Andy Loves Alice

In August of last year, Alice and her brother Andy were brought to VOKRA with their feral mother. These tiny kittens were only about seven weeks old and were very sick. They had severe conjunctivitis and pneumonia but, over time, were nursed back to health by VOKRA’s volunteer Cat Care team.

Andy at intake

Andy at intake

Alice at intake, nasty conjunctivitis and pneumonia

Alice at intake

Little Alice was touch and go for a long time and there were several days when we didn’t think she would make it. But she is a feisty little fluffybutt and pulled through.

The two siblings were finally well enough to go to foster at the end of September. They were lucky enough to head to the caring home of Dawn and Matt, no strangers to kitty illnesses. Dawn and Matt’s beloved 18 year old cat Delilah lived for the last year of her life with a variety of illnesses requiring medications, subcutaneous fluids, and other treatments to be administered regularly. When she passed away early last year, Dawn and Matt decided to foster with VOKRA and share their love and experience with some cats and kittens in need. They are great fosters and, when the chance to care for Alice and Andy came up, they didn’t hesitate. Andy had fully recovered but Alice’s breathing still sounded rough, like upper respiratory congestion, and she still required drops and cream for her eyes twice a day.
Feeling lots better and in foster

The medication helped clear up Alice’s eyes so she could watch late night TV more clearly

Since being in our care, Alice has had numerous treatments but nothing ever seems to clear things up completely. Still, we keep trying! We have worked with our vets to determine the cause of her trouble, testing her for nearly every possible thing: Leukaemia, herpes, bacterial infection–all tests have come back negative. She has been on antibiotics six times. We have changed her litter and food several times and tried giving her antihistamines in hopes that it might be something as simple as allergies. No luck there either. No matter what we do to try to help her, Alice keeps getting better…then getting sick again. She has trouble breathing and, when it gets really bad, she has to breath through her mouth and go back on the antibiotics.
Alice at one of her many vet visits

Alice at one of her many vet visits

Alice has had a nasal flush and an endoscopy. The nasal flush gave her some relief for a few weeks. The endoscopy revealed a partial collapse in her nasal passage. But that doesn’t explain the constant congestion and her breathing troubles. She has had two stays at the emergency vet where she had to have immediate, life-saving, medical intervention in order to get her hydration up and her fever down.
One vet thinks the partial nasal collapse is what is causing the trouble. Another vet is not convinced that is the case. So she’s now been referred to a specialist and we hope we’ll have some answers soon.
Dawn and Matt are as dedicated caregivers as these sweet kittens could hope for. Dawn tells us,
I wash her little face with a warm cloth everyday and I have spent endless moments sitting in the bathroom with the hot steam of the shower running in order to give her a bit of relief.

 But there is not a lot of relief for this poor kitten. Since being in foster with Dawn and Matt, Alice has had:

  • 12 vet visits
  • 4 different vets
  • 6 rounds of antibiotics
  • 3 sedations (endoscopy and spay, herpes swab, bacterial swab and nasal flush)
  • numerous rounds of medication

Despite the strain of all these tests and treatments, Alice is a force to be reckoned with. She is a precocious little girl who finds trouble wherever she can when she is feeling well.

Alice screen climbing

Alice has a zest for life and is absolutely fearless. She isn’t even afraid of the super high-powered hand-vacuum!

You talkin’ to me, vacuum?

Dawn absolutely adores these two special sibs.
Alice and Andy are two of the most affectionate kittens I have ever come across. Alice craves kisses and will thrust her face into yours in order to get one. Andy doesn’t so much love to be kissed as pet and cuddled. He throws himself at our feet in dramatic fits of longing.
Throughout all of her trials, Andy is constantly by Alice’s side and he cries non-stop when she is not near. These two do everything together, including using the litter box! If she goes, he goes too and vice versa. The first time Dawn took Alice to the vet, Andy buried himself under blankets until she came home. And when she finally did, he nuzzled in and literally wrapped his arms around her.
Alice and Andy

Andy is so relieved when Alice returns from the vet

Isn’t Alice lucky to have her brother Andy to love her? She’s also lucky she ended up with VOKRA. We are a no-kill rescue so we will continue to work with our vets to figure out what’s making Alice sick and, hopefully, we can give her some relief soon. But, as you can imagine, doing so isn’t cheap.

The vet costs for this eight-month old survivor have, so far, totalled more than $2600. We are waiting for the latest test results from the specialist but, if those tests come back negative, the next step would be a CT scan in hopes of a diagnosis. The estimate for that scan is over $2500. We have no idea how we will afford that, let alone the cost of treatment should we be lucky enough to finally get an accurate diagnosis. 

