Top 10 Best Things About Black Cats: 2016 Edition

Black cats are some of the best cats around – ask anyone who is lucky enough to have one in their lives. Sadly though, black cats are usually the last to be adopted, despite the fact they’re just as loving and wonderful as a cat of any other colour. Half of the cats we currently have for adoption are black. Many of them are adults, further lowering their chances of adoption.

In honor of Black Cat Day, here are the Top 10 Best Things About Black Cats featuring some of our very own kitties currently up for adoption:

10. When you befriend a black cat, you have a friend for life. They’re some of the most loyal cats around!


Angel loves to be around people, cuddling and receiving pets.

9. They know how to cuddle and they’re experts at it.


Patty Tolan is a confident little fluffball who loves playing and napping, and napping and playing.

8. What they lack in fancy colors they make up for in purrsonality- no two are alike!


Lanakila, Kolohekoa and Poheke are all full of purrsonality.

7. They have gorgeous eyes that, thanks to their beautiful black coats, truly stand out.


Moogy is super confident and will make herself at home with you in no time.

6. They’re like miniature black panthers, just small enough to fit in your home.


Sesam is very friendly and enjoys spending time with people.

5. They have very distinct meows- you’ll know who’s calling for dinner.


Saffy is a sweet, intelligent lady with an insatiable curiosity for her surroundings and a love for food.

4. They purr so much and so loudly that you wonder how they never run out of purrs.


Lionel‘s a sweetheart and is sure to bring a lot of fun and joy into your life!

3. They usually have a trick or two up their sleeve, like headbutts or hi-fives or turning shoes into beds.


Charlie likes to come up to the bed and sit on the pillow in the morning when he’s hungry.

2. They’re good luck – bring a black cat into your life and it will only get better. And better.


Vidi is extremely sweet and perfect for someone who’s looking for a lap cat.

1. They have sooo much love to give. They’ve often waited so long to be adopted that when they finally are, they will truly be all yours.


Quidi‘s an affection-seeking cuddler who’s always fighting for a spot on his foster mom’s lap.

The Great Grocery Stock Up is back!


Right now when you stock up on grocery cards from Safeway and Save-on-Foods VOKRA gets 8% of the profits. 

That can really add up fast! Last year with the help of our fosters and volunteers we raised $2,500 which we used to buy things like cat food, litter and flea medicine.

We need to bulk buy the gift cards in order to get this special 8% return and that’s where you come in. We need you to order your Safeway or Save-on-Foods cards by October 30.

  • Cards are available in $25, $50 and $100 for both grocery outlets and you can also get Safeway cards for $250. You get the full value of the card and we get 8% back from the retailer.
  • Order now – but you don’t need to pay until October 31 (We’ll even take a post-dated cheque for November 1!)
  • The cards will be delivered in late mid-November in time for the holiday season.

This is a limited time offer so be sure to place your order by October 30 by emailing and let the gift card team know what you’d like. They’ll confirm your order and contact you to arrange payment and delivery.

You can help us reach our goal of $35,000 in sales. That’s a profit of $2,800 for VOKRA kitties!

Safeway gift cards can be used at Sobeys, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thriftyfoods, Lawtons & Needs.

Save-On-Foods cards can be used at PriceSmart, Overwaitea and Cooper’s Foods.

Volunteer of the Month – October 2016


Laura’s take on the classic Ops Centre selfie.

‘Tis the season of rain and falling colourful leaves which means it’s also time to introduce you to our Volunteer of the Month  for October – Laura Deck! She’s been a tremendous help at VOKRA and we couldn’t be more thankful.

Laura was first introduced to VOKRA at the ‘Spay-ghetti No Balls Dinner’ fundraiser back in 2012. Just one week later she trapped her first feral cat, Mocha, who she’d been feeding for a while. After that she fell in love with helping kitties in every way – socializing, rescuing and general cat care. Helping all the sick, injured and feral kitties warmed Laura’s heart and all she wanted to do was continue her work at VOKRA. She helped out at the Operations Centre when it first opened and learned numerous volunteer jobs along the way.



