Volunteer of the Month – February 2017

peggy-sullivanIt’s the month of love and we have all the love to give for our volunteers. This February, we’re giving our biggest thanks to Volunteer of the Month Peggy Sullivan!

Peggy joined the VOKRA team seven years ago when her friend invited her to volunteer. As a busy individual, she always told herself she would work with animals in some way when she found time. As the adoptions team lead, Peggy’s in charge of training adoption counsellors and ensuring VOKRA’s kitties are going to the best forever homes available. She oversees the processes of matching kitties to applicants and making sure the adoptions team works together to make both the kitty and the adopter happy.

“I work with amazing people at the VOKRA family and have never worked with such a dedicated, unselfish group of people before,” says Peggy. “I have a team of ten members who I’m so proud of. They work tirelessly, they are excellent team players and they’re incredibly dedicated to the cause. We adopted out about 1,400 cats and kittens last year and we’re working harder to beat that number this year.”

The best part of being the adoptions team lead for Peggy is to see how each and every adopter is so committed to the kitties and that the team gets to find furever homes for the kitties that come into VOKRA’s care.

We truly appreciate all the work Peggy puts into this organization because, without her dedication and hard work, the process of adoptions wouldn’t run like clockwork! We thank you Peggy for all the time and effort you put in to make the lives of VOKRA kitties better, one at a time. You’re the best!

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.

Wanted: Adoption Counsellors

momoWho wants to help our kitties find their forever homes?!

We’re looking to grow our team of adoption counsellors and are looking for cat lovers like you. Our adoption counsellors review new adoption applications, interview applicants and, ultimately, match up kitties with adopters. Yah!

Adoption counsellors can take on as many or as few applications as they choose. However, to keep up to date and involved in the adoptions process, it’s ideal for counsellors to have at least 6 hours of volunteer time available per week. Although it may only take a few moments to assist an applicant with their application, it’s important members of the adoptions team respond to emails readily and on a daily basis. All VOKRA volunteers are asked to commit at least 6 months of their time.

Adoption counsellors tasks include:

  • Receiving and reviewing new adoption applications
  • Contacting applicants, scheduling interviews and follow-up
  • Matching kitties and/or suggesting kitties for applicants
  • Liase with fosters to learn more about kitties personalities, pairings, etc..
  • Working with approved applicants to schedule viewing with kitties
  • Follow-up with applicants after viewings
  • Forward adopters to the papers team for processing/payment completion
  • Respond to adopters queries post adoption
  • Update database at each step to reflect status of adoption applications

Members of the adoptions team work closely together to manage the volume of applicants that apply to adopt through VOKRA. If you’re looking to join a fantastic group of people and help kitties find loving forever home then the adoptions team is for you!

To apply to become an adoption counsellor click here.

Questions? Email volunteervokra@gmail.com

Meet Charlie & Angel

Charlie and Angel are a brother and sister duo looking for a forever home together.

charlie-macfarlane-2016-12627-kd-01-2-8 charlie-macfarlane-2016-12627-kd-01-2-7 charlie-macfarlane-2016-12627-kd-01-2-2

Charlie’s very sweet and loves to be around people. He adored cuddling and receiving pets, and if you don’t have time to give him a pet he’ll be sure to patiently wait for one. He enjoys playing with his sister Angel and his favourite toy is the laser. He’s very friendly and will come up on the bed and sit on the pillow in the morning.

angel-macfarlane-2016-12628-kd-2-3 angel-macfarlane-2016-12628-kd-2 angel-macfarlane-2016-12628-kd-2-2

Just like her brother, Angel loves to be around people. Her hobbies include cuddling, being pet and napping in your lap. She also likes playing with her toys and Charlie. For some reason, she also really enjoys watching her human friends in the kitchen, whether they’re cooking or doing dishes! Angel’s a very friendly kitty and was recently a young mama to her three kittens who have now been adopted.

If you’re hoping for a pair of adorable and loving cats to enter your life, look no further!

If you’re interested in adopting Charlie and Angel please visit our website at vokra.ca/adopt to fill out an adoption form.

Special thanks to Laura Bartlett for these great photos of Charlie and Angel!

