By VanEastVet, on Friday, September 4th, 2015
If you are a rescue-cat parent in Vancouver, then you have likely heard of the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association, or at the very least would recognize their unmistakeable, James Bond-ian acronym: VOKRA. In their 14 years of operation, VOKRA has become one of the preeminent rescue centres for cats in BC, and though VOKRA is, at its core, an adoption shelter, the mandate and scope of their daily operations is both impressive and inspiring.
To begin, VOKRA is a non-profit charity, which means they are a 100% volunteer-run operation, and the network of volunteers they maintain is extensive. Though they do keep headquarters in East Vancouver, they do not operate a public shelter; rather, the cats under their care are relocated to a vast network of 350 foster homes across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. This is done for two reasons: first, in order to minimize the transmission of disease and parasites between the older cats and the younger, more susceptible kittens; second, to maximize kitten-human socialization, in order to better prepare the orphans for their future homes. At any given time, VOKRA handles anywhere between 200 and 600 cats, or an average of about 1800 kittens in a year.
However, what truly sets VOKRA apart is their no-kill policy. Every cat in their care is afforded treatment, even those in circumstances that might find them euthanised at a different shelter. For example, VOKRA’s Pre-Natal / Natal / Orphan Program attends specifically to pregnant and nursing cats, as well as young orphans who have to be bottle-fed, while their Trap-Neuter-Return Program actually finds volunteers humanely trapping feral cats, transporting them to the shelter to be spayed or neutered, and then returning them back to their colonies, where they continue to be monitored and cared for. The feral cats in their care who are deemed capable of adapting to a foster home are placed in foster care where they can be tamed and domesticated, and released for adoption.
VOKRA is 100% volunteer-run, and their funding comes primarily from adoption fees, donations, and fundraising, as well as government grants. There are many ways you can donate in order to help keep VOKRA operating, and help care for thousands of cats and kittens.
If you aren’t able to donate your money, then consider donating your time. VOKRA are always looking for dedicated volunteers, and there are many areas in which you can help, in many different capacities. Visit their volunteer page, and find the right fit for you.
If you have been thinking about adopting a kitten or cat, consider adopting from VOKRA. Many of the cats in their care have experienced the worst that life has to offer a cat, and could use a loving permanent home in which to settle down. Learn whether you have what it takes to make an ideal parent.