“Mocha made it clear he was a vicious cat and wanted nothing more than food from me,” said Laura about the feral boy who started her work at VOKRA.  “After trapping and neutering, he still came by every day to eat, but ran off right after finishing his meal. Eventually he started to understand I meant him no harm, which prompted him to stay and eat in front of me. After almost three years, he finally started to calm down and then it happened… one day he rubbed up against my leg and I couldn’t believe it!”

“I knew he was still scared,” continues Laura, “but after hours of patience and plenty of cat treats he finally started to let me pet him. Mocha then let me brush him and became bolder, sneaking into the house when doors were open. My three female cats eventually accepted Mocha – not best buddies, but they get along. Now, Mocha makes his way onto my lap every night and falls asleep after I scratch his neck and pet him. I am still amazed when he comes to me every day and I’m grateful for the help I had from Mona and VOKRA for helping with him. I never expected to ever be able to touch him or receive his love.”


Laura’s first rescue = four feral kittens

A few months after consistently volunteering, Laura realized how big the problem of unfixed free roaming cats having kittens outdoors was, which prompted her to start a free spay/neuter program for low income cat owners in Surrey. She was the contact between lower income pet owners and the SPCA Animal Hospital’s Outreach Program, which offers free spays, neuters and tattoos. To extend this program further, Laura organized a free spay/neuter clinic in November 2014 with the help of VOKRA, her friends at Paws for Hope and vets from Scottsdale Animal Hospital. Together, they were able to help spay, neuter and tattoo 30 cats and also vaccinate them. It was huge success and only inspired Laura further.

Laura’s dream is to win the lottery so she can help more cats in her community that need food and medical treatment, as well as hire a vet to work at the VOKRA Operations Centre. Until then, she’s 100% devoted to giving all the help she can to the kitties.

Laura tells us what being a VOKRA volunteer means to her:


Laura, along with fellow volunteers, after they bathed a group of feral kittens covered in fleas.

“Being part of the VOKRA team means I can help more cats and kittens than I ever could on my own, say Laura. “I have four cats of my own at home and hundreds more I have loved through VOKRA. I’ve made so many wonderful friends volunteering and I love my VOKRA family. I can’t tell you how much I admire Karen, Maria, Shelley and Andrea for all their hard work and long hours at the Operations Centre, as well as all the other volunteers. It’s an honour to work with this amazing group of animal lovers.”

Laura continues, “I would encourage anyone who loves animals to contact their local rescue group and become involved in any way they can. Working with animals is very rewarding and will brighten your day. It makes you feel great when you know you’re making a different in an animal’s life, plus you’ll meet so many wonderful people. Volunteering isn’t always an option for everyone, but VOKRA appreciates help in the form of a donation of any size that will help pay for food and medical costs for the kitties.”

All we can say is Laura has been an extraordinary volunteer since 2012 and we give all our thanks to her. She has the biggest, warmest heart and only wants the best for all the VOKRA volunteers and kitties. Laura, you truly deserve to be Volunteer of the Month with all your hard work – we, as well as all the kitties you’ve helped, give you the biggest hug and thank you!

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

2016 Board of Directors Election

VOKRA will be holding its 2016 Annual General Meeting on October 13 at the Hastings Community Centre. 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.

Thursday, October 13
7 to 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
Hastings Community Centre, Room 9, 3096 E Hastings St., Vancouver

At the AGM we will be electing a new board of directors. Board membership is a leadership position within VOKRA that guides the organization to achieve its mission. The 12 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:

headshot_coTasha Bukovnik

Tasha’s been volunteering with VOKRA since 2014 and was asked to fill a board vacancy in August 2016. She’s a public relations professional and co-leads VOKRA’s integrated communications and marketing team along with Majid Khoury. As co-lead, Tasha 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 sits on 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 in the middle of yoga teacher training.