Poppy & Hazelnut’s Happy Tail Ending

dsc_0650Four years ago I was contacted by a woman named Laura who wanted to meet two semi-feral kittens I was fostering.  They were initially shy but had become playful and vocal companions to my cat and me.  (Soon enough mischievous Hazelnut would do things like pulling bottles out of the kitchen cupboard at 1 a.m.!)

dsc_0655When she came to meet them, Laura and I spent two extended sessions sitting in my bathroom as she tried to imagine if a bond would develop if she adopted the kittens.  After much thought Laura decided to adopt the two sisters and her faith was rewarded since Poppy and Hazelnut have become, in her words, “happy campers, goofy and more confident, extremely communicative with me, giving me lots of love and positive attention and are fun every day.”

When she decided to adopt the two sisters Laura wrote, “So, I’m going to do it!  I feel happy and excited and honoured to adopt these two beautiful little felines! “.

After their adoption Poppy showed an interest in children and Hazelnut began to focus on doing surveillance of the perimeter of her new home through the windows and busily trotted back and forth between them, keeping on top of things.  Poppy and Hazelnut’s new beginning with Laura has meant more love for all three of them,  not to mention a fantastic cat tree for sunny naps.

Post written by Katherine Drabek

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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

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

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

patty-tolan

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_poheke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luna’s Happy Tail Ending

Luna

Dear VOKRA,

We adopted our kitty Luna in early December 2015. I often see adoption stories on the blog and I thought I’d write you to let you know how much we love our cat.

I have to start by saying I have had a life-long allergy to cats. Puffy eyes, swollen glands, itchy hives, runny and sneezing nose were all a part of me coming close to a cat. I grew up with a dog always in our house but I never thought I would be a cat owner, even though a house cat was something that intrigued me and seemed closer to our family lifestyle. Actually, I loudly proclaimed pets were too much work and we would never have a pet to anyone that would listen!

Fast forward to my eldest son’s grade 2 year. He was experiencing bullying from a classmate. He’s a sensitive dude who often feels his emotions strongly and this relationship in his class was really hurting him. At the same time as we were helping him through this with counselling etc., he was becoming more and more obsessed with cats. He would read up on all the different domestic breeds and he knew things about wild cats (both common and obscure, like “do you know that cheetah’s claws don’t retract because they need to grip on uneven ground for running?”) from a favorite tv show that he would tell anyone who’d listen. Then as he started grade 3 his loving teacher made “cats” an official topic of research for him and he’s been working on a cat project all year. I started to think my baby boy might need a cat to care for and love and to whisper out all the things that were in his busy little mind at the end of a day. It really seemed like a huge leap for our family, and I didn’t tell my kids I was “caving”, but I did feel a little softened to the idea of a family pet IF we could find the right one.

At this same time I became interested in following the young UK artist Iris Grace; a little girl with autism who paints like Monet. Iris’ family found her a Maine Coon cat and they became fast friends. The cat, named Thula, became a therapy cat for Iris and is helping her to overcome fears and even start speaking. It is truly an amazing story!

I started looking into Maine Coons and Siberians. I was willing to pay big bucks for a breed that could be such a buddy to my boy and also perhaps be less allergenic. Long story short, they’re hard to come by and we had a strange dealing with a breeder who wouldn’t let me visit the parent cats (to see if my allergies were very bad) so I gave up on the idea.

Then one day, on recommendation from a neighbour, I started looking at the VOKRA site. I was intrigued because all of the cats are fostered, which meant we could visit the house where they’d been for a while so I could test my allergies. As well, I wanted to make sure any cat we chose would not be too afraid of children, especially my youngest, rambunctious and VERY loving five year old. It all happened very quickly. Once I told the boys we would be visiting cats they were cautiously thrilled! I perused the website and once an adoption coordinator called us we made our first appointment.

At the first house, there were three adult cats who had been feral. We were there in particular to see one who’d been recommended as very gentle and more social. Unfortunately that particular kitty hid from us immediately. We were able to coax the three kitties out with some kibble, but over the 45 minutes we spent there none of the three had let us pet them. As we were about to leave the foster parents were shocked to see one of the kitties laying down in front of my son and baring her belly to him. He was on his stomach nearby and was laying so patiently. They said that cat hadn’t let anyone in the house pet her yet and here she was bonding with my son!

We left that night and ultimately decided we were not the right family to put in all the work that kitty might need to become more social and comfortable. But, I was even more convinced that my son was a cat person and needed a kitty to love.

