Walk for Dino

Dino is one of this year’s six Walk for the Kitties spokeskitties. Here’s his special story.

dino - toys

Dino and his mom Deanna were living under a woodpile when they were rescued. During an exam the vet discovered the little five-week old had a broken thigh bone that would require surgery. He’d been living with the injury for quite a long time and must have been in a lot of pain.

IMG_2170Because of Dino’s young age, it was originally thought his leg would need to be amputated. But a specialist surgeon was called in and was able to save the leg by putting in a plate to fix his thighbone.

For the first week after surgery Dino was able to scamper around with a cast, but once the cast came off and the leg was wrapped he was confined to bed rest. No running, no jumping, no fun! Dino was a champ though and after another check-up the surgery was considered a success.

It’s now been almost two months after Dino’s surgery and he’s on the road to a full recovered. As you can see in this video, he’s getting around with no problems and his foster mom, VOKRA co-founder Karen, says he’ll soon be ready for adoption.

To date, it’s cost us more than $2,000 to make sure Dino has the best life possible. And he’s just one of the many kittens with special needs we rescue ever year.

Will you be walking for Dino and all the kittens that need a little extra help?

On September 13 VOKRA will be holding it’s 6th Annual Walk for the Kitties. It’s our biggest fundraiser and this year our goal is to raise $50,000.

CHOOSE YOUR KITTY –  Each one of our spokeskitties have a tale to tell and represent different activities we do here at VOKRA. You can read all their stories here and decide which kitty you’d like to walk for.

REGISTER – Click here

GATHER DONATIONS – Ask your friends, family, and others to support you in walking for the kitties. The walk itself is a celebration of the support you’ve been able to gather. Learn more about how to raise funds here.

WALK – Join us at Jericho Beach on September 13. Rain or Shine!

CELEBRATE – Congratulate yourself on doing a good thing. Know that a cat or kitten today is receiving help that could only be supplied through your generosity.

Learn more about Walk for the Kitties here.

2015 AGM set for August 27

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VOKRA will be holding its 2015 Annual General Meeting on August 27, our second since we officially became a society last year. 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.

2015 VOKRA AGM
Thursday, August 27
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
VOKRA Operations Centre at 2028 Wall Street, Vancouver
RSVP & BECOME A SOCIETY MEMBER 

At the AGM we will be electing a new board of directors to serve an annual term until August 2016. 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
  • Attendance at membership meetings
  • Support of special events
  • Support of and participation in fundraising events

Board positions include:

President Emeritus – Provides VOKRA historical perspective to the board members; keeps the board’s activities focused on the organization’s mission and makes sure the board adheres to its bylaws and constitution. Required to attend monthly VOKRA Board meetings, including preparation time to review materials.

Chair – 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. Required to attend monthly VOKRA board meeting, including preparation time to review materials, and attendance at board committee meetings on an ad-hoc basis.

Vice Chair – Acts in the absence of the chairperson; works closely as consultant and advisor to the chairperson; and orients the new vice chair. Required to attend monthly VOKRA board meeting, including preparation time to review materials.

Secretary – Keeps copies of the organization’s bylaws and the board’s policy statements; keeps lists of officers, board members, committees and general membership; notifies board members of meetings; brings official minute book to meetings; keeps record of board attendance; makes sure that there is a quorum at board meetings; keeps accurate minutes of meetings; records all motions and decisions of meetings; keeps copies of minutes of both board and committee meetings; distributes copies of minutes to board members promptly after meetings; files the annual return, amendments to the bylaws and other incorporating documents; makes sure members are notified of general meetings; and in the absence of the chairperson and vice chairperson, chairs board meetings until the election of an alternate chairperson. Required to attend monthly VOKRA board meeting, including preparation time to review materials.

Treasurer – Gives regular reports to the Board on the financial state of the organization; keeps financial reports on file; undertakes special projects to reduce costs; chairs the finance committee; acts as signing officer, with another officer or executive director for cheques and other documents; and orients the new treasurer. Required to attend monthly VOKRA Board meeting, including preparation time to review materials and monthly finance committee meeting to prepare up to date financial statements.

Directors at Large – 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, OMT, volunteers and community to enhance VOKRA’s mission. Require 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 communications@vokra.ca

Get Your Back to School Gift Cards

VOKRA-Back-to-School-smlHelp save kitties just by doing your back to school shopping!

Purchase a gift card through us and the retailer donates to VOKRA – and you still receive full value for your card. Use the gift cards for school supplies, computers, clothing, meals, and more!

