Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dealing with your TC

I just had a long conversation with a caregiver who obviously has left one of the TC property Manager's feeling rather upset. It seems that there is a feeder who is feeding the cats upstairs. The cats obviously then go upstairs and lies in the corridor. The complainant walks down the same corridor to take the lift and passes the cat. She said she is frightened of the cat.

The feeder in the area went down and took a look. Apparently, he said he left a note under the feeder's door and he did not see any cats around.

Recently last week, there was another complainant from the same woman who says the cat is still lying on the 6th floor corridor. Another officer went down and told another feeder in the area to remove the cat by this week as the complainant had said she would go to the MP.

The feeder I spoke to then went straight to the MP and said that he wanted the MP to tell the complainant to be more tolerant. He said that the cat should not be removed just because she's scared of cats (which is true). He also got upset that she apparently said people were feeding in the void deck and asked why that should bother her (again true).

I agree that the cat shouldn't be killed just because the woman is scared of cats, but we are all in agreement that the cat should not be upstairs in the first place! The feeder said it's very dangerous for the cats and is sure to result in complaints - and so instead of arguing that the woman should in his words, get over her phobia, we should try and find a way to solve the problem. He said that he was willing to concede that in some cases it may be a serious condition - so say she has a letter from her doctor certifying she really does ailurophonia, do we then have to get rid of the cat?

The main thing as I told him is to try and SOLVE the problem. If the feeder will just stop feeding upstairs, the cat will then go downstairs, and presto the problem is solved. As for the situation with the cats in the void deck, there is no issue with that and he might want to point THAT out to the MP instead of asking the MP to insist the woman be more tolerant. The MP isn't God and can't do anything about the latter, but he may be able to about the former.

In addition, I asked him why he went to the MP. This TC has been quite helpful and the feeder said he wanted to show the TC he's not scared of them, though obviously the directive to remove the cat came from a property officer - and not even her boss, the property manager he usually deals with. I asked him if he spoke to the manager to try and work it out. He had not but had gone straight to the MP to show he's not scared of the TC. He then called the Manager to tell him he went to the MP.

I said that it's important to try and build a relationship of trust. The Property Manager had been reasonable all along. Instead of going straight to the MP, I suggested he speak with the Property Manager first and try and work it out. The feeder said that the Manager would now be know they cannot be bullied. I said the flipside is that they may no longer wish to deal with him anymore on the more casual terms that they used to and be less prepared to cut him more slack as well.

If you are in a situation where the Property Officer is not being approachable or helpful, then approach the person who is their direct superior (the Property Manager). If they are unhelpful, then see the Senior Manager, then the General Manager. This is good for two reasons - one, sometimes employees work on their own initiative. This may not be what the people higher up in the TC wanted and to deal with it directly would STILL rectify the situation, but avoid the embarrassment to everyone involved if it was brought up to the MP. Two, it shows that you don't complain at the drop of a hat. You went through all the proper channels and tried to work it out with the TC before going to talk to your MP. It will contrast nicely with the other complainants who went down at the drop of a hat.

If you go down because you fear the complainant is going down to see the MP first but the TC has been supportive, then let the TC know as a courtesy anyway as it has nothing to do with them. Tell the MP the TC is doing a good job if they are. Explain what YOU are doing. Let them know what you have done, as opposed to what the other person has done. Actions speak louder than words sometimes - and if you have been reasonable, co-operative and helpful, that speaks volumes, especially if the other party has not been.

I just spoke to the Property Manager and said I would go down and check the area out too. I told him that the main thing is to get the cat down. He said the woman is in agreement that she is willing to give it more time, but wanted to know what would happen if eventually she got pregnant and the cat dashed out, scared her and she fell. Who would be responsible?

I said none of us would ever wish that to help, and we certainly hope the situation is resolved by then, but if it SHOULD happen, it's not the TC's (or anyone's) fault or responsibility. It's an accident, and the same thing could happen if a child dashed across when she wasn't expecting it, or any other unexpected occurence, which is why they're called accidents. He agreed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

With her kind of phobia and mentality, I doubt she will ever get pregnant! Even if she does get pregnant, she will probably get a miscarriage since she is fearful of whatever animals that come her way.

