Archives - March 2013

Like so many of VOKRA’s kitties, Popsicle has had her own rough start in life.

This past November she was found and brought to VOKRA near death – malnourished, sick, afraid and before too long was also found to be pregnant. Her prognosis was grim, but there was undisputed hope she’d pull through and thrive.

It was a bumpy road, but with much tending, patience and love from her VOKRA foster family she’s been able to make a resilient recovery. Her adorable, healthy kittens Horse and Smoko were finally born a couple months ago.

Over these last couple months, Popsicle has proven to be a good mom to her kittens while she herself continues to flourish on a daily basis. Both Horse and Smoko have found their forever home and have been adopted together.

Popsicle, who was once so scared she would only feed from a popsicle stick, is now much more trusting of people, loves being scratched at the base of her tail, gives amazing head butts and is quite playful overall.

She’s still a bit shy with new people, but with a bit of patience she’ll only feel more confident and comfortable in time.

You only have to take one look at Popsicle to know she’s a beautiful cat, so full of life and charm, and incredibly deserving of a good home. To give her the best chance possible, it would be preferred she find a calm, loving home without young children or dogs.

If you feel her place is at home with you, please contact VOKRA right away.
Popsicle can’t wait to meet you!

by Mélanie Kimmett

Surrey Pub Night

Grino | March 27, 2013

VOKRA’s Surrey team held their first pub night fundraiser on Feb. 23, 2013! It was a great success, with 75 people attending and close to $2,000 raised for the kitties! Congratulations to the hard-working volunteers!

The Big Ridge Brewing Co. not only provided the fun setting, but donated gifts for the silent auction. Further, they added VOKRA to a donation program: just write Surrey VOKRA on your bill anytime you visit them, to generate a donation of 10% of the total!
Check them out at

Many thanks to the other businesses which donated silent auction or door prizes:

- Cat Fanciers of B.C.

- The Chopped Leaf

- High Point Animal Hospital

- Investor’s Group, Forman & Associates, Surrey

- Laurie Spear, RMT, Surrey

- Mother Hubbard’s Pet Food & Supplies

- Olympic Dairy

- Paws & Tails Pet Photography

- Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Club

- Umberto’s Flowers

- WorldServe Ministries Thrift Store

Thanks as well to the many generous individual donors to the silent auction: Sue Balkwill, Alannah Hall, Crystal Heisler, Sabrina Hingston, Christine Johnson, Reka Keereweer, Winkle Kwan, Carson Leong, Irene Plett, Penny Pombert, Mary Wallace Poole, Barb Sewell, and Anne Watson.

We had so many great donations, that some were saved for a future event. The donors of those items will be acknowledged then. The next fundraiser planned is an online auction in May. See you then!

Rescuing Mr. Felix

Grino | March 25, 2013

Here is a wonderful update from the furever parents of a kitty that was living outside as a feral in Burnaby. The very nice people who were feeding him, contacted Maria to help trap him because they noticed he was drooling. Maria caught who would later be known as Mr. Felix, had him neutered and many of his teeth extracted. The feeders wanted him to join their household so they brought him inside after his fix and tamed him!

Here is an update from Mr. Felix’s furever home.

Attn: Maria,

Hi! It’s Liz with Mr. Felix.
I figured it’s been a little while since you have brought him home to us after all of his treatment. If you remember, he is the Feral kitty in Kensington that had 9 teeth removed, an abscess treated, ear mites removed and needed to be neutered. Since he has come home, we decided to keep him indoors until he accepted us as his humans. He has come around amazingly. He now loves his humans (that is me and my mom) and is quite the cuddler. He is very vocal and loves to be touched and kissed on the head. When we met you, he was in such rough shape that we couldn't touch him. Quite feral! He has lost most of his feral behaviour. As for his health, he is feeling exceptionally better. As soon as we could, we got him into the vet up the street to give him a lion cut and get rid of all of his yucky matted fur. Since then he is in love with being shaved down. He loves the feeling of his skin on soft blankets and being pet. He Loves all meat especially roasted chicken and loves to chase toys around the house.

I have attached a few photos of him so you can see his progress. The first photo is of him on the first day you dropped him off and the second photo is of him right after his lion cut. You can see all of the scabs from the flea infestation that he had. He is on regular revolution treatment to rid him of the ear mite problem that still exists. It is almost gone but still a few of them kicking around. I hope you enjoy the photos and THANK YOU AGAIN FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP. We love him to bits!!!!