ShelleyShelley Dowson

After volunteering for more than seven years, Shelley has pretty much done every job imaginable, including cat care, foster coordinator, adoptions interviewer, adoption contracts, driving and transporting cats to the vet, to her current role of overseeing VOKRA’s Operations Centre. Being organized and thrifty are just some of the traits that led Shelley to not only work tirelessly setting up the Operations Centre, but be the brains behind some of VOKRA’s successful past events, such as the Pride Parade and VOKRA’s first Christmas Craft Fair. Running the daily care at the Ops Centre has shown Shelley how rewarding her work is and, after working her 12 hour a day job, she can be found working nights or weekends on whatever needs to be done at VOKRA. She’s also a foster parent for the more difficult older kitties. Shelley’s VOKRA cats, Chookah and Ubu, always keep her on her toes and have become her greatest pals. When this former Saskatchewan girl isn’t at home with them, she can be found searching the thrift stores for the best deals, usually finding something VOKRA could use.

Karen smilingKaren Duncan

Karen, along with Maria Soroski, founded VOKRA in 1999 with a mission: specializing in homeopathic care for kittens that needed around the clock treatment. With the assistance and training from Arbutus West Animal Clinic, Karen was able to make her dream a reality. Over the years, Karen has seen VOKRA expand and grow with a team of volunteers and she could not be more thrilled to have the Operations Centre which has enough space to allow for storage and room for volunteers. While Karen devotes her time to caring for VOKRA’s many charges, she always finds time to show her own cats love.

LucyLucy Hough

Lucy was inspired to become involved with VOKRA during our annual Walk for the Kitties event and has been on the board for the past two years. Lucy recently stepped down from the adoptions team where she was the link between many cats and their foster parents and also helped cats and kittens make the transition to their forever homes. Along the way, Lucy has also responded to emergencies, new foster parents and everything in between. This SFU graduate is also proud to be a director for an organization that is no-kill, one of VOKRA’s main principles. With her years with VOKRA, Lucy has carefully screened hundreds of adopters and follows strict qualifications on who will help our cats thrive and flourish in their forever homes. As a mom to four rescue cats herself, Lucy knows the importance of proper and through screening. When she’s not spending time with her cats, Lucy can be found soaking up the Vancouver sun in her garden, enjoying a run or relaxing with yoga.

cheryl_rogers_headshot (2)Cheryl Rogers

As a CPA and our current treasurer, Cheryl is certainly a business-savvy volunteer. Cheryl, a graduate of SFU, keeps all fiscal matters and policies running smoothly. Her business skills melt perfectly with her passion for helping to reduce the population of homeless cats; which is what inspired her to begin volunteering with VOKRA. She loves being a part of a charity that works to prevent the overpopulation of cats, but it’s the supportive and lasting care that she’s most proud of. Cheryl has a jam packed schedule of working and volunteering, yet she and her six cats manage to find time on weekends to relax and read.

photo(73)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.

New candidates seeking election:

karen-k-2Karen Kohfeld

I have been a foster and participated in VOKRA events for about six years. In addition to being a foster, I’ve encouraged my daughter’s participation in small ways (fundraising through a lemonade stand.), helped to set up an outreach activity at my daughter’s school and done little things at Ops when I could. For a year, I served on the VOKRA Medical Research Board, which helped to put together protocols and procedures for how fosters and volunteers should deal with various illnesses and vaccinations.  I made some contributions through researching food ingredients and by beginning to establish a protocol for reporting of vaccine reactions.  Through these experiences I have gained some understanding of the operations.  Volunteer organizations are run on the backs of volunteers and I like to contribute time and energy to what needs to be done while helping to keep the positive spirit that motivates other volunteers to do what they can do, too. My background is in science and research and I’m used to thinking systematically about problems and operations.  If asked to serve on the VOKRA Board, I would come to the organization with an open mind, a desire to listen to all voices and an interest in making informed decisions that balance new knowledge with the vast experience of people who have been working with VOKRA cats for years.  Ultimately, I want to help to keep VOKRA the strong and effective organization that it already is.


