Archives - June 2012
Grino | June 24, 2012
VOKRA's Karen, Clare, Lisa and Alannah were at Point Grey Fiesta Days this weekend.
Vancity is very interested in partnering with charities in their community – and they picked us (and Farm Folk City Folk) to share their tent.
So, VOKRA was happy to attend the event to spread the word about what we do - rescuing over 1400 kittens and cats per year and finding them forever homes.
VOKRA brought along a number of kittens – guaranteed traffic generators!
They looked especially cute chasing little plastic balls around the cage. And when they napped, they decided to do that in the litter box! *sigh*
Remy, Lisa’s foster, was in a harness and sitting out on the table. He was amazingly relaxed despite being picked up, stroked and tickled by lots and lots of people. The kids loved him! One person came back four times to see him!
And then VOKRA had our secret cuteness weapon – the bottlefeeders. Karen had to bring them along as they were going to need feeding, so the four little ones demonstrated the art of sucking on the little bottles. We got lots of questions about what to feed kittens and were able to reinforce “no cow’s milk!”
The event was a great success and VOKRA is always happy educate the community on what we love to do!
If you want VOKRA to visit your community event email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To volunteer, foster (have kittens at your home) or donate to VOKRA, please visit www.vokra.ca
Grino | June 15, 2012
|If you were to create a Venn diagram where one circle was labeled “cheap” and the other labeled “awesome”, the middle point where they cross over could be labeled “Vancouver on the Cheap”. In other words, this is a weekly series on things to do and places to go in Vancouver that fall into that magical category of being both cheap and awesome.
Got a cheap-living tip you’d like to share?Send it in!
Way back when I wrote my very first post ever for Vancouver is Awesome, I gave some basic principles for cheap living. One of those principles stated that if you’re trying to live on the cheap, you’ve got to avoid dependents. Whether human or animal, dependents can cost a lot of money, and no matter how much they repay you in love, joy, and affirmation of the true meaning of life, those qualities don’t help replenish your bank account.
Less than five minutes after the article went live I started receiving messages from friends asking if I had forgotten about VOKRA.
Indeed, I had forgotten about VOKRA.
For those of you feeling very confused right now, VOKRA, while sounding like something vaguely Klingon, actually stands for Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association. It is a non-kill society of volunteers dedicated to rescuing cats in the Lower Mainland. Instead of operating out of a shelter, VOKRA has about 100 foster homes where these abandoned kitties are housed, loved, and fed until someone is able to adopt them.
Fostering, it turns out, is the key to having a feline-type dependent on the cheap. it allows you all the joy of having a sweet little cat in your home without any of the cost: food and supplies are provided, as well as any health care needs. You don’t even need to make a lifetime commitment if you’re terrified of long-term relationships – all you have to promise to to love this kitty until someone adopts it or until you need to give it back.
A couple of my friends, who recently took in a couple of foster kitties of their own, were able to give me a first-hand account on the fostering process.
Why did you decide to foster with VOKRA instead of adopting outright?
I love cats. I have a cat-quota that needs to be fulfilled with cuddle time, or I get sad. Our building doesn’t officially allow pets, nor did our lack of finances and long-term plans line up well with taking on a cat for the next 15 to 20 years. All I had was love and attention to give and it turns out that was exactly what VOKRA wanted.
What was the process like to apply for fostering?
There was an application on their website. That was followed up by a couple emails and phone calls. They thought they found a good match for us pretty quickly, so we went to meet the kitties, find out about their particulars and give affirmation that we were good to go with the match. They set us up with all of the basic needs (food, litter, litter box, scratching post).
What are they looking for in a foster home?
Love and attention. A safe home where the cat(s) aren’t in danger of escaping is also necessary. They also look to fosters to reinforce positive behaviours that the cats will carry into their ‘forever homes’.
Do you get to keep them forever?
No, you only keep them until they get adopted by someone else… but you could always choose to adopt them.
Did you get to pick your kitties?
We let them know in the application what kind of cats we would be up to fostering (adult, pregnant, pregnant with litter, kittens, feral) and then met with cats they proposed to see if they seemed to get along with us.
What were your bottom line costs at the end of the day from deciding to foster to getting your kitties settled in your home?
So far, the only thing we have bought for them is a brush, which cost a grand total of $3.50. Over time I’m sure we will make or buy the random toy as their current ones get trashed. VOKRA supplies specifically required food and litter. If you were extra generous/well-to-do you could always buy your own supplies of the approved stuff, but otherwise they give you supplies that you just have to go pick up.
Any extra time commitment besides what’s normally involved in kitty care?