CTV on Declawing

Grino | March 23, 2013

Declaw dilemma: Some veterinarians refusing to declaw cats

Read more from VOKRA on declawing here

Watch a Vidoe on Declawing here

Original article below by Darcy Wintonyk, CTV British Columbia from

The claws are out over the issue of feline declawing.

A growing number of Canadian veterinarians are refusing to declaw cats, describing the once-common procedure as unnecessarily cruel – and the equivalent of amputating human fingertips.

Despite what the name implies, declawing is actually a series of bone amputations, sometimes referred to as de-knuckling. Human fingernails grow from the skin, but for felines, which traditionally hunt small prey, claws grow from the bone, so a declawing involves severing the last bone in each of the 10 front toes. The tendons, nerves and ligaments are also cut off.

An estimated 95 per cent of cat owners choose to declaw their animal to stop unwanted furniture scratching. The behaviour is innate in cats, a means for felines to mark their territory both visually and with scent.

Technically called an onychectomy, declawing is now illegal or considered inhumane in dozens of first-world countries, including Australia, New Zealand and more than 12 European nations. West Hollywood was the first North American city to ban the practice more than a decade ago, and vets who declaw cats in many parts of Europe risk losing their license as a consequence.

Here in Canada, the overseeing body for veterinarians, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), strongly discourages the declawing of domestic cats, saying the surgical amputations “prevents cats from expressing normal behaviours and causes pain.”

While declawing used to be frequently performed on kittens in conjunction with being spayed, that’s no longer the case, and more and more practitioners are urging their clients to educate themselves with humane alternatives before opting into what many consider an unnecessary cosmetic procedure.

B.C.’s Okanagan Veterinary Hospital is one of hundreds of Canadian clinics that are turning their back on declawing.

Owner Dr. Marco Veenis, also the president of the Society of B.C. Veterinarians, said most pet owners are amenable to exploring other options.

“People love their kitty cats and when we talk to them about what this really is – amputating their feet – they think about it differently,” he said.

Just how painful declawing is depends on who you talk to. In the past, it’s been used to test painkillers for cats because it’s considered much more painful than a spray or neuter surgery. Cats are put under general anaesthetic and given several days of painkillers for recovery. Vets who perform it say younger animals recover faster and most cats will recover in several weeks, pending any complications. But many cats experience paw tenderness because of the severed digits, often for life.

Laser declawing, which has become more common in the past five years, simplifies the surgery and reduces pain and recovery time – but part of the cat’s fingers are still removed. And detractors say declawing of any kind robs an animal of its primary means of defence, putting at an increased risk of injury or death from another animal.

The CVMA encourages vets to inform clients about the potential negative consequences of the procedure, but acknowledges it’s a personal choice about whether a clinic performs the surgery.

Both the SPCA and CVMA only condone declawing in cases where all other options are exhausted, and the owner would otherwise surrender the animal to a shelter, or have it euthanized. The SPCA provides educational brochures that provide owners humane alternatives to the surgery.

“Claws are what makes a cat a cat,” SPCA animal welfare expert Meghann Cant told CTV News. “As long as we educate cat owners, most of these surgeries can be avoided.”

Scratching is an innate trait in felines, as is the hunting of small prey like mice or birds. But just as the owner of an indoor cat can use toys like a fuzzy object on a string to mimic those hunting behaviours, you can also steer your furry companion into more appropriate scratching.

The SPCA teaches potential cat owners to provide their pet with more appropriate scratching stations, something that will hopefully prevent them from destroying expensive rugs and leather couches. It’s that destructive behaviour that often leads pet owners to surrendering their cat to a shelter.

Regular nail trims are helpful.

There are also sprays available on the market to keep cats away from furniture, and attraction devices like Feliway Phermone spray or catnip to guide cats to an appropriate scratching post.

Another non-surgical trend gaining traction to keep cats from scratching is giving them a kitty manicure.

The application of vinyl, blunt nail caps – marketed as Soft Paws or Soft Claws – are glued to the claws, with the intention that the blunt end won’t be sharp enough to cause damage. They have to be replaced every six weeks, depending on scratching habits.

Declawing is still taught at veterinary schools across Canada, although now it’s now accompanied by discussions about what it means, both in ethical terms and for the animal’s wellbeing.

“The tides are changing, but it takes time,” said Dr. Tracy Cornish, a Victoria veterinarian and the council president of the College of Veterinarians of B.C.

Meanwhile, Dr. Marco Veenis says Canada has to catch up with other developed nations, and hopes that the practice will be banned, as it is in Europe.

