2016 AGM set for October 13

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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.

2016 VOKRA AGM
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
RSVP & BECOME A SOCIETY MEMBER

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 communications@vokra.ca

Why we Walk for the Kitties

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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

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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.

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.

Wanted: Reception Team Members

IMG_5924Our reception team works at our Operations Centre in East Vancouver and is the first point of contact for all our visitors and guests.

In addition to greeting visitors and acting as the face of VOKRA, the reception team also helps with data entry, filing, ensuring volunteers sign-in for their shifts, managing food/litter inventory, selling VOKRA merchandise and, most importantly, cuddling with our beautiful kitties!

The reception team makes sure our Operations Centre runs smoothly which is critical. The Centre is our home base and is the place where kitties first enter our system and it’s also the hub for our foster program.

Reception team volunteers must commit to a minimum of one 2 hour shift per week for at least six months.

To apply to join our reception team click here.

Volunteer of the Month – August 2016


NatashaWe hope all our volunteers had an amazing time at our Volunteer Appreciation BBQ last month! Now we’re back to our regular Volunteer of the Month feature and for August we’d like to give all our thanks to Natasha Wodak!

Not only is Natasha a valued volunteer, she’s also a professional distance runner, athlete ambassador for Asics Canada and, come August 12, she’ll also be an Olympian when she steps on the track in Rio!

Running is no doubt one of Natasha’s top passions, but cuddling with kitties is definitely right up there. She started volunteering at VOKRA in October 2014 as a cat care volunteer coming in each Friday for a shift whenever she’s in town. She feeds the kitties, cleans litter boxes and cages, does dishes and laundry and, best of all, she cuddles all the kitties to help them socialize.

One of Natasha’s best moments volunteering was bottle-feeding a newborn kitten for the first time and it nearly brought tears to her eyes. Like all volunteers, Natasha has met a lot of cats that have a special place in her heart, but here she tell us the story of her first foster:

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“Feeona was my foster kitty for a year and a half,” explains Natasha. “I met her last November when she was only eight months old after she was brought to the Operations Centre for the second time because she wasn’t using her litter box. She was the sweetest little thing and I fell in love with her instantly. I wasn’t looking to foster, but after three weeks of seeing her every Friday in a cage at Ops I had to take her home. In the time I had her she made loads of progress with using her box, but still, every few days she’d have an accident. Just about three weeks ago I had to give her to another foster. It was too hard for me to take care of her with all my travelling. My heart broke seeing her go, but I’m happy to hear she’s doing well and settled into a nice home on Gabriola Island.”

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Feeona

The hardest part about volunteering at VOKRA for Natasha is seeing all of the neglected, abandoned and abused cats. However, the most rewarding part about volunteering is knowing what a difference all the volunteers make for these cats; more than a thousand kitties are saved each year! It makes Natasha extremely happy to know she’s helping all the helpless kitties in every way she can. She also loves taking photos of all the cats and kittens she works with, so check out her Instagram at @tasha_wodak if you want to melt from all the cuteness (and follow her Olympic experience)!

We want to thank Natasha for all her hard work and devotion to VOKRA, even with her busy schedule as a professional athlete. We also want to wish her the best of luck at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. She’s one of the most kindhearted volunteers we know and she most definitely deserves an Olympic medal. So again, good luck Tasha in Rio – do it for the kitties!

Natasha_4531You can cheer on Nastasha as she competes in the Women’s 10,000m on August 12 at 7:10 a.m.!

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.