Some of the many retailers included in the program are:

Staples
The Bay
London Drugs
Shoppers Drug Mart
Sears
Best Buy
Chapters/Indigo
The Gap, Old Navy & Banana Republic
Sport Chek
Walmart
Winners
+ grocery stores, including Safeway & Save On Foods
and many more!

You can view the full list at vokra.ca/giftcards. To purchase simply email us at vokragiftcards@gmail.com. Payment and delivery options can be arranged via email. The next order deadline is August 30 so be sure to get your order in before then!

Cool the Kitties at the VOKRA Operations Centre

HELP VOKRA KEEP OUR KITTIES COOL!

Here at the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA), we think cats are the coolest thing going. We need your help to keep them that way!

Our recently expanded Operations Centre lacks air conditioning and, despite the heroic efforts of around-the-clock volunteers armed with ice packs, fans, portable air conditioners and sardine snow-cones, we have not been able to maintain a building temperature that will keep our kitties comfortable and healthy. Your donation today will help us install much-needed central air conditioning.

VOKRA takes in more than 1,800 abandoned and feral cats every year. Our Operations Center houses the most vulnerable cats in our care: cats waiting to be fostered, animals recovering from illness, moms-to-be and kittens. It’s very important they are free from physical and mental stressors, including temperature and humidity changes. Cats can only “sweat” through their paw pads and by panting so their small bodies are easily overwhelmed by heat. They’re just not as efficient at cooling off as humans are.

We’re part way to achieving our goal since a donor has kindly stepped forward and provided us with an industrial air conditioning unit. But unfortunately we lack the funds to install it. Your gift today would go a long way to helping us achieve our goal of cooling the kitties!

Donate Button

Catfe Volunteers Needed

catfe logoCATFE – Vancouver’s first cat café. Yes, you read that right. Starting October 2015, our lovely city will be opening a café in Tinseltown that includes the company of cats. Catfe will serve drinks, snacks, cat merchandise, and most importantly, it will house 10 permanent rescue cats. VOKRA is happy to be affiliated with Catfe and is excited about having our own adoption room to showcase adoptable cats.

However, from now until October, lots of hard work needs to be put in to ensure a successful opening for Catfe and for our VOKRA cats. We are in search of many helping hands – if you are a cat lover and have previous volunteer experience with VOKRA, please sign up!

Short-term, during the process of selecting the 10 permanent cats that will reside in Catfe, we are in need of people to:

  • Assist in transporting cats in and out of Catfe
  • Work with the introduction of cats to each other (and their new home)
  • Help train the Catfe team to provide cat care

Longer term, once the cats are settled in, we’ll need ongoing people to help Catfe to:

  • Monitor the cats in the Catfe environment
  • Provide additional coaching to the Catfe employees on cat care, cat health, etc.

For either category of volunteer, some desired qualifications are:

  • A Cat lover with previous volunteer experience with VOKRA
  • Flexibility around Downtown Vancouver and Catfe (88 West Pender St.)
  • Able to attend a monthly meeting in August and September (ongoing Catfe volunteers may be required to attend additional meetings once the Catfe opens)

There’s no specific number of volunteers we are looking for at present, so if you’re interested, please contact catfevolunteers@vokra.ca. Be sure to include your phone number, email, what you’re interested in doing (setup or ongoing) and your previous volunteer experience with VOKRA.

Zoë Knows: Keeping Your Cat Cool in the Summer

Zoë is 11 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 4) and Spooky (age 14), Zoë likes to read, draw, cook, and swim at the beach. 

Yes, cats like to be warm, and can usually be found sleeping in the sunniest spots of the house, but what many cat owners don’t feel the need to consider is that cats (like humans) do experience discomfort in the heat. So as the temperature rises, it’s your job as a cat owner to know how to keep your cat happy this Summer and for years to come.

My grandparents' cat, Ginny, cooling her belly

My grandparents’ cat, Ginny, cooling her belly

#1. It’s as important for cats to stay hydrated as it is for humans. Some owners like to put ice cubes in their cat’s water bowl, but I prefer to use refrigerated water and sometimes freeze the bowl. You should also make sure to refill the bowls frequently and maybe have multiple bowls around your house.

#2. Another way to keep your cat cool is to give them little “baths”. But don’t worry, you won’t need to dunk your cat in freezing water, a scenario only resulting in scratches and hissing. All you need to do is fill a bowl with cold water and find your cat. It’s best to do this when your cat is lying down, or maybe a bit tired. You definitely don’t want to force this on your cat, certain cats might not like this. Either wet your hands, or wet a small towel and gently rub your cat. If you have a kitten, it may remind them of their mother grooming them.

