Credit: Diane Selkirk

Charlie, one of the fostered VOKRA alumni

Fostering or adopting kittens can be a rewarding experience for you and your family

“Mum! We forgot Charlie’s birthday!” my daughter Maia exclaimed.

Charlie is our cat. Four years ago we fostered him, his four siblings and his mama through Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association, VOKRA. After losing our much-loved old cat to cancer, we weren’t ready to commit to a new pet, but we wanted the silly comic relief that kittens bring to a home.


VOKRA has been going strong now for 12 years, growing from helping 150 kittens and adult cats per year to helping over 1,400 in 2009. They rely on foster families to love and care for the cats (all costs are covered) until a suitable long-term family is found.

The VOKRA Fostering Process



One lovely spring we got to be one of those families. Maia and I brought home a family of six and shared the experience of watching five kittens open their eyes and turn into fuzzy balls of adorable. When they reached the right age, the adoption process started.

We took pictures of each of the kittens and their mama, wrote up a biography describing their unique characters and then said goodbye as the kittens and their mama were adopted by wonderful people.

All the kittens except Charlie.

Initially we worried when Charlie passed through his adorable kitten stage and entered into his gangly adolescence. We had heard black cats are unpopular (yes, they do shed black fur, but the sweetest cats I’ve met seem to be the black ones) and that Vancouver has an excessive number of them.

Luckily, we fell hopelessly in love with him and didn’t want to give him up.

A Cat Joins the Family

Four years later, Charlie is sleeping at my feet — seemingly oblivious to the fact we forgot his birthday. Maia is urgently trying to think of the right way to celebrate his four years with us. A party seems too “over the top,” and a present seems unnecessary because his favourite toys are crumpled up balls of paper and pipe cleaners.

“Why don’t we tell people how wonderful he is, so they go to VOKRA and adopt or foster some of the kitties?” she suggests. “I think that is the best way to celebrate.”

So I suggested she tell you herself:

“When we first brought home the mama and her babies I thought it was the best day in my life. They were so cute! And then we got to keep Charlie and that became the best day in my life. He’s my best friend. He gives me kisses when I’m sad and does the silliest things to make me laugh.”

VOKRA Contact Details

Telephone Message Line: 604-731-2913

PO Box 74571
2768 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V6K 4P4

Vancouver SPCA
1205 East 7th Avenue
Vancouver, BC  V5T 1R1
Phone: (604) 879-7721