Archives - January 2012


Grino | January 29, 2012

From Howie's New Guardian, a VOKRA hero:

"Howie was rescued from somewhere outside of Terrace. He had a mite infestation and was in a bad way and stopped taking care of himself. But he's looking great now, eats like a horse and is super affectionate. Loves playing and to be held and rubbed by everyone. (A dream cat. And our first one too!)"

The Queen of All Colours

Grino | January 29, 2012

"I've been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black." – Pierre Auguste Renoir.

Halloween may be long past us now, but it’s never too late to take a minute to remember the plight of black cats everywhere. Across the board, from shelters to rescue organizations, black cats are statistically the least likely to be adopted out, with some black kittens even waiting a whole two years before being taken home by their forever family. Adult black cats, of course, have two strikes against them, being both black and older. They are not, however, any less loving.

Sadly, even as society progresses, superstitions and misconceptions about black animals, especially cats, remain prevalent. Thanks to this “harmless folklore”, hundreds of beautiful black cats are passed over in favor of more brightly colored cats, and are literally and figuratively left in the shadows at shelters, and even in online adoption viewings. But these black felines want to love you too!

Even our own Georgy Girl, has been waiting for a very long time.

As anyone with a black cat will likely tell you, black cats are some of the friendliest and most affectionate cats around. Far from being unlucky, they will make you feel like the luckiest pet “owner” around, and they are beautiful both inside and out. If you are considering adoption, please take an extra look at some of our black cats, and see if you might be able to welcome them into your life and home forever. Because truly, the queen of all colors is black.

Thank You, Natty Saidi

Grino | January 23, 2012

From the winners of VOKRAs Online Auction last year. They won a custom painted Portrait of their pets from the very talented artist, Natty Saidi, who donated materials, her time and talent to VOKRA!

An amazing donation. And it does not end there. Natty will continue to commission portraits with a portion going to VOKRA! Email for Natty's contact info:

"We picked it up today and the cats look so sweet in the portrait.
Teemu, the cat on the right, immediately walked up to painting and looked at himself. When Van Gogh spotted the painting he stopped still in his tracks and his tail went puffy. It took us turning it around and showing him all was OK before he relaxed. They must see very realistic cats. Funny cats.
Thanks so much. We will enjoy this for years to come."


More about Natty, the artist:

Male Cat Spraying

Grino | January 22, 2012

Male Cats and Spraying

Unfortunately, male cats often get passed over because of concerns about spraying. However, spraying is more myth than fact. More likely than not, your male cat will not spray at all.
The single most effective method of preventing spraying is to have your cat neutered.

What is it?

Spraying, not to be confused with inappropriate urination, is when a cat sprays a small amount of urine on a vertical surface, such as furniture, windows, and walls. While most often attributed to male cats, female cats may also spray; however, most cats will not spray at all. In fact, spraying is not common in one or two cat households, and is more likely to occur because of overcrowding in situations where there are a greater number of cats. The small amount of cats that do spray usually do so outdoors.

Why do they do it?

Spraying is a form of non-verbal communication that is most often used to mark territory, send messages regarding mating to other cats, and to express stress or anxiety.

While spraying has long been regarded as an annoying habit that cats exhibit on purpose to merely define their boundaries or mate with others, it is very important to recognize that this behavior may actually be triggered by stress, unhappiness, or even health problems such as urinary tract disease.

Changes in environment that seem small to us may cause great duress to a cat, resulting in territorial anxiety. Feeling stressed or threatened may lead to spraying, and even seemingly small things, like a litter box that the cat deems unacceptable, may cause them to communicate their unease through spraying.

What can stop it?

The single most effective method of preventing spraying is to have your cat neutered. In male cats, even older ones, studies have shown that 90% of cats have stopped spraying once neutered, and most do so right away.

