Frodo – The Boy with a Wobble

Frodo

This adorable little scamp is Frodo and he has a case of the wobbles.

The official term for Frodo’s condition is Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia and it’s a neurological condition that results in walking and balance problems. This condition does not get worse, it’s just something he was born with, and despite being unstable on his feet he’s a healthy guy who’s very determined to play.

To see a video of Frodo in action click here.

RalphieFrodo’s an extremely loving and cuddly kitty who enjoys a good snuggle when he’s not playing with his toys. He runs and runs to try to catch his ball or feather, usually under the watchful eye of his mom Ralphie who’s there to help him out if he needs it. When he succeeds with his catch she’s right there to congratulate him and give him a kiss and a clean-up. Ralphie seems to understand his condition and, as the two are quite bonded, they need to be adopted together. She is a lovely slender calico with a friendly disposition who enjoys the company of adults and kids alike.

Some adaptations in the home will need to be made for Frodo to ensure he has a safe and accessible environment. He needs a low litter box so he is able to get in and out easily and safety around stairs is important. Slippery surfaces can also be a challenge, so if you have hard surface flooring some carpet runner in strategic places would be a good bet.

As the “mom” of my very own wobbly cat I can personally attest to the endless amounts of happiness they bring. Their determination is endless and inspirational. Frodo is a very loving, funny little guy who will be sure to give you endless hours of smiles and joy.

You can learn more about Frodo here and more about Ralphie here.

Representing Canada, VOKRA, & Crazy Cat People: Spotlight on Natasha Wodak

The last couple of years have treated Natasha Wodak very well.  She’s set the Canadian Women’s 10 km record (with an outstanding time of 31 minutes and 14 seconds!), qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and started volunteering once a week with VOKRA. Of all of her amazing accomplishments, Wodak states that she’s the most excited about spending a couple of hours tending to the kitties at VOKRA – okay, this part may entirely be conjecture on the part of the writer. It is true, however, that Natasha has become an amazing part of the VOKRA family, and a volunteer force to be reckoned with.

Photo by David McColm

Photo by David McColm

On Sunday June 28th, Wodak will be leading Team VOKRA in the Scotiabank Half Marathon and 5km Charity Challenge. Despite her record breaking year, Natasha has still found the time to run for fun (something that most people have yet to figure out how to do), and to help out a good cause while she’s at it! She’s expected to place in one of the top positions at this year’s Scotiabank Half-Marathon, but Wodak says she’ll be “having fun, and wearing kitty ears!” 

Yep, Natasha truly has hit her stride, and she cites that her personal success is due to a key aspect she integrates into her life – balance. For Natasha, volunteering at VOKRA allows her to indulge in her self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady” interests, but it also allows her to contribute to her community, and creates an equilibrium with the other, more stressful aspects of her life (like qualifying for the Olympics!). Her system works, and Natasha’s passions shine through in every aspect of her life. She is a “crazy cat lady,” as well as a “crazy runner lady,” and both titles suit her just fine.

Natasha first took the opportunity to combine these interests in a very public way during the 2015 Sun Run. “I was getting weird looks from the other athletes in the elite starting tent for writing VOKRA down my leg with a sharpie” Wodak laughs, “but I hope that it made some people go home and Google VOKRA so they could learn a little about the organization.” Wodak achieved an amazing time of 32 minutes, 28 seconds in the 2015 Sun Run, placing second in the Elite Women’s category.

Photo by Rita Ivanauskas

Photo by Rita Ivanauskas

Natasha says the most distinct aspect of VOKRA is “the people working behind the scenes.” When asked about her favourite VOKRA experience, Wodak cites a time around the holidays when she came in for one of her regular volunteer shifts. The Operations Centre was overflowing with kitties waiting to be fostered or adopted. The next week when Natasha returned, most of the kitties had been relocated – being placed in the homes of devoted fosters or adopted to fur-ever homes. “VOKRA is 100% volunteer run,” Natasha says, “and the difference that volunteers made in just one week was amazing.”

Speaking of devoted foster homes…during her tenure at VOKRA, Natasha encountered a special kitty named Feeona, who had been placed unsuccessfully in 3 different foster homes. Feeona is a nervous kitty, and her litter box habits reflect this fact. After seeingFeeona bounce from home to home, Natasha took her in as one of her own – spreading litter boxes far and wide around her house to try and help the high strung, but lovely little foster.