“As pet owners we need to put our collective heads together and ask is this something we still need to be doing,” he said.

VOKRA in Surrey

Grino | March 19, 2013

VOKRA has expanded its rescue efforts in Surrey. With the help of over 50 fabulous volunteers that work tirelessly to help humanely control the abandoned and feral cat population, VOKRA has helped over 600 cats and kittens in Surrey in just the last year.

And a very special thank you to Katie's Place and High Point Animal Hosiptal who help make our work possible!

JoyTV News's intrepid reporter, Leah Bolton, dropped by to talk to some of the VOKRA team. Leah interviewed trappers and vets on location in Surrey. And of course she met some cute kitties.

VOKRA is currently seeking a new intake location for our Surrey efforts. If you know anyone who has real estate space they would like to donate on a long-term basis, please let us know at

VOKRA is always looking for new volunteers to help. If you are interested in volunteering, email

10 Cat Safe Plants

Grino | March 17, 2013

Find the original Article here.

Find more info on an enclosed balcony or outdoor space for your cat here.

Gardeners, take heart: There are lots of wonderful cat-safe plants you can grow in your home. Here are my top 10 balcony-garden favorites.

If you're like me, you'd love to have plants in your home, but you worry that they may not work and play well with your feline housemates. We all know that catnip and oat grass are obvious choices for your cat, but what if you want plants for you? Here's a place to start.

Herb Gardens

Herbs can be a wonderful accompaniment to meals, and often they add more than just flavor: Some of them even provide important antioxidants that can help keep us healthy. Here are a few of my favorite cat-safe herbs:

1. Basil(Ocimum basilicum) is a member of the mint family, and like all mints, it is safe for cats to consume. I can't even imagine a summer without salads made of fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella cheese.

An assortment of herbs via Shutterstock.

2. German Chamomile
(Matricaria chamomilla) is a member of the daisy family. If you're a tea drinker, you'll know this stuff well: It makes for a great fresh tea on a hot summer day. Please note thatEnglish Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is toxic to cats. Make sure you get the right kind!

3. Coriander
(Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro, is a key herb in the cookery of almost the whole world. Coriander leaves are commonly used in Mexican, Chinese, and South Asian cuisine.

Fresh herbs via Shutterstock.

4. Dill
(Anethum graveolens) is a great way to spice up a cucumber salad, borscht, or your favorite fish dish. It's especially yummy on salmon.

5. Parsley
(Petroselinum hortense) is another great cat-safe herb. Although it's often used as a garnish or sprinkled on top of potato or rice dishes, it's also a key ingredient in tabbouleh salad.

Flower Gardens

If you're not big on cooking but you love to plant things that look and smell beautiful, fear not: There are plenty of cat-safe flowers for you to choose from.

1. Cornflower
(Centaurea cyanus), also known as Bachelor's Button, will add a beautiful blue to your flowerpots. As an extra bonus, the flower is edible and can be used to add color to salads.

2. Impatiens
(any member of the species) comes in so many amazing colors and flower shapes that you can find something to fit any color palette or sun level.

If you're a hardcore gardener and you live in the right climate zone, the Moon Orchid(Phalaenopsis amabilis) can bring a gorgeous aroma and beautiful flowery goodness to your home.

If you're not such a hardcore gardener, Petunias (all 35 species of them) are easy to grow, come in lots of beautiful colors. and smell absolutely amazing!

From Beautiful World Living Environment

5. Zinnias
also come in a variety of colors and, as a bonus, are also known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

For more information on cat-TOXIC plants, consult the VOKRA web page here.

Give to VOKRA for Free!

Grino | March 2, 2013

Welcome to VOKRA's Monthly Gift Card Fundraising Program.

It's a quick and easy way to help VOKRA!

Place an order for a Gift Card for your regular stops – including: gas, groceries, restaurants, shopping, spas, etc.

The company will give VOKRA a commission -You will get full value of the card

We will receive your Gift Cards in approximately 5-7 days of the order deadline, then you can either pick them up or we will mail them to you!

Our Order Form has all the information on available Gift Cards and the % commission VOKRA will receive.

Download this Excel form that will calculate your order for you

Or, if you prefer, download this PDF for your order

Please send order forms and inquiries to

Please mail your cheque payment to the address below.

Deadlines for orders are the 15th of every Month at Noon.


PO BOX 74571
2768 W Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6K 4P4

Send postdated cheques for a standing order!

*Unfortunately we are unable to take PayPal for this program as the percent costs for the using PayPal are usually more than the commission we would receive.


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