Susan Pare

I have a passion for all animals and a particular love for cats. I believe in VOKRA’s guiding beliefs and principles. I have also worked as a volunteer with VOKRA in the Cat Care Division since April 2015. My background allows me to bring many skills and experience to VOKRA’s board. I’m an enthusiastic, positive and passionate professional with more than 20 years of experience in sales as sales representative, manager, coach and trainer. I have a proven track record for achieving results through developing and coaching people, as well as providing excellent customer service. Some of my accomplishments include:

  • Successfully managed a team of 30 sales representatives, which lead to double-digit growth for seven consecutive years.
  • Developed and managed a sales team of five people with the objective of becoming one of the top 10 most recognized wineries in the world.
  • Sat at executive level weekly meetings to help roll out annual strategic plans.
  • Coached and mentored sales representatives over a period of five years, which resulted in increased productivity and efficiency within the sales division.
  • Designed and introduced three sales training manuals, which successfully became part of the Company’s orientation and training program.

helenHelen Savkovic

I’ve been involved with animal rescue since 2005 when I went down to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. While there I helped with the food and water stations, as well as animal care.  That experience changed my life.

When I returned home I became involved with a local rescue where I climbed a steep learning curve. I worked on the campaign to ban the sale of puppies in Richmond pet stores and I organized our entry in the Pepsi Challenge where we won $25,000. I remained with that group until the founder retired.

I strongly believe in the cause of animal welfare and the no-kill philosophy. I’m always eager to learn from the experts, attending conferences and lectures whenever possible, as well as visiting other animal welfare organizations locally and out-of-town. I’m very impressed with the work VOKRA does and would be honoured to serve on the board of directors.

caitlinCaitlin Spelliscy

VOKRA is an organization I have always wanted to become involved with. I love cats and VOKRA does such good work to help the cats in our community. Without VOKRA there would be many more homeless cats than there currently are and many of the cats that are rescued would not survive in a shelter setting.

In my professional life, I’m a Human Resources Manager at a company with approximately 400 employees. My career in human resources has given me experience in creating policies, implementing programs, drafting procedures and the necessary knowledge of employment laws and standards. In addition to my role as Human Resources Manager, I’m a member of the senior leadership team and this means I work closely with executives and other senior managers to ensure the operations are running smoothly and employees are happy. As VOKRA grows and may hire paid employees, my human resources knowledge would be an asset to ensure VOKRA meets and abides by all employment laws and standards.

I want to be involved in making a difference in such a reputable organization and if I were elected to the board, I feel my background, knowledge and experience would add value to VOKRA’s board and operations. My love of cats and other animals is what drives me to want to make a difference in their lives!

Nominations from the floor will also be accepted at the AGM.

2016 AGM set for October 13


VOKRA will be holding its 2016 Annual General Meeting on October 13 at the Hastings Community Centre. 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.

Thursday, October 13
7 to 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
Hastings Community Centre, Room 9, 3096 E Hastings St., Vancouver

At the AGM we will be electing a new board of directors to serve an annual term until 2017. 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.

We’re looking for board members with a desire to dedicate time to the development of VOKRA, and we could especially use people with financial and fundraising skills. 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

We are currently actively recruiting for the following board positions:

President – Provides leadership to the board; makes sure the board adheres to its bylaws and constitution; prepares the agenda for board meetings; chairs meetings of the board; keeps the board’s discussion on topic by summarizing issues; keeps the board’s activities focused on the organization’s mission; orients board members to the board; serves as ex officio member of committees and attends their meetings when possible; promotes the organization’s purpose in the community and to the media; prepares a report for the Annual General Meeting; and orients the new board chair. The president is required to attend monthly VOKRA board meetings, including preparation time to review materials, and attendance at board committee meetings on an ad-hoc basis.

Directors at Large (4) – 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.

If you’ve got what it takes and want to learn more email

Why we Walk for the Kitties


BeamerThis adorable guy is Beamer and he’s blind. He was born on a farm and most certainly wouldn’t have survived on his own.

The reality is only 25% of kittens survive without human care and, being blind, little Beamer wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Today Beamer’s in a loving foster home where he’s getting all the care and attention he deserves. He’s visited an eye specialist and his health is constantly being monitored.

Beamer is one of the thousands of reason 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 to pay for the expensive care kitties like Beamer need. Learn more here.