Natasha and her foster cat Feeona

Natasha and her VOKRA foster cat Feeona

VOKRA would like to salute Wodak for her amazing leadership skills as Captain of Team VOKRA in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, for everything she does for VOKRA, and for all of her outstanding accomplishments. We are so proud of Natasha and all the other amazing runners/fundraisers for their hard-work and efforts. We’re glad to have you on our team.

VOKRA is a Vancouver based, 100% volunteer-run, no-kill cat rescue. To learn more about the work we do, check out our website. To make a donation to our amazing Scotiabank Charity Challenge contingent, Team VOKRA, please visit our team fundraising page.

See you at the finish line!

Written by Rachael Lipetz

Zoë Knows: Caring for your Aging Cat

We are thrilled to introduce a new series on the VOKRA Blog — Zoë Knows!

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. We hope you enjoy Zoë’s first blog post. Over to you, Zoë!

Zoë and Libra

Zoë and Libra

Taking care of your cat is hard work, and this task can become much more difficult as your cat ages. But I find that these tips really help me with my old cat.

1. Take your cat to the vet

As your cat ages, they can develop many injuries or diseases. So taking your cat for check ups is an important way to keep your cat healthy. For example, we took my cat (who is 15 this September) to the vet. We found out that he had Kidney Disease and Arthritis. After that we knew the requirements to keep him healthy and realized that we had been doing some things wrong. But don’t worry, you don’t have to take your cat that much.

2. “Home Check-ups” 

If you know that your cat might be developing something, it’s a good idea to know the symptoms. That way you could do “home check-ups”. That’s when you just make sure your cat is healthy by doing small things that a vet might do. That way, if you think your cat is sick, you can take action immediately, instead of it being last minute.

3. Food

Food is very important. Make sure that you feed your cat food specified for old cats, or a type of sickness that you’re cat has. If you have two cats, it’s important to feed them separately. My youngest cat (4 years old) is overweight, so we feed her special food, but my other cat is a bit sick, and too skinny, so we feed him special food. But we have to monitor them so they don’t steal each other’s food.

4. Attention

Although this may seem greedy, your cat wants attention. Don’t focus completely on your new kitten, give both cats attention. Cats love their owners and want their owners to love them too. Make sure to treat your cat the same way you did when your cat was an adorable kitten.

5. Normal Needs…That you need to do

Normal needs suddenly become very important. Cleaning the litter (cats are very stubborn so they may not want to use the litter box unless it’s very clean), grooming (cats become less flexible as they age and might not feel like cleaning themselves and might need help), or even feeding schedules (I find it helps so my cats know when they have food). Also, peace and quiet! Give your cat attention, but don’t overwhelm her. Try to keep your cat active, but don’t push her too far.

As I said before, taking care of your aging cat is hard work, but in the end, it’s all worth it. These steps aren’t that hard, and they will keep your cat happy and healthy.

Spooky says, "Thanks for taking such good care of me, Zoë."

Spooky says, “Thanks for taking such good care of me, Zoë.”

Volunteer of the Month, June 2015!

Have you ever wondered how all the beautiful photos of our VOKRA fosters get on our online adoption gallery? As good as the answer “magic” is, all the recognition must go to Tracey Smith! She uploads all of the photos our fosters submit for potential adoptees to view. For her hard work and efforts, she is our volunteer of the month!

Tracy & her Family getting a rare holiday from all her dedicated VOKRA work!

Tracey & her Family getting a rare holiday from all her dedicated VOKRA work!

Tracey started her volunteering with VOKRA in 2013, but previously volunteered at Pet Smart, caring for VOKRA kitties when we had our adoption centre there. What she loves about volunteering with kitties is being able to spend time with them, to make small and large differences in their lives. Tracey loves how the kitties are appreciative with her presence, and she adores sharing her love, trust, and laughs with each and every adorable kitty. She has encountered countless kitties, but cannot choose a favourite – who can?!

She adopted her own VOKRA kitty, Bandit, in April 2005, and fell in love with her straight away. When Bandit’s feline companion died, Tracey went on the hunt to adopt another to keep Bandit company in 2010, which prompted her to volunteer with Pet Smart and VOKRA. 

