Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cat Haters

I wrote an earlier post that people like to refer to volunteers as 'cat lovers' - just yesterday I spoke to two town council officers who said again that they were trying to find a way to try and keep the 'cat lovers' and people who don't like cats happy. It's true that there may be interests which may seem to be conflicting, but most of the time the problem can be resolved to everyone's best interest.

On the flip side, I have to say that sometimes we also fall into the trap of thinking of people who have complaints as all being cat haters. Many of them aren't - I've noticed that many people who have complaints, do have genuine problems. It isn't that most hate cats and don't want to see any cats at all ever again, but that they have a specific problem, and don't know of any other way to solve it. Some of them also genuinely don't know that the cats are killed - they think they're being taken away to be adopted and are horrified when they learn this isn't the case.

While there are some people who are unreasonable, and don't want a single cat in the estate, most people aren't that way. It may be due to the fact that they have imperfect knowledge (ie if we just take all the cats away to a shelter, there won't be any more cats in my estate again) or that they have a problem and they need help solving it. That's why we need to try and work on the problem - and make them see that the problem isn't the cat.

I'm going down for a mediation this morning - the complainant has a girlfriend who is terrified of cats. He has a neighbour who lets his cat out (and we've spoken with them twice about this already) and now is feeding the community cats from downstairs upstairs, so the cats come up. He has no problem with the caregiver downstairs, whom he says is responsible, nor with the cats, but he says the cats block the path to his flat (which is the first on the corridor). Again, the cats wouldn't come up here, if people didn't feed them - and if we can try and convince the neighbours to please just feed downstairs, the problem would be solved.

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