Friday, March 31, 2006

Getting cats sterilised

One thing I am proudest of about working with CWS is that I feel that we have been able to work with several caregivers to help protect their cats. Caregivers do a good job, but not everyone is very articulate or able to speak with the town council - and that's absolutely fine. This is the point where I am happy to come in and help if I can.

The flipside of this though, is that some people have gone from not speaking up, to coming to CWS and asking for help all the time as their first point of reference. So for example, cats are being trapped and they call CWS even though we have told them that they should call the town council, or worse, some people think that because CWS has spoken to the town council, all their cats have immunity, sterilised or not.

The point is that every TNRM programme in each area is as good as the caregivers, and the caregivers have to speak up in their own areas. I have been told before by officers that it's me calling the town council again, the implication being I think, that I am stirring up trouble, when actually I am calling on behalf of someone who just refuses to call the town council. This is why it's so important for every caregiver to make themselves known to the town council.

If a caregiver is doing their best, then I will do MY best (and the Society will try its best) to help the caregiver. However, this means living up to your word, and making sure every cat you look after is sterilised if you tell the town council you will. Certainly there may be genuine situations where something unexpected happens, and you are not able to complete the area by a certain date - then let the town council know. Let CWS know as well if we have been involved in discussions.

Please don't however relax and think that because CWS has spoken to your management council or town council that you can now not worry about sterilising your cats, or take your time doing it. Again your TC or Management Committee looks to you as the caregiver, to see what sort of job you are doing, and believe me when I say that they know who is reliable and who's not. If they think you're not reliable, they're not going to be inclined to work with you.

On a wider scale, if they see that the area under a TNRM programme is managed worse than when they used to trap and kill, then they are going to go back to that. If they leave the cats and they are not sterilised, the number WILL increase - and they're going to see this as proof that sterilisation doesn't work.

Please don't prove them right.


Anonymous Moglee said...

Some people expect CWS to have GPRS. To them, CWS is like dialling 999. I ask them why don;t they approach the people responsible since they have the 1st hand information. Their answer: A BLANK LOOK and silence.

31/3/06 2:52 PM  
Blogger purrsNswipes said...

I think it's human tendency to leave it to the other party to pick up the pieces.

Just like Singaporeans look to the govt to solve everything, some care-givers have the same mentality. I keep having trouble with getting my dad to understand that WE are responsible for the cats we're caring for, and we can't go to CWS for everything.

The thing is some people also assume that once CWS is in the picture, everything's peachy.

IT's not just caregivers, some people also think that CWS is on call for everything that's cat-related.

For eg, if one of the cats get sick, and we bring him/her to the vet, my dad will ask:"So the CWS is paying right?" We sterilise, and he also ask, "CWS paying for it?" He just don't get the message that CWS is not CatBank Singapore.

Still, I think it's not bad of my dad, since he isn't into cat care-giving himself. But care-givers really should know better!

Very strange loh,

31/3/06 3:15 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Both of these posts made me laugh!

31/3/06 8:46 PM  
Anonymous yskat said...

I agree that caregivers should do their part. But the existing power relationship between town councils and caregivers is highly asymmetrical and the balance is tipped way in favour of the former. Town councils can hit caregivers where it hurts most - kill the cats - when they do not hold up to their side of the bargain. Caregivers, on the other hand, can do little to town councils should they fail to stick to the agreed arrangements - except maybe complain to their MPs, who (if the caregivers are lucky) then responds with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Caregivers' irresponsible behaviour is probably a kind of resistance to what they see as a highly oppressive power arrangement.

31/3/06 10:17 PM  
Blogger purrsNswipes said...

YsKat: Well, yes, to put it bluntly, it's a really sucky relationship.

Sometimes we feel like defiance's our middlename too, but then you'll get a mighty jolt when you think for a bit, and realise that it's still the cats who suffer when we do the fist waving and air-punching. At least it happens with us.

What can I say, damned fo you, damned if you don't leh.


31/3/06 10:33 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yskat, that is true - it is definitely imbalanced at the moment. On a larger scale though many caregivers still don't speak up - understandably,it's because they're worried that something may happen to their cats. However, as I said to a caregiver the other day when she said the cats were trapped in her area - why didn't any of them speak up then? She said no one wanted to, and said there was nothing they could do. What happens then is this tendency for town councils to only hear the anti-cat sentiment. Town Councils try and deal with fewer complaints - and right now, they see that cats are a problem. If caregivers are more vocal and come forward, then if the shift is for cats to remain where they are, the town councils will also see it's in their best interests to do that.

As Puursnswipes said as well, it is the cats who will suffer ultimately - or benefit. We need to make sure that we do not give town council an opportunity to renege on what they have agreed on.

1/4/06 12:11 AM  
Anonymous yskat said...

Caregivers are not speaking up probably because for them, town council = gahmen. They would rather sacrifice the cats than stick their necks out and risk having them chopped off. The town council officers use this fear to their advantage, and in the process create even more distrust. Yes, caregivers should speak up. But town councils are also playing deaf.

1/4/06 9:40 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I agree Yskat, but caregivers also do no good to their cause by not being seen to fulfill their word. It makes it easy for town councils to then say that caregivers are unreliable. Is it unfair? Sure, but caregivers have to be held to a higher standard in a way. To say that town councils lie and therefore it is okay to lie to them (which is what one caregiver told me) is just going to end up shooting caregivers in the foot.

I remember reading once that a woman surgeon said that she had to work twice as hard and twice as brilliantly as a man to get where she was. It wasn't fair - but until there are as many women as men in surgery, this is probably going to be the case. Same with the caregivers.

1/4/06 11:34 AM  

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