Our vets help us make caring for kitties like Alice more manageable by giving us great rates. They often waive the examination fees and provide us with medications. The amount of Alice’s vet bills would be significantly higher if we had to pay standard rates for everything and we are most grateful to our caring vet partners. But we still desperately need help to pay for Alice’s ongoing medical care if she is to get well. Also, we wouldn’t think of splitting Alice and Andy up, so we will continue to pay for Andy’s food and litter in foster rather than having him placed for adoption on his own.

These kittens didn’t deserve to be born outside, uncared for and exposed to illnesses. They didn’t deserve to suffer without medical attention for weeks before VOKRA got involved. They deserve a forever home where they can live long, healthy lives, and where Alice can receive the medical treatments she needs. Don’t they?

Andy loves Alice

Andy loves Alice

 As special as Alice is, she is not the only kitty in VOKRA’s care who requires extensive and expensive care. Please help us continue caring for brave little Alice and other sick kitties like her by making a donation to VOKRA today. You may not be in a position to contribute time or have the cat care experience to help the way Dawn and Matt do, but your financial contribution of any amount will be so appreciated and will absolutely make a difference; possibly the difference between life and death. We’d love to be able to pay off Alice’s vet bills but, more importantly, we want to be sure we have the funds to cover the future bills we know are looming for her.

Please help Alice keep fighting, adventuring, and snuggling with her brother Andy. Write “For Alice” in the comment field and donate to VOKRA today.

Alice ready for her close up

Compassionate Kids–Kate and Jack

We had some special visitors to our Operations Centre last week. One of our great Cat Care Volunteers, Helen, brought her grandchildren Kate and Jack down to learn about what VOKRA does and, yes, pet some kitties.

Kate and Jack got to sit in the birthday chair!

Kate and Jack got to sit in the birthday chair!

Jack was making a donation to VOKRA. For his birthday this year, he collected from his guests in support of VOKRA.

Thumbs up indeed, Jack!

Thumbs up indeed, Jack!

Pretty great, right? Well, that’s just how these kids roll. Last year, Kate did the same at her birthday party and collected donations for VOKRA too!

Kate the Great on her birthday!

Kate the Great on her birthday!

On their recent visit, Jack and Kate got to see their donations at work. They had a tour of the facilities, heard about how volunteers like their awesome grandma devote time, energy and love to caring for our cats, and also got a lesson in trapping feral cats as our Trappers Maria and Janet were on hand. Hmmm…the next generation of trappers? We’ll look forward to your help when you’re a little older, guys!

Tiny trappers at work!

Tiny trappers at work!

Thanks for supporting VOKRA, Kate and Jack, and for being Compassionate Kids!

Volunteer of the Month–March 2015!

Bluntly put, VOKRA would cease to exist if it weren’t for all the brilliance, hard work, drive, and support from our volunteers. And right meow, it is time for our Volunteer of the Month, March edition!

This month we are giving big thanks and gratitude to Jessica MacDuff.

We can also give a shout out to the internet for providing Jessica the opportunity to come across VOKRA. She came across us while doing research online about working with animals and knew immediately we were the right fit. She has been a volunteer for five months now, and counting. What can we say? Kitties are irresistible to work with; working with cats and just cats is a dream come true for Jessica.

Volunteering twice a week, we always look forward to seeing Jessica every Monday and Friday. She puts in a great amount of effort to make sure our environment is spotless. Along with cleaning duties, Jessica also shares her big and accepting heart with kittens.

Though picking favourite kitties is like picking a favourite child, Jessica has noted Poosh, Oskar, and Heathcliffe as a few of her favourite and adored kittens. Ultimate #SelfiesWithKitties for the win!

Poosh (one of Jessica’s favourites), looking adorable, as per usual

Poosh looking adorable, as per usual

Jessica rocking the selfie trend at Ops. #AdorableGlamour

Jessica rocking the selfie trend at Ops. #AdorableGlamour

Not only do the kittens love Jessica, so do we!

Shelley says,

She works her butt off scrubbing floors, kennels, whatever we need. And she is amazing; she comes in and cleans every single thing in the wash up area (almost unheard of), washes the floors, cleans dirty kennels…she absolutely never stops moving.

Karen tells us,

Jessica goes nuts cleaning all over like a whirling dervish!

Tasha reports,

She’s delightful!

Appreciated by both cats and the VOKRA team? Now that is a sign that Jessica is undoubtedly one of the most hard-working, selfless, and joyful volunteers we’ve ever had. Seriously, thank you Jessica, for all that you do for VOKRA. You are magnificent; rock 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!

Volunteer of the Month–February 2015

How can we say thank you to so many wonderful volunteers that help VOKRA? How do we celebrate people who rock?

By having a Volunteer of the Month!

This month we’d like to send out a big thank you to Karen and Al Ingram.

Since March of 2014 Karen and Al have been an amazing addition to our driving team – taking kitties to vet appointments and to foster homes all over the Lower Mainland.

