Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fostercat appeal

I don't know much about Fostercat Holly's background other than she was rescued and then lived at a shelter for quite a while. It's pretty clear she's been abused. She's very flinchy and takes a long time to trust. After she finally came out of hiding, when she suddenly demanded attention, I had to learn how to move and how not to move in order to make her feel safe, or she'd cower as if I was about to belt her.

Compounding that problem is her painful teeth. She loves to be petted. I haven't found the end to her tolerance for being hugged and stroked and she will repeatedly rub her head against my hand ... until she hits a part of her mouth that's painful. Then she'll flinch and cower as if I'm about to belt her. Something has to be done to take away her physical pain before we can make much more progress on the other kind.

The rescue organization is supposed to pay for all fostercat-related expenses, including food, litter, and vet bills, but they're strapped for cash so I've offered to do it. But here's the thing: she's only one of 300 fostercats they already have in their system, never mind the new ones coming in a steady stream.

So if you can spare some money and want to help this organization help abandoned cats and kittens, please consider giving here. Holly's got me, but there's lots of abandoned cats out there who need someone too.

Here's their media release:

Cat rescue organization needs help to stay alive

News Release, November 12, 2010—Hundreds of abandoned kittens and cats in Vancouver and Burnaby are hoping the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) can raise enough money to enable them to continue their work.

“All animal rescue organizations are stunned by how enormous the need has been this year,” says Karen Duncan, co-founder and president of VOKRA. “There were so many more cats who were abandoned and dumped on the street or came to us really young and pregnant.”

VOKRA is a no-kill, registered charity that works to reduce the uncontrolled breeding in feral cat colonies, while also actively finding foster and forever homes for the growing number of cats and kittens in need in the Lower Mainland. VOKRA does not receive any government funding. Run by volunteers, VOKRA relies entirely on adoption fees and donations to pay for high-quality food, litter, and medical costs for over a thousand cats each year. Average monthly costs are $28,000.

Duncan says VOKRA doesn't euthanize cats if they have a will to keep living. Instead, it pays for life-saving treatment. Many cats who are taken in are ill or easily susceptible to illness because they have not been fed properly and generally have not had good lives. To put costs into perspective, helping one healthy cat can cost at least $190 in vet bills, plus $40 per month in food and litter costs until they are adopted. VOKRA adoption fees barely cover these costs, and the need to fundraise becomes greater every year.

“The number of cats is increasing, as is the demand for what we do, and so our vet bills and expenses keep going up,” says Duncan. “We go through kitten season with ups and downs, and this is the time of year when things start to catch up. We're doing everything we can to fundraise to pay our bills and have enough to start another year of rescuing abandoned cats and kittens.”

“We aren't closing VOKRA,” continues Duncan, “but our capacity and what we can do is limited, so we are now focusing on very young kittens, pregnant/nursing cats, and our own returns, which is our original mandate.”

Duncan is optimistic that the constant flow of kittens will diminish, and the current 300 cats and kittens in their care will be adopted out soon. Until then, VOKRA has stepped up its fundraising efforts, including grant applications and planning for next year’s Walk for the Kitties walk-a-thon. But what the association really needs are additional regular donors.

“Even though we're still coming out of the economic downturn, ten dollars a month is nothing to most people. But every dollar helps us,” says Duncan . “We wouldn't be here without the generous support of the community. We're appealing to everyone, so we can continue to help these neglected creatures. They have not asked to be born into an already overpopulated world.”

How you can help:

1. Donate online at and then ask 10 of your friends to donate at least $10. Consider becoming a monthly donor.

2. Donate by cheque made out to VOKRA and mail to:

PO Box 74571

2768 West Broadway

Vancouver, BC V6K 4P4

3. Purchase VOKRA calendars, T-shirts, bracelets, or retail store gift cards - ask us for more info!

4. Become a VOKRA sponsor at

5. Spay or neuter your cat by five months. Tell your friends and family to do the same.

VOKRA issues tax receipts for donations $20 and above.

In 2009, VOKRA spent $338,382:

Veterinary Costs and Medicine: 69%

Supplies (incl. food and litter): 20%

Administration and Fundraising: 9%

Fuel: 2%