Other things that you can do to prevent spraying include keeping your cat’s litter box clean, paying attention to and playing with him, developing a routine to ease your cat’s anxiety, and cleaning any soiled areas thoroughly in order to discourage spraying in the same spot repeatedly. There are also pheromone products available that aim to eliminate unwanted, stress-related behavior in cats.

If your cat’s behavior does not change, a visit to the vet is important to in order to rule out any illnesses and/or to discuss behavior modification.

Compassion & Commitment

Grino | January 15, 2012

Compassion and Commitment

Patience is a virtue. Thanks to Desiree B, Momma has a forever, indoor home.
Read Momma's amazing story here.
Desiree B says:

Thanks so much to Maria & VOKRA. Momma was a feral kitty in our alley. Living under a car with her babies. VOKRA came and trapped them. Momma got released back outside after being spayed. She didn't get use to people. We fed her and gave her fresh water. That was 4 years ago, it's been a slow process with her. From her living in our garage, to sleeping in our laundry room, coming in and out of our house and since we moved to a busy street she's an indoor cat now. Her favourite thing is to cuddle and she loves kisses. She shoves her face in yours just for the kisses. I wish all the stray kitties out their got a happy ending like she has, she's come such a long way.

Remarkably, Momma is the Black and White Kitty under the red car in VOKRA Maria's Video, "The Ghetto."

Reunited by VOKRA

Grino | January 2, 2012

Aldo and Sterling

By Ellen

While Aldo and Sterling have now found a happy home to share together, along with two older cats, they certainly got off to a rough start in life. Back in June, Aldo was found at East 33rd and Elliot Street, alone, and sadly with another kitten who had already passed away. On the exact same day, Sterling was found on East 22nd Avenue, and given to VOKRA for shelter and care. With their similar background and markings- nearly identical- and their ability to play and get along in a manner most common to siblings from the same litter it was unanimously agreed- these two must be brothers! While this story highlights the importance of spaying and neutering not only adopted animals, but also feral ones, it is also delightful and heartwarming to be able to reunite these two brothers, and ensure that they live long and happy lives together.

In their new home, Aldo and Sterling have adapted easily to the company of both their new parents and the two other cats that they share, and no doubt rule, the house with. They are both calm and adventurous, and have even taken to following around one of the other cats, a Persian cross with lots of black hair (like theirs), as though she is their mother cat!

Since they first arrived at VOKRA, and through the time that they spent in their foster homes, both Aldo and Sterling have been rambunctious and spirited, happy to play both on their own and with others, and especially with each other. Aldo enjoys being brushed, while Sterling seems to have a particular ability to fall into a deep sleep, at one point letting his head fall into an upturned food dish and wearing it like a nightcap. It remains to be seen whether their names will predict a “shoe fetish” that some cats have been known to have!

Do I have to give up my cat if I'm pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant?

You can follow these helpful tips to reduce your risk of environmental exposure to Toxoplasma.

  • Avoid changing cat litter if possible. If no one else can perform the task, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.
  • Ensure that the cat litter box is changed daily. The Toxoplasma parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat's feces.
  • Feed your cat a high quality canned wet food while pregnant as feeding raw may increase risk of exposure.
  • Keep cats indoors, always!
  • Avoid stray cats, especially kittens. Call VOKRA for help instead. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.
  • Keep outdoor sandboxes covered.
  • Wear gloves when gardening and during contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. Wash hands with soap and warm water after gardening or contact with soil or sand.

And some great advice from a VOKRA Volunteer and Mom:

  • We kept our 2 cats. My family doctor at the time said transmission of toxoplasmosis from cat to human is rare but to take the kinds of precautions listed in the post. The challenge comes after the baby is born. It can be stressful looking after kitties on top of a newborn so tap your support networks for help! And a GREAT gift for a cat-loving new mom would be a few hours of kitty-help here and there: changing/scooping boxes, feeding, playing, cuddling them. Trust me: that will be appreciated far more than things!

Thank you to for this information.

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