Probably depends on the particular cat(s). We have one that we are guessing lost her mom too early, giving her some separation anxiety that needs a bit more attention as she adjusts to our home. The other was found wandering on the streets and his wandering heart wants to go outside, which is something he can’t do safely here, so he’s adjusting quite vocally at the moment. They are both unbelievably cute though, so it all evens out. They also ask you to send updates to them with photos and about personalties so they can keep the kitties profiles updated on the website.
Anything else to share about the process of fostering a cat through VOKRA?
It may be hard, the thought of giving the cats up eventually, but it is good to keep in mind that this is in place of the cats living in kennels, or worse yet if it weren’t for VOKRA, in the pound and probably put down. This is so much better for the cats and allows them to grow up in a healthy environment that preps them for a good life in their future homes.
Reports are that VOKRA is currently seeking more foster homes, so if you’re looking for an opportunity to bring a little furball into your home, this could be it. Check out their website for info on fostering, or even adopting.
So it turns out that there are some options for having dependents while keeping your life cheap. If you know of similar options for fostering dogs or other animals, please share them in the comments!
Grino | June 13, 2012
When Bianca's adoption was rescinded on Saturday morning, I have to admit that the news wasn't entirely disappointing. For one thing, it meant that we get to keep our big, black beauty for awhile longer. For another, we could go out and do something fun that day.
VOKRA foster manager, Mickey Carrington, emailed us that morning to tell us that fifteen new kittens would be arriving at Karen Duncan's house in the afternoon. Karen is sick, and Mickey wanted to know if we would be willing to help with their intake. We have never helped with "intake" before, but we thought we had a hazy notion of what was involved, so we agreed.
I have several new distinctive scars on my hands today, the prettiest of which form a perfect little diamond shape, composed of four punctures from sharp, tiny teeth. They were impressed into my left index finger by an outraged little tuxedo kitten with a kinky manx tail, who had become quite upset with me when I proposed to examine his credentials. My win record with the black and white cats seems to be running around fifty/fifty. The first three of our "intake" clients had already left with their new foster parents by the time we'd finished with the last twelve and cleaned my forensic contributions from the walls of Karen's downstairs bathroom.
Before we left that afternoon, Karen told us about the little tenants in her main-floor bathroom. She had four seven week-old kittens who had been born in a nicely arranged East End carport, and who have been living with her since they were weaned. We were taken upstairs to meet them, and found four little balls of fluffy popcorn, bouncing across the linoleum, skittering in and out of the plumbing fixtures. When the pale, ghostly grey one settled, purring, into Sheral's lap, I knew we were doomed.
Leonard's isolation cell has been reassembled, and our four new guests have been invested therein. They still had no names on Sunday morning, but there was an idea rolling around inside of my head like a little marble racing about the rim of a great, big bowl. One of our new charges has beautiful spots like a leopard. A long time ago, I saw a film by Luchino Visconti about a Sicilian prince whose family emblem is just such a creature. Based on a 1958 novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, it was called Il Gattopardo, or The Leopard.
Ergo, I have proposed that our handsome, spotty, new friend shall be Don Fabrizio, after the princely main character in the story. His big, russian-blue sister with the splendid, stubby tail will be called Dona Concetta, and the spectral, grey tabby girl is going to be named Dona Carolina, after two of Fabrizio's daughters. The last little boy was the hardest, and I have named him after the organist who plays in the family church. The little, black male will be Don Ciccio, not least of all because he appears to be the pianist.
They are four beautiful, active, well-behaved little cats, and I suspect that they will be with us about as long as their cousin Schroeder was.
Of course, most of our other cats are outraged that the little ones have invaded their home. Bianca is appalled, but it probably won't be of long duration. She warms to other cats pretty quickly. Xena gives them a wide berth and Brie visits often to teach them new dirty words. Leonard has built himself an unassailable fortress of the cushions at the top of the big bed, and will not be moved therefrom. Rena, being Rena, will make the best of what comes, and accepts this too with her usual good cheer.
It is KITTEN SEASON again, and again VOKRA is being swamped. If you have a space in your home or in your heart, please contact us about adopting one - or more - of these nice little cats, their cousins, or their aunts or uncles. If you have a bigger space, or a softer heart, you might consider fostering for us. If you don't think you're ready for either commitment, please follow the link below and contribute as generously as you can.
You've done so before, and I thank you again.
Grino | June 4, 2012
VOKRA Presents a Special Segment highlighting rescue efforts from around the world: The Forgotten Cats of Avsallar, Turkey
VOKRA is pleased to assist friend of cats, and selfless rescuer, Sara Ahmadi in her efforts to give five cats she rescued from the streets of Turkey a second chance at life.