They are always quick to respond to driving requests and ready to do whatever is needed, often doing multiple trips a day or giving up their weekends. A reliable pair that we appreciate so much!

Long time cat volunteers, they were no strangers to the needs VOKRA faces. As Karen told us,

I had heard of VOKRA and talked to Al about doing some volunteer work. We volunteered for 10 years with Meow-Aid and Mandy Butcher in the 1990’s so we had a good idea of what volunteering for a cat group was about. We didn’t want to do cat care again right away and we noticed that there was a constant need for drivers. We felt we could best help VOKRA by being available to shuttle kitties.

Karen & Al get ready for another volunteer shift

Karen & Al get ready for another volunteer shift

 

Driving involves more than pick ups and drop offs for Karen and Al.

 

We both really enjoy meeting all the different people including fosters, vets, trappers, fundraisers and the people volunteering at the Operations Centre doing cat care, reception and adoption interviews.We live very close to Ops and when we are booked to do a drive we look forward to visiting the kitties that are at Ops as well as having a chat with Shelley, Karen, Maria or Michele and anybody else who happens to be diligently caring for the kitties or attending to the everyday needs of Ops. We are proud to be a part of VOKRA and hope to continue for many years.

 

We’re proud to have you both on our team!

Thank you Karen and Al for all the hard work you put in helping VOKRA save the kitties!

 

Thank you, Karen & Al!

Thank you, Karen & Al!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please visit our website to find out more.

A Forever Home for a Forever Friend

Cats are smart. Often they know how to find just the right person when they need help. That’s what Rusti did; he found Annabelle.

Annabelle, in her mid-90s, lives in her own home with her grandson in the lower suite to help her out when she needs it. We don’t know Rusti’s story before he started coming around Annabelle’s house but he had been living on the streets for a while and needed a little help himself. Concerned about him, Annabelle started feeding Rusti and letting him come into her home for visits. Thus began a wonderful friendship and things went on this way for many months.

But one day when Rusti came for a visit, he appeared to have an injured leg so Annabelle’s grandson called VOKRA for help. We picked up Rusti and brought him to our Operations Centre where he was an immediate hit with everyone who met him. Affectionate and playful, loving and attention-seeking, our volunteers all fell in love with Rusti, just like Annabelle had.

Handsome Rusti

Rusti was assessed by our medical team and, thankfully, was not badly injured, but he was definitely showing signs of surviving on the streets alone for too long. An outdoor life is no life for a cat, even if you do have somewhere and someone wonderful to visit. VOKRA began the process of getting Rusti healthy and strong again and started looking for the best possible foster home for him. Rusti would have a happy ending, for sure…but not everyone was happy.

Concerned for her furry friend, Annabelle grew upset. She wanted to be sure he was well-taken care of and felt helpless without being able to check on him daily. Her grandson talked to us about it and we asked Annabelle to come down for a visit.

It turns out, Annabelle knows a little about what VOKRA does. Before retiring, she worked for many years as an adoptions social worker, placing kids from foster care with forever families. When Karen from VOKRA found this out, she and Annabelle talked about the parallels between her work and Annabelle’s. They talked about how Annabelle always worked to find the best match and to place the children in her care into loving homes where they would be safe forever. They talked about how VOKRA does the same thing with cats in our care. Karen promised Annabelle we would do that for Rusti.

Rusty loves Neck Rubs

Reluctantly, but knowing her friend was in the care of people she could trust, Annabelle generously made a donation to VOKRA and said good-bye to Rusti.

Annabelle & Rusti

Since then, true to Karen’s promise, Rusti was moved to a wonderful foster home with one of our experienced fosters, Viral DL. Viral DL dubbed him Rambunctious Rusti and enjoyed giving in to Rusti’s demands for affection and playtime. He got used to Rusti hanging out on his lap and his funny way of plopping down on Viral DL’s thigh and hugging him with all four of his legs! Rusti had made yet another friend.

Rusty Cozy in his Foster Home

But the job of the foster is to care for our cats until their forever homes are found. And Viral DL knew there was a loving person out there waiting for Rusti, someone would spend lots of time with this special guy and keep him safe forever. Viral DL wrote the following as part of Rusti’s adoption profile:

He is the most affectionate cat I have ever taken care of and he deserves a loving home. I am certain he will give more love to you than you could ever give to him.

One lucky couple is about to find out if Viral DL’s prediction was accurate–Rusti is heading to his forever home this weekend! His adopters are cat lovers who recently had to say good-bye to their feline friend of 19 years. We are all thrilled for Rusti that he too will have the chance to live a long and happy life with this family and get, and give, lots of love.

Thank you, Annabelle. You helped so many people build their families in your lifetime and now you’ve helped that happen once again. Congratulations, Rusti. We are all so glad you knew where to turn for help.