#3. If you’re cat is longhaired, you might want to give them a small haircut. This will not only make it more comfortable for them, but it will be easier for you to groom them. You should also groom your cat more often since in the summer cats shed a lot.

#4. Your cat needs a cool place to sleep. Keep a few spaces uncovered by carpet or blankets for your cat to lie on. If your windows need to be open, you should have secure screens, of course. But we have had too many VOKRA foster cats push screens out and escape this summer! We recommend that windows be locked in place and not open more than two inches. Consider putting a fan near one of your cat’s favourite sleeping spots. Make sure that shade is available and that your cat is never overheating.

#5. When we’re focusing on what to do, its hard to remember that there are things that we shouldn’t do. First of all is gel packs. We do not recommend using these to keep your cat cool as they may contain toxic ingredients that may be dangerous to your cat if they chew on the pack. Ice packs under towels are okay though.

Any time you see your cat panting, having trouble breathing, (looking like he’s) losing consciousness or even drooling take action and go to a vet immediately. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cat, especially if your cat is a senior.

Though this past week or two our weather hasn’t been super sunny, it’s still important to know the basics. Once you know that your cat is safe, both you and your cat can relax and enjoy the long, hot summer break.

My cat, Libra, considering a cool bath

My cat, Libra, considering a cool bath

Volunteer of the Month, July 2015!

With summer in full swing, VOKRA is in amazing spirits and is once again thankful for all the help that comes from volunteers – especially in this heat! They are dedicated, high-spirited, and full of joy. This month, we’d like to dedicate our Volunteer of the Month post to Elaine Lai, a long-running, devoted VOKRA volunteer.

Elaine first started her volunteering at VOKRA in 2010 as a foster. Elaine cared for and saw many kittens off to their forever homes but there was one that didn’t quite work out that way. Apparently Kaleia’s forever home turned out to be Elaine’s house! We call this a Foster Fail but it’s really a success all around, don’t you think?

Kaleia's and her siblings while in foster with Elaine

Kaleia and her siblings while in foster with Elaine

Kaleia, from foster cat to family cat

Kaleia today,  all grown up and happy in her forever home with Elaine

Since Kaleia made three permanent cats at Elaine’s house, there was now a shortage of room for fostering, which prompted Elaine to join Peggy’s rockin’ Adoptions Team to help interview potential adopters. She described this position as “playing matchmaker for adopters to their meant-to-be kitties” and the role is essentially eHarmony, but for kittens and cats! That’s one fun way to describe the Adoptions Team! Elaine loved being a part of the Adoptions Team, being able to help people find their lifelong partners.

When Elaine had to move to Whistler for a work contract in 2013 she was unable to stay with the Adoptions Team. However, she and her inventive self thought of a way to continue contributing to VOKRA despite not being in Vancouver, through raising money for our organization. She started her Knittin’ for Kittens and Crocheting for Cats at VOKRA Facebook page, in which she knitted items to sell. In 2014, the sales raised over $1000! Now, there’s an entire team behind the page, expanding the catalogue for increasing sales.

Cheeky cat bum coasters, as part of the catalogue.

Cheeky cat bum coasters, as part of the catalogue.

Click here to order your own!

Elaine in a sea of donated yarn  – happy knitting!

Elaine in a sea of donated yarn – happy knitting!

Elaine’s involvement with VOKRA does not stop here though. Having recently moved back to Vancouver, she has joined the Donations Team as an appreciation-giver, personally thanking all of VOKRA’s supporters who have donated through Canada Helps. Morgan from VOKRA’s Board of Directors says,

Elaine is amazing. She is my favourite kind of volunteer – one who takes initiative but always checks in to make sure she’s on track. And she always is. She is dependable, creative, committed and has an infectious enthusiasm. I really love working with Elaine and know that our valued donors are in great hands with her on board.

The generosity and kindness of VOKRA’s donors is humbling, and often moves Elaine to tears. Both VOKRA and our kitties appreciate every donation, no matter big or small. Every bit helps, and can definitely make a difference.

Having given so much time and effort to VOKRA throughout the last five years, we really give our biggest thanks to Elaine. She has done so much to help this organization expand, and ultimately help us grow into the best VOKRA we can be. Although it is Elaine’s job to give appreciation, let the roles be reversed this one time to say a huge thank you to you, Elaine! We appreciate all that you do to help us, as well as the kitties. You, empower us. Knit on!

If you would like to get involved with our wonderful VOKRA team, please visit our website for more information, and apply to volunteer today!

Post written by Aurora C