She should go live in a glass house!

30/1/07 4:04 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

30/1/07 4:19 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous that may be true, but the point too is that the cats really shouldn't be going upstairs and it's because people are feeding them up there.

We can't change how she feels about cats - but we can hopefully make people stop feeding upstairs and putting the cats in danger. If first it's one woman complaining about phobia, soon it'll be someone else saying it's defecation.

In addition, the officer agreed that what she said was unreasonable. That's important to contrast with a reasonable, logical way of dealing with it - ie the caregivers will be taking a reasoned approach to solving it but they can only do so much. However if it degenerates into both sides accusing the other, it doesn't help the cats at all.

30/1/07 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Irresponsible feeding on stomp

30/1/07 5:19 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Glad to see people posted sensible replies.

30/1/07 7:02 PM  
Blogger Profpig ^@^ said...

This feeder should go downstairs, for the sake of the cat and cats in the neighbourhood.

Like Dawn, I think that by taking the case all the way to the MP, it might jeopardise the existence of the cats. He can't remove the lady but he can jolly well remove the cats!

30/1/07 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe she needs to paste a flyer infront of her door reminding her not to panic during cat sighting.
Doesn't help if she could only paint the worst scenario, what if the baby looks ugly, would she blame the cat or her own DNA?

30/1/07 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lady has every right to demand the cat not be hanging out at the staircase. After all she is a resident and the cat is a stray. By cursing her is not going to help as end of the day unreasonable as she is. The law is on her side. Frankly if the TC really wanted to go by the book, the cat would have been culled.

My thoughts are sometimes give and take and understand and never forget that cats feeders are living on a thin thread and they are not the ones holding the cards. By openly going against people like this will only invite more trouble. End of the day you get upset, the cat gets packed into a sack. So for the cat's sake, be rational.

30/1/07 10:22 PM  
Blogger Profpig ^@^ said...

Just saw this and found it pretty interesting.


I wonder if the TC gets complains about cats on vehicles. I salute the 2 guys that wrote this. If there were only more people like them.

30/1/07 10:57 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous I agree partly with you - definitely that in this case, for the sake of the cat, that they shouldn't make a big fuss.

I don't agree though that cat caregivers are living on a thread. I think they have just as many rights as the other residents do. However, the cat isn't up there usually - it's up there because someone is bringing it up rather irresponsibly and it is annoying some residents. What can be done is just to move the cat back downstairs, where it originally was, and everyone ought to be happy.

30/1/07 11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what everyone should be more worried about is the news that H5N1 virus known as bird flu has manifested itself in stray cats in Jakarta. It was just reported in CNA.

Now there is really a real reason for a mass culling of cats.

31/1/07 12:46 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Actually there isn't. I wrote on another thread that (1) the scientists involved say killing the cats will have a detrimental effect at best, (2) the tests have not been independently verified and (3) we already knew cats can catch bird flu. So can people. So can dogs. So if there is an outbreak and people eat the chickens in the area, why is it not surprising the cats catch it? It might meet it is extemely prevalent in the area and the cats ate some infected birds. I'll post an article about it tomorrow - this news actually hit the international press last week and I'm surprised they're only blowing it up here now.

31/1/07 5:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the black death, the mayor of london decided that the plague was being spread by dogs and cats and ordered all of them executed.
The plague not only persisted but accelerated, since executing all the cats allowed the rats (the actual culprits) to multiply freely in the absence of their most feared predator. That's what happens when you don't get the etiology of the disease right.

31/1/07 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn
Say I feed around 8 cats at the void deck. Responsible feeding, no cat fights, no overnight food, no dirtying of place etc. They usually leave after feeding times except for a couple who may just stay for a while. Can I just disregard any unreasonable complaints. I mean the TC can’t just take away sterilized community cats right?

31/1/07 4:20 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi Anonymous, do you have a working relationship with your TC now? What I would suggest is that you show that the complaints are unreasonable - and contrast it with your own very responsible and reasonable behaviour. If it's put across that way and they STILL try and take the cats away, then you should definitely ask for an explanation about why they react in that way since it makes no sense whatsoever.

31/1/07 5:29 PM  

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