Beamer2Please help us help kitties like Beamer this September 18 by joining us for our 7th Annual Walk for the Kitties. 

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

Be sure to register before the early bird deadline of September 13! After that the registration fee will increase to $40.

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

Zoë Knows: 10 things that can harm your cat


Zoë’s cat Spooky

Zoë is 13 years old and loves cats. She loves learning about cats and how best to take care of them and has agreed to share her knowledge with us as she learns. When she’s not hanging out with her two cats Libra (age 5) and Spooky (age 15), Zoë likes to read, draw, cook and swim at the beach.

Cat owners are some of the most dedicated and caring pet owners out there and try their very best to make sure their cat is happy and healthy at all times. But, even the best cat owners can’t know everything about their cat, right? Luckily, you can always learn more, whether it’s a health concern, tip or just advice. Here is a list of 10 things you may not know could harm your cat.

1. Flea treatment

Most cat owners are fortunate enough not to find any fleas on their cat but, if it happens, fleas are easy to treat with a simple flea bath. However, flea and lice treatments meant for dogs or humans can contain a chemical called Permethrin, which is toxic to cats. If you’re worried about harming your cat just make sure to keep treatments or medication out of reach and if your cat does get fleas, consult your veterinarian to make sure the product you intend to use is safe for cats. Many over the counter flea medications can be dangerous. Learn more here.

2. Bones

It’s no secret cats love to eat meat and sometimes they may find a tiny scrap laying on the floor, a little piece of chicken they lick off your finger or even a chunk they stole from the dinner table. This can be pretty harmless, but what isn’t harmless is bones. The bones found in any kind of meat can scratch your cat’s throat and tongues. They can also splinter and puncture their digestive track.

3. Yarn or string

Everyone knows cats love yarn and string and if you see your cat playing with it you may find it adorable or funny, but it can actually be pretty dangerous. Your cat could strangle or choke themselves with the yarn. In this case, it’s best to opt for a cat toy.

4. Human food

We’ve already established cat are meat eaters, but something that isn’t good for them is human food, especially certain foods. You’ve probably heard chocolate is bad for dogs, but it’s actually unhealthy for cats as well. Grapes and onions are also some foods your cat should also definitely not eat. For a list of foods harmful to cats click here.

5. Liquid Air fresheners

Lots of people keep air fresheners around their house, maybe even near a litter box. But air fresheners can actually be harmful to cats, or more specifically, ones that contain cationic detergent. This can burn their mouths or even their digestive system. Try to find natural or nontoxic air fresheners.

6. Scented litter

While on the topic of scents, most cats don’t like scented litter. Cats have super sensitive smell and scented litter smells very strong to them. It can aggravate or annoy your cat and some cats may choose not to use the litter at all. If you don’t want your litter box to smell, be sure to scoop it daily and fully clean it around once a week.

7. Rat poison

Poison is still poison whatever it’s meant for. Rat poison is very dangerous for your cat. Symptoms can include paralysis, little or no appetite or trembling. If you think your cat has come into contact with rat poison immediately take him/her to the vet.

8. Toiletries

Toiletries are not the best for your cat to eat. Shampoos, face cleansers or soap would not rest well in a cat’s stomach, especially if they’re toxic or unnatural. One example is dental floss. Dental floss is like string but smoother and slimmer, so your cat getting a hold of it would be a problem because t’s easy to swallow or choke on. Try to keep toiletries contained.

9. Dryer sheets

Dryer sheets seem harmless right? Actually they’re not. Dryer sheets usually contain benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, ethanol, a- terpinol and ethyl acetate. These chemicals are harmful to your cat and its best if you keep them out of reach.

10. House plants

Lots of people know plants aren’t always safe for cats, but choose to ignore it thinking that it doesn’t matter. But cats can and will eat plants. They can get really sick too. If you want, you can go to a pet store and buy grass meant for cats for your cat to munch on, but in the meantime, research plants that are safe for cats. You can find a long list of toxic plants here.

Did any of these surprise you? Did you already know any of these? Whether you knew a few or none, I hope you learned something new that could help you become a better owner and your cat happier.