens’ urine or fur to lure her in. But in cases where the mom is never found or has passed away, bottle feeding is the only hope of the kittens’ survival.

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Receiving an average of 10 litters a year that require full-time bottle feeding, we have a handful of dedicated volunteers who provide constant care and attention to ensure these little ones survive. Around the clock care is necessary and some volunteers even take their tiny wards to work. In the past Ellen Keiser, a teacher, took her bottle fed babies to school and fed them during recess and lunch as her class looked on for some firsthand lessons in cat rescue. At times, volunteers share the duties between them, “babysitting” if one of them needs a break.

Even with the best possible care, survival rates are a bit lower for bottle fed kittens. They’re more prone to illness and not all of them make it. To be a bottle feeder volunteer requires not only time, patience, flexibility and the ability to do without sleep, but also the strength to handle the potential for heartbreak. Says Ellen, “You need to prepare yourself for the loss, but also for the celebration that so many do make it due to your efforts.” Last year, foster mom Tania Hennessy cared for more bottle feeders than she ever had before and says she becomes especially attached to them. For her, watching them grow up and find their forever homes is worth the undertaking.

Bottle fed kittens sleep a lot and after two weeks you can begin to train them to use their litter boxes. Eventually you’ll find small puddles of poop, which to a seasoned cat rescuer like Karen is “quite exciting”. As the kittens grow, they become among the sweetest and sociable of cats since growing up among humans is all they’ve known. In fact, they consider their bottle feeding human to be their “real” mom.  Says Tania, “My favorite part of caring for bottle feeders is the day when their eyes open and they finally look back at you for the first time. Paired with the happy purrs of a full belly at 3 a.m., it’s heart melting!” Seeing bottle fed babies transform into active and healthy kittens is truly a reward like no other.

Written by Ellen R.

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. We’re currently actively looking for cat care and reception volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.