Baby Bandit

Baby Bandit

Bandit All Grown Up

Bandit All Grown Up

Our volunteers are also appreciative of Tracey and all her hard work. After all, it is only from her gallery uploads that our deserving kitties and cats can be viewed and adopted into loving arms! VOKRA Board member Valerie says: 

Tracey is a behind the scenes VOKRA volunteer who uploads all our kitty pictures, and there are many to do especially in kitten season! She is polite, friendly, involved and helps fosters with their photos and other questions that they ask her. Tracey is a very important and valued part of VOKRA, quietly doing a lot of work and helping to get our kitties adopted. A really lovely person.

Once again, we’d like to give our thanks to Tracey. As a behind-the-scenes volunteer, she does not deserve any less recognition than any of our other volunteers. She plays such an important role our organization and the way things are run, so a huge thanks to you, Tracey! Keep up the outstanding work!

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

Meet the Star Wars Kittens

luke_leia

Luke and Leia were born on a mattress in a parking garage.

Their mother was doing the best she could to care for them along with their sister and two brothers. But the reality is only 25% of kittens who don’t receive human care survive.

trapped kittens_e

Kittens on their way to VOKRA

Thankfully a good samaritan spotted the family and contacted VOKRA. We were able to successfully trap mom and kittens and now they all have a chance at a better life.

In the past couple of months, VOKRA has been inundated with rescued cats and kittens like Luke and Leia. Each spring we see an influx of kittens from stray or abandoned mothers arriving on our doorstep. But this year there seems to be more than usual and we’re struggling to keep up.

Too many cats are having unwanted babies. We have very limited space and our foster team is stretched thin. With extra cats and kittens comes a lot of extra expense, including food, litter, veterinary care and medication.

The good news is kittens in our care have a chance at a happy, safe and healthy life. Luke and Leia, along with their mom and siblings, are now being well looked after in a foster home. Soon all the kittens will be spayed and neutered and ready for adoption. Their mom will also be looking for her forever home where she won’t need to worry about having more kittens because she will be spayed as well. If you’re interested in adopting one of the cats in our care please click here.

VOKRA is 100% volunteer driven and we receive no ongoing government support. This means your donations go directly to funding the supplies, equipment, veterinary and operational costs required to ensure the cats in our care are warm, safe and healthy. Your gift also supports out Trap-Neuter-Release program so fewer cats are born homeless into starvation, disease and misery. Please consider donating today.

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How the Star Wars Family Got their Names

Julie is the foster “mom” of the Star Wars family. Here she explains how each member got their name.

“Once we decided on the Star Wars theme the fun began!”

Yoda (1)

Yoda

“Yoda for the mom was easy as she is a great mom who is friendly and was very good with all the people who came by to visit the kittens. She growled early on but would never interfere and just watched from afar. The fact that she managed to feed these guys for such a long time, and they are in such great shape, proves she is a very wise one.”

 

 

 

 

Luke_Leia2 (1)

Luke & Leia

“Luke was the friendliest one from the get go. Very curious and playful and I had him in my lap within a few hours.

Princess Leia was the next one to explore and play. She totally matches the princess as she can come out and explore and then randomly hisses. She can display a little attitude just like Leia and loves to express herself with meows or hisses. When it comes to nursing from mom she is the most demanding which is surprising as she’s the smallest. She met a new person the other day and went from cuddling to hissing and even let out a cute little growl. Tiny but full of attitude!

Luke and Leia also seem to play the most with each other and cuddle and groom.”

Darth2 (1)

Darth

“I was hesitant to use Darth as I was a little worried about the bad rap that black kittens get and associating him with the evil Darth Vadar maybe isn’t the best idea. But it truly fits! In the first few days he was always hissing. His hissing wasn’t that distinct and was very breathy so it totally reminded me of the heavy breathing of Darth.”

