Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Experience

Looks like the email and website are down again this morning. I've been trying for a while but can't seem to access the website. In the meantime, I've sent up a gmail account for you to write to if you can't get through to us - it's catwelfare@gmail.com. I'll let you know to stop sending to this account once our normal email is up because I won't be checking this normally.

Last night I was speaking with some people which led me to consider experience in being a caregiver. One woman I spoke with is an experienced caregiver. She mentioned she has been helping a younger woman trap and sterilise the cats in an area. Unfortunately there is some question on whether it will be safe to return the cats. The young woman is quite adamant about getting CWS to speak with the management, but the more experienced caregiver had the same worry I did, which was that it might bring the attention of the management to the area especially when neither of these ladies were residents or tenants in this area.

If you don't live or work there, the management may not particularly care that you are prepared to run a programme there. Their immediate reaction may be to respond to complaints or perceived complaints - and if you are not someone who has a stake in the place, so to speak, they may not be bothered with you. In that case, drawing their attention to the cats may be in effect signing a death warrant on them. It's usually for this reason we ask people to sound out management BEFORE they start a TNRM programme - unless you're quite prepared to have management come and trap at some point, knowing that you are controlling the population anyway. If you want to protect the lot of cats you are sterilising however, then it is best to find out from the management what their stance is - and then decide if you want to carry out TNRM in this area, or somewhere else where the management is more supportive.

The other man I spoke with last night said he was an experienced feeder. He says he has been feeding there for 10 years. Apparently, they have been having complaints in the area for the past year and a new caregiver has been trying to handle it. She has been trying to persuade this man to change his feeding spot so that the cats will be less obvious. This man told me that he had lots of experience, not like the new caregiver who had 'only' been helping out for the last year or two. When I explained that he could change his feeding spot,he said it can't be done - he tried for a week (which isn't usually long enough from speaking with other caregivers who have successfully done it) and that was it. When I asked him to please try a bit longer, he said he didn't want to look after so many cats, perhaps the TC could come and remove some, and that he didn't want to feed anymore.

It made me realise that experience isn't everything - of course people with a lot of experience can share their wealth of knowledge. The more important thing is to realise that people must be willing to not be dogmatic and insist their way is the only way, and the only RIGHT way - experience notwithstanding.

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