After hearing about the dire situation Turkey street cats face every day with neglect, starvation, and even regular abuse from locals, Sara travelled from her home in Vancouver to join her friend in the heartbreaking task of feeding, loving, and providing medical care to the cats and dogs of Avsallar, a costal resort town popular with tourists. Sara was there for a month, and after “many sleepless nights, constant stress, and endless tears” was able to raise the two thousand dollars needed to organize an adoption trip back to her home in Canada with five very lucky cats.
The five cats are now ready for adoption, and their personal stories and photos are below.
Please fill out a VOKRA adoption application if you are interested in adopting Chanel, Fistik, Mimi, Ballerina or Madonna.
If you have questions about the cats, please contact Sara at: email@example.com
This is Sara’s story:
My dear friend, Manuela Wroblewski, who is originally from Germany has been living in Avsallar, Turkey for the last two years for one reason; street animals. She spends each day walking the streets of Avsallar feeding over a hundred street dogs and cats all of which are starving for both food and human contact.
When I became aware of her situation, I decided to travel to Turkey and join her daily struggle to help the forgotten street animals of Avsallar. As soon as I arrived, Manuela and I started the daily feeding walk. Each day, we walked for up to 6 hours feeding and spending time with each dog and cat we saw. The situation was much worse than I ever could have imagined and the photos I had previously seen online did not come close to the real nightmare that the animals face each day of their lives.
We were both terrified to leave her apartment each morning because we never knew what we would see during our feeding walk. Injured dogs and cats, locals kicking and throwing stones at animals and ones that had already tragically lost their lives overnight had all become what we expected to see each day as we walked through the town in what felt like a nightmare that we could not wake up from.
I spent almost a month in Turkey trying to help Manuela and the unfortunate street animals in any way that I possibly could. Any dog or cat that remains on the streets has a race against time and a guaranteed death sentence. I decided to bring back five cats that would have otherwise had no chance for survival and were on the top of our priority list.
A special thanks to my employer, Hastings Veterinary Hospital, for a generous donation of $500 toward the medical and travel expenses for the cats and for the excellent care of these precious girls since landing in Vancouver on May 3rd, 2012. All cats have been spayed, microchipped, vaccinated, dewormed and have tested negative for both FIV and Leukemia.
At the Istanbul airport waiting for my flight. These 5 precious girls will never have to fear for their lives again.
These 5 Turkish street cats who now have a second chance at life:
At Hastings Veterinary Hospital for an examination after arrival
This beautiful kitty now named “Chanel” spent her entire life on the streets of Avsallar directly in front of a hotel and busy road. Manuela and I often found her in the garbage, bushes and trees in front of the hotel. A local man had captured all of the other cats in the area and had thrown them into a canyon. Chanel was one of the only cats from that location to survive. If she were still on the streets, she would have had no chance.
Chanel is understandably still fearful of people and will require a patient and loving home that is willing to spend a lot of time teaching her to trust. She has started to make progress in the last few weeks and will allow me to pet her each night before she falls asleep. She has also started to play with her toys and is no longer constantly hiding. It is clear that she has had a really hard life on the streets and will need some time to understand that she will no longer be abused. She still cowers when I try to pet her but is slowly learning to trust me and has even started to purr for the first time since I have known her.
Chanel will do great in a home with another friendly and playful kitty. She tolerates dogs and may get more used to them over time. She would also do best in a home without young children.
To adopt Chanel, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.
Manuela and I feeding Chanel on the streets near her territory.
Chanel relaxing on a cat bed for the first time in her life.
“Fistik” has had a terrifying start to her young life. She was left in front of the veterinary hospital door to die overnight COVERED in blood with a broken pelvis and two broken legs. As a result, she had to spend four months of her young life in a crate receiving treatment for her injuries. If Fistik was not given this chance to return to Vancouver with me, the veterinarian would have had no choice but to release her back on to the streets once she had recovered.
She has now fully healed and is ready for a loving forever home where she can make up for all of the time she has lost and be a kitten again. She is such a friendly and loving girl despite her traumatic past.
Fistik is so easy going and loves each day of her new life. She loves to cuddle at night and spends the day playing with her toys and exploring her foster home. She has started to play with Ballerina and would love to be adopted with her or into a home with another friendly and playful cat. She tolerates dogs and may even grow to like them over time.
To adopt Fistik, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.
Fistik spent 4 months of her life in this crate recovering from her injuries.
Fistik patiently waiting for a forever home that will give her the life that she so deserves!
Mimi relaxing on the bed in her foster home purring her heart away.
Mimi used to live in the bushes directly in front of a busy highway and waited for food each day. As soon as she saw us, she would come out of the bushes and onto the sidewalk to eat. When it was time for Manuela and I to leave, we would pick her up and put her back on the other side of the bushes and hope that she would make it through another night.