 

 

 

 

Chewy (1)

Chewy

“Chewy is the large tabby with more brown in him. He is pretty laid back. He loves to play and has the thickest fur and largest paws. My nieces had him standing up on his hind legs playing and he just seemed to tower over his litter mates.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Padme (1)

Padme

“Padme looks very much like Chewy except she is smaller and her tabby colouring is more gray then brown. She is the shyest of the group and I figured it fit as there are very few female characters in Star Wars and many don’t even know who Padme is.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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sleeping

Compassionate Kids–Felix

We were recently lucky enough to have a visit from the one and only Felix at our Operations Centre! Felix, along with his brother Leo and his mom Jan came down for a tour and to make a very special donation. For his birthday this year, Felix decided he wanted cold hard cash instead of gifts. Now, before you think, “Hey, kid! That’s rude!”, you’ll want to hear why he collected coins instead of presents; so he could donate to VOKRA!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Felix and his family are no strangers to the work VOKRA does as they adopted two cats through us last year and have given them a wonderful home.

Felix and Leo at VOKRA Operations 007

And now, they are helping other kitties too. Kitties like Sudermann.

Our fantastic volunteer, Valerie, told Felix Sudermann’s story and about how lucky this cat is to be alive. She let him know that the money he donated will help with Sudermann’s vet bills so he can get better and find a great forever home, just like Felix’s cats now have.

We loved meeting Felix and appreciate his donation so much. And we think Felix was pretty happy with the visit too. He was so excited, he said that when he gets bigger, he wants to volunteer for VOKRA. We look very much forward to that, Felix. You’re already a great part of our team.

Thanks for supporting VOKRA, Felix, and for being a Compassionate Kid!

Making a Difference in North Surrey

There are an estimated 34,000 free-roaming cats currently living in Surrey. Without intervention, this number is expected to grow as cats and kittens continue to reproduce at an alarming rate. Surrey resident Charlotte Austin recognized the overpopulation of stray cats within the city and the critical need to promote spaying/neutering within her community. With the support of local physician  Dr. Jeffrey Roberts, Charlotte founded the North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project, which provides free spay/neuter services for low-income families.

Overpopulation problem?  Us?

Overpopulation problem? Us?

It began in the fall of 2014 when Charlotte learned that many of the children she works with had unsterilized cats and kittens at home. Many of these children’s families are low-income and could not afford the spay/neuter fees, along with other veterinary care such as vaccination or tattooing. Through her volunteer work with VOKRA, Charlotte would offer to take in kittens that these families needed to find homes for, and would herself pay to have cats sterilized and vaccinated. However, she knew her efforts wouldn’t be enough to address the constant need for free spay/neuter services in Surrey.     

That’s when she remembered a conversation she once had with a doctor in the community (and VOKRA adopter!) Dr. Jeffrey Roberts of the Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine, a company with a lot of caring cat people working there. Having previously spoken together about cats and VOKRA, Charlotte decided to speak to Dr. Roberts about the need for low-income families to access veterinary care for their cats and kittens.

I approached Dr. Roberts about sponsoring a free spay/neuter project for families in the community where I work. He very graciously agreed to sponsor the project and started the wheels rolling with a hefty donation.

In less than five weeks, the North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project helped spay/neuter thirty-three cats and kittens, with several females awaiting spaying once their kittens have been weaned.

Her kittens are adorable, but Mitsy will be happy not to have any more thanks to the NSSNP

Her kittens are adorable, but Mitsy won’t be having any more thanks to the NSSNP

Charlotte immediately saw the positive impact the North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project has had in her community.

This project is unique because it helps both animals and people. The families are extremely grateful for the assistance and the cats do not have to worry about producing more or ever having kittens. As well, it is a shining, real-life lesson in the responsibility of proper pet guardianship to children.

VOKRA and kitten Cookie help kids learn about responsible pet guardianship

VOKRA and kitten Cookie help kids learn about responsible pet guardianship

However, veterinary care is not cheap and there is no end in sight to the cats and kittens in Surrey who need to be spayed/neutered.

We are very proud of how many cats and kittens we have helped, but have basically drained the account. We seriously need help from the public to continue this project. It is a small, but necessary step, in helping reduce the number of stray cats in Surrey.

Cocomo will surely keep getting into trouble, just not THAT kind of trouble anymore!

Cocomo will surely keep getting into trouble, just not THAT kind of trouble anymore!

Charlotte and the North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project have started something great with the support of Dr. Jeffrey Roberts, but with kitten season now in full swing, the project desperately needs your help to continue to address the critical need for veterinary care for cats and kittens in Surrey.

You can help control the number of unwanted cats and kittens. Visit VOKRA.ca to donate, noting North Surrey Spay/Neuter Project, today.

Post written by Kim C.