Helping volunteers to help the cats
Number of cats the Society was asked to take in :- Four
Common misconceptions that people have about the Society is that we are run out of a large office/shelter somewhere and that we are run by what must be an army of paid staff! :)
Besides the sole employee (myself), the accountant and our hopefully soon to be employed web master, every single other person who helps the Society is a volunteer. I think the volunteers do an amazing job - these are our volunteers who help with sterilisation, adoption, cat management, merchandising, newsletters, fostering, etc. They are literally the backbone of the Society. In everything other than cat management, we actually have a very small number of volunteers who are regularly volunteering.
Unfortunately, some members of the public and others who write in and call are very demanding. Our adoption team (consisting of two volunteers) for example needs to forward adoption requests to the fosters, who are then to e-mail the potential adopters directly. The adoption volunteers will email both sides to let them know this is done, and they almost always answer within the same day. However, potential adopters can be very demanding, asking to see the cats ASAP - and writing in (and I have seen this!) literally five minutes after asking why there has not been a response yet.
What some fail to realise is that the fosters are also working full-time and may not be sitting at their computers all day. Also, some potential adopters write in to say they want to be 'first in line' so as not to 'lose out'. Cats are not bargain basement items that are handed out to the first person who writes in - clearly they need to go to the right person, and this is not dependent on what position the person is in the queue.
The sterilisation team (also a dynamic duo - Jolanda and another volunteer) have people ringing the voice message system and asking for slots immediately - while they try their very best to get the earliest slots for sterilisation, the slots are allocated by the vets. They cannot get an earlier date for example, if the vet cannot operate on more cats that day!
It's sad when people write in to ask for something, and you ask if they can help - too often, people will say they're busy and/or working. For example, people will find a badly injured cat, will leave it there and email. We try our best to find volunteers in the area to go down, but they may be at work and can only go after work hours - when we explain that to the person emailing though, and ask if they can help the cat first since they are on site, the response is usually that they're too busy - just like 95% of our volunteers!
I have to say that I cannot understand how a person can purport to care and leave a dying/injured cat there. It seems that some people think the minute they tell you about the cat, it becomes YOUR problem. Some people are worried about what to do as they may not have experience with injured cats, and once they are given some advice are marvellous, but too many unfortunately, just don't care enough.
Thank goodness though for our committed volunteers - a big thank you to all of them for the time/money/abuse they have to put in or put up with!