If you need help with a stray or injured cat in your neighbourhood, please contact us.

And please consider making a donation, like Annabelle did, to help us help more cats like Rusti.

Volunteer of the Month, January 2015

We’ve said it before, but we can’t say it too many times–our volunteers rock! VOKRA is 100% run by a fantastic team of dedicated volunteers. One way that we’d like to show our appreciation for this great bunch of caring people is by dedicating a monthly blog post to recognizing a volunteer of the month; someone who has really gone above and beyond (whether by fostering sick kitties, driving cats to vet appointments, taking on extra cat care shifts at our Operations Centre, helping with fundraising, or something else entirely) to help VOKRA save lives!

Our first Volunteer of the Month is…drumroll please…Wendy Rogers Kuramoto!

We love us some Wendy

Wendy has been a dedicated volunteer with VOKRA since she began fostering in June of 2011. Since that time she has fostered 125 cats and kittens. Wendy has volunteered with many aspects of the organization such as completing adoption paperwork, interviewing new fosters, supporting Richmond fosters, walking in the Pride Parade with the VOKRA float, helping with information tables, driving kitties, trapping cats, searching for lost cats, and helping with the annual VOKRA walk (just to name a few!).

Wendy has a heart of gold and is always willing to help a cat in need. She’s currently fostering Nala, a kitty who came to VOKRA neglected, starving, shy, and pregnant. After losing her premature kittens Nala was very sick, but she was nursed back to health under Wendy’s loving care and is now healthy, happy, and leaving for her forever home soon!

Nala

Since fostering her first mama cat Wendy has never looked back!

I started fostering with VOKRA in June of 2011 after my beloved Keiko kitty died unexpectedly. She was 16 and my house was completely empty without her. I got approved on a Wednesday and by Sunday we had our first pregnant foster. She was a lovely little cat who had been locked out when she came home pregnant. She stayed with us for 3 weeks and delivered six healthy babies. From then on I was hooked and we have had 15 pregnants, bottle feeding newborns, abandoned kittens and adults who needed temporary placements.

Wendy has a special fondness for mama cats and their babies.

My favorite things are when the Mama cats realize they are warm and safe and will never be hungry again and that their babies are safe. And kittens! I love having kittens romping all over my house!!

Kittens!

Kittens!

Another of Wendy’s favourite things about volunteering with VOKRA is the other volunteers.

I love the other volunteers too. They are amazingly dedicated, compassionate, loving, generous and fun people who work tirelessly to help the cats!!

At VOKRA, our volunteers become family.

I feel like VOKRA and the cats saved me. They bring me laughter and happiness and cuddles and a sense of purpose and I can NOT imagine not being a part of this wonderful organization!!Wendy is irresistible

THANK YOU WENDY

for all that you do to help VOKRA save kitties!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please visit vokra.ca/volunteer to find out more

Dear Kiki, Love Santa

VOKRA works with all kinds of people throughout the year. We cooperate with other rescue organizations, with our volunteers, with community members and business owners. But this year, we worked with somebody really special; the big guy himself. That’s right, we know Santa.

An awesome little girl named Kiki had a very special request for Santa this year. While other kids asked for Frozen dolls and Minecraft games, Kiki had something different she wanted.

Kiki Letter

Pretty great, right? Yup, pretty great. But it gets better. You see, when Santa received her letter, he knew exactly what to do. It just so happens that Santa understands how many cats need loving homes and the importance of “adopt don’t shop”. He wanted to find just the right buddy for Kiki. So he got in touch with us. Come Christmas morning, lucky little Kiki found a very special letter waiting for her.

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I mean, we knew Santa was cool but he knocked it out of the park with this one, didn’t he?

So, Kiki and her family went to Talia’s foster home on Christmas Day where there was yet another surprise: Talia had a brother, George, who would be joining Kiki’s family too! Talia and George said goodbye to their VOKRA foster, who had taken excellent care of them while they were waiting for their forever family, and headed off to their new home. Merry Christmas indeed!

We are so happy that we could help Santa make this Kiki’s Christmas wish come true and that he helped us find such a wonderful home for George and Talia. We hear George is making friends with the family dog, Pepper, (you make friends by swatting someone on the nose, right?) and that, despite being nervous for a few days, Talia is now happy to be home. According to Kiki’s dad, Talia and George “are both part of the family now”.

George & Talia are Home for the Holidays

George & Talia – Home for the Holidays

We know Kiki will take good care of her new furry friends because, as already established, she’s an awesome kid. And Santa, well, he proved, once again, that there is magic at Christmas. But we would be remiss if we didn’t mention how great Kiki’s dad, Jeff, is too. After all, he drove the car to pick up the new kitties and bring them home.

Welcome home, George and Talia. What a wonderful family you’ve joined.

We wish you all health and happiness for many, many years to come.