Luna_2The next visit we made to a foster home was ultimately the ONE. Luna was being fostered in a house with a six year old. When we arrived, Luna lay down and allowed my boys to pet her all over. She purred so loudly! On the recommendation of the adoption coordinator I took a towel with me and rubbed it all over Luna, then took it home with me and kept it nearby. My allergic reaction was very slight with just some sneezing so we decided to bring Luna home. (It turns out my allergies have gone completely now. I did discover that I am very allergic to some litters and it has made me wonder if my reaction all this time has been more to the litter or the airborne litter particles, rather than the cat. Hmmmm!)

Being a reticent cat owner I was at first going through the motions by simply teaching the boys how to change the litter and feeding Luna on a schedule. However, over these past few months Luna has become our little baby. We’re all happy to see her when we get home and her quirky play time amuses us to no end. She sleeps beside my feet and won’t get up in the morning until I do, even if I sleep in on a weekend which is something I find extremely charming. She’s my company.

Luna_3The house is filled with a constant sing-song of “Luna you’re SO lovely, aren’t you? Who is the best girl?” from my little boys and Luna purrs loudly in response. Just yesterday when my youngest and I were on the bus he turns to me and says out of the blue “mommy don’t you just LOVE Luna?!? I do so much!” And nothing fills my heart more than seeing poor Luna, who is not terribly comfortable, wrapped up in my eldest son’s arms as he whispers whatever he needs to into her ears. She seems to listen patiently and always waits until he’s done before letting him know she’d rather like to be put back down 🙂

All of this was a very long way to say that we’re very, very happy VOKRA adopters and very much appreciate what you do at VOKRA. The process was perfect for our family and we couldn’t be more fulfilled now having Luna in our house.

Stefanie

P.S. Luna was the name given to her by the foster. We had at first decided on other choices, but as we adopted her just before Christmas, and December 25th had the first full moon on Christmas in over thirty years, we thought Luna was rather fitting!

Do you have a Happy Tail to share? Email us at communications@vokra.ca.

Cinnabar’s Happy Tail Ending

We first told you about Cinnabar back in May 2014. You can read all about her rescue story here.

 

Cinnabar
Kathy, who happens to be the the executive director of Paws for Hope, wasn’t looking to adopt when she and her young daughter Maya came to VOKRA’s Operations Centre. But then she met Cinnabar and fell in love with the sweet calico cat. Kathy remembers how after meeting each other, Maya and Cinnabar “automatically took to one another and I thought maybe this would be a great opportunity to foster. She was so playful, despite her condition.” (You can actually watch a video of this very meeting right here!)

Cinnabar at KillarneyCinnabar had a rough life and lived for an extended time on the streets before being rescued.  On her arrival at VOKRA she was in a pitiful state; shivering, emaciated, dehydrated, filthy and smelly.  Her tail was infected, part of her lower lip was missing and she was so tightly matted her fur was pulling out by the roots and damaging her skin.  It took hours for VOKRA co-founders Karen and Maria to gently and carefully remove the mats and they were horrified and heartbroken to find maggots living inside.  Finally shaved and cleaned up, she had an odd owl-like appearance and was therefore named after the Cinnabar Owl.  It was not immediately known if Cinnabar would survive so she was temporarily placed in a recovery kennel.

It was just a few days later when Kathy and her family met Cinnabar and agreed to take her home as a foster kitty. Cinnabar quickly fit right in with her new canine foster siblings, and with Chili in particular (who was also a rescue). Kathy knew then that Cinnabar had to become a permanent member of the family. “We had [Chili] for three years and had never seen her act like this,” said Kathy. “Chili was running around tail wagging, playing chase with Cinnabar. It was amazing.”

Cinnabar & Jules

Kathy’s partner Jules is Cinnabar’s dad and she loves to spend time sitting on his shoulder.

Now enjoying life with her forever family, Cinnabar spends her days playing with her canine siblings (or trying to get them to play). She even has a new best friend – a pit bull named Lucy! “When we travel, Cinnabar stays with my friend and her dog Lucy,” said Kathy. “Lucy and Cinnabar love each other and play all day long.  Both of them are always sad after Cinnabar comes home.”

Cinnabar brings much joy to Kathy’s family and she remarks how “everyone who visits loves her.”

Would you like to share your Happy Tail? Email us at communications@vokra.ca.

Post written by Kim C.