Finite resources, unlimited needs
I just spoke with a woman who called because she met someone who has been feeding cats in her area. She said the woman has a number of pregnant cats and one cat which potentially may have complications with the pregnancy. The woman does not want to pay as she said the cats aren't hers and that she just feeds them. In addition, the feeder is moving out in a month as the blocks are going to be torn down. She will not be taking care of any of the cats then.
I asked the woman who called if the feeder is in financial need. The woman wasn't sure. She said the woman is elderly, but she thinks it more likely that the woman does not want to pay. She does not think the woman will nurse the cat as well if it gets sick.
I told the woman that we would need to find out whether the woman is prepared to take on the share of the responsibility. I said if she cannot afford it, we can definitely try to help with the financial part, but what would happen afterwards? Who would be looking after these cats? And if this woman is not in financial need, then why are we helping her instead of some person?
The woman told me she wanted to sterilise the cats and I told her this was very commendable, but who will be responsible for the cats after they have been done?
Let's be very honest here. We have finite resources. If we had unlimited money, sure let's pay for everyone to sterilise and give the money to everyone, but we don't. In that case, our money can be used to help cats in areas who are being looked after by caregivers who ARE responsible for them and willing to work with the TCs. This way the cats will be 'safe' because complaints will first be handled to caregivers, who take care of the cats and the cats will not be removed.
We used to pay the full amount for sterilisation for everyone till we ran out of funds during SARS. Recently I spoke with a caregiver from one area whom we used to pay for. There was a feeder there who sterilised once in a while. We had paid for her cats to be done. At the end of paying for the sterilisations, the number of unsterilised cats was exactly the same! She ended up not sterilising promptly, not handling complaints and all that happened was that we were poorer for it. The cats weren't helped ultimately.
In addition, why are we rewarding people who DON'T want to be responsible? If anything, the money should be going to people who ARE responsible and have been sterilising - and that's where our reimbursement comes in. It makes no sense to pay more money for someone who does not want to be responsible, and less for someone who is.