The day that we took Mimi off of the streets, we had already picked another cat for Vancouver and were on our way to find her. Unfortunately, that cat was nowhere to be found. When we saw Mimi the same day, we noticed that she was limping and decided to take her to the veterinary hospital. Manuela and I then decided that she would be # 5 as she would have no chance at all if released back into her dangerous territory.
Mimi flew in cabin with me all the way from Turkey to Vancouver which took almost 24 hours. She was a perfect angel and everyone on each plane immediately fell in love with her. She loves to be held because she feels safe for the first time in her life. She purrs nonstop as soon as she is talked to or stroked. She loves to cuddle and sleep next to me each night. Mimi is truly a perfect cat and deserves a perfect home.
She will do well in a home with other animals but will require some time to get adjusted to her new life. She would also be good in a home as the only cat as long as her forever family can spoil her with a lot of toys, treats, attention and love. To adopt Mimi, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.
Mimi on the bus on the way to the veterinary hospital in Turkey the day that we took her off of the streets.
Ballerina playing with a toy for the first time in her life.
“Ballerina” had to spend two months of her life in the veterinary hospital in Turkey receiving treatment for an injury to one of her back legs. She was left at the door of the hospital overnight and was missing skin right up to the bone. She was unable to use or feel her leg. Ballerina was in the same situation as Fistik and would have had to be released back on to the streets once she improved and as a result, Manuela and I decided that she should be one of the cats to return to Vancouver with me.
Ballerina is continuing her treatment at my work Hastings Veterinary Hospital. Although she has shown some improvement, she will has just had her leg amputated and will need to begin recovery before being adopted into a loving forever home. She will stay in her foster home until she has fully recovered. We have also discovered that Ballerina has a pellet in her body due to being shot in the past.
After everything she has been though, she is still such a loving girl. She would love to be adopted with Fistik or into a home with another friendly and playful cat. She does not like dogs but should get used to them over time. Her new forever home should be accepting of her disability and be able to give her extra love and care for the rest of her life. She is so special and truly deserves the world. To adopt Ballerina, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.
Ballerina in the veterinary hospital in Turkey receiving treatment for her injured leg.
She is such a sweet and grateful girl.
Madonna off of the streets and safe in her foster home.
This lovely little girl now named Madonna has spent her entire life on the streets. She is a few years old according to the veterinarian and is one of the forgotten cats of Avsallar who was left to starve to death once the hotels in the area closed down after the tourist season had ended. She lived directly next to a busy highway where many cats are regularly hit by cars and left to die. Manuela had been feeding her for months and one day, we went to her small territory to feed her and noticed that the hotel staff had started construction in her area. We did not see her for several days and began to worry that she had been “removed”. We continued to look for her each day and she suddenly appeared near her territory four days later, hungry as ever. We knew at that point that if we left her on the streets, she would not survive.
During her examination with the veterinarian, he noticed that she appears to have had an old injury on her tail that caused her skin to be torn off. It has since scarred over but she is still missing fur on the area. It is unknown whether she was hit by a car or abused by locals.
Madonna needs a loving home where she can feel safe and begin to trust people for the first time in her life. She will do best in a home without children or other dogs and cats. Madonna is still very fearful and will not come out of my room. She has made progress over the last few weeks and will allow me to pet her. She shows affection by rubbing her head on my hand and has the sweetest voice you will ever hear. She is a very smart girl and loves her treats! She is the first to run up to me when she hears the treat bag open. She has not started to play with toys yet but I have witnessed her playing with her own tail a few times. She is absolutely precious and deserves to relax for the rest of her life after having such a difficult life on the streets.
To adopt Madonna, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.
Manuela and I feeding Madonna in the streets near her territory.
To adopt any of these beautiful cats, please go to www.vokra.ca and fill out the application at http://www.orphankittenrescue.com/adoption_application
More photos from Sara’s trip:
All cats in the photos below remain in Turkey and are not up for adoption. They illustrate how the five cats lived out their day-to-day life in Avsallar.
Manuela and I feeding a few street cats.
Starving cats searching for food in the garbage.
She is only a kitten and spends each day of her life hiding in the bushes waiting for food. She is extremely fearful of people after having so many bad experiences.
A kitten only a few weeks old, born into a life of hell on the streets.
Four fearful kittens that waited for food each day. One has been hit by a car and died, one is missing and the other two will face the same fate. They are lucky to make it through the night and each day is truly a nightmare.
If you have questions about the cats, please contact Sara at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grino | June 1, 2012
Maple Ridge Warning!
A cold-blooded cat killer is still on the loose in Maple Ridge. Please
tell everyone you know, particularly in Maple Ridge to keep an eye out and to keep their cats inside.
We encourage you to make posters to inform your neighborhood residents and community, especially ones who may not see the articles or keep up with the news.