Thursday, February 22, 2007

They're not my cats

I spoke to a woman this morning who wanted to call for subsidised sterilisation. After she identified herself and where she was from, I remembered that I had spoken with her a few months ago. At her workplace she was told to stop feeding the cats a few months ago. I had offered to help her speak with her management then but she said she was worried she would lose her job. I encouraged her to sterilise the cats but she wasn't keen.

She told me that the cats were in danger of being rounded up again and she said they were not looked after by her anymore. As we spoke, she then admitted that she had been feeding them secretly. She kept insisting that they aren't her cats and that the ones that are hers have been moved into boarding.

She mentioned that another person had come to know of the cats' existence and that the person had decided to start sterilising the cats (though I'm wondering how this other person has access to the property as it is a place with restricted access). She told the other caregiver that she would get her a better rate for sterilisation. I told her that it wasn't a problem, but that I would like to speak with the other person involved so that perhaps the two of us could work something out and not involve the feeder since she felt her job might be in jeopardy. At the same time, the cats would be protected.

The feeder said the cats would not be in danger once sterilised. I told her that we didn't know that - the management might still remove the cats and that if it was possible to work with them to ensure the cats' safety that was for the best. She said this was too much trouble and hung up on me.

I called her back and said that I just wanted to speak with the other caregiver. She said she didn't want me to because the other caregiver often scolded her for what she was doing. She was also told off by the management for feeding the cats. She said it was all too much trouble. I told her that I just wanted to make sure that the cats were safe and we would not mention her at all.

She said she didn't like everyone getting angry with her and hung up again. I rang back one more time and told her that I had already said it wasn't a problem to get her friend the subsidised rates but that of course we got upset if the cats' lives were in danger. I asked her if the cat population had increased since she had not sterilised them. She insisted most of the new cats died. She then said she might remove all the cats once they were sterilised. I asked what would happen to the new cats that moved in. She said that wasn't her problem and that was her management's concern. She said it was all too troublesome for her. She said that she didn't want the subsidised rates any more.



Anonymous autumnpiglet said...

huh? Is the first thing that came to my mind. Really mind-boggling the way this woman responds.

22/2/07 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

she sounds very conflicted. she is clearly torn between wanting to help the cats, and anxiety over keeping her job.

i am quite sure that she won't lose her job over caring for the cats if she cld just string some coherent sentences together to explain to her boss what she is doing and how TNRM can help control the cat population in both the short and long term. if she is responding to her employer the way she is speaking to u, i am not surprised that her bosses are in the dark abt what is going on. they probably think she is simply feeding and attracting more and more cats.

what a pity.

22/2/07 2:27 PM  
Blogger HealingCat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22/2/07 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, let's be a little more patient and understanding towards this lady however mind-boggling and huh-huh-duh her ways may seem to be at this moment. even if we don't think her fears are founded, they are real to her and let's respect that. she obviously feels for the cats and have called dawn for help although she put the phone down on dawn a few times. let's give her sometime to think things over, let's be of strength to someone who's in need of our help, our patience or even, our knowledge. it is important that she is aware that CWS is willing to help her and the cats in spite of.

22/2/07 3:32 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yes Anonymous I hope so - unfortunately we had this same conversation a while ago. I hope she at least tells her friend about our conversation and gets her friend to call.

22/2/07 4:15 PM  
Anonymous autumnpiglet said...

I agree with you anonymous that we should be patient.

My response of HUH? was because she doesn't seem to know what she wants and doesn't seem to be clear about what can be done despite Dawn's attempts to explain. Hanging up the phone a few times on someone trying to offer you a solution doesn't seem very rational. And is actually rather rude.

I am not "duh-ing" her ways. Just HUH? As I don't understand the way she's reacting. It's mind-boggling because she seems to refusing help when help is offered.

22/2/07 4:58 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I think what I found hard to understand was that I completely sympathise that she fears her job may be in jeopardy (whether this is true or not). Of course anyone would be frightened the job could be lost. However I just wanted to speak with her friend (who it seems is doing the sterilisation) and get THAT friend to work with us. She then got upset and said her friend scolds her and that this was all too troublesome.

What I was also disappointed about was that she doesn't care what happens to the next lot of cats that will come in. She didn't deny that they would - just that it wasn't her problem. Just as the fact that they are breeding now is not her problem - she says she is just feeding them. While I can understand again that she may not wish to feed any longer or be in charge, it's quite possible the other caregiver might be, and if so, I am not sure why she is reluctant to let the other person speak with me.

22/2/07 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi autumnpiglet (i really like this name especially when translated into mandarin, very classic - nice!) yes i understand - no offence, didn't mean to emphasize on the word 'huh'. as a matter of fact, i very appreciate many of your responses in this blog. i just wanted to share my thoughts and yet be sensitive to the way i put things across on this blog. some of the people i work with are less privileged than myself and than some of us here, i believe. (less privileged is defined here as having lesser education, are bargainable staff at work with compromised welfare, have lesser monetary means, cannot communicate as well, have more fears, have more worries over bread&butter issues, tend to be treated with less regard by others due to their ways or/and have higher opportunity costs in the choices they make...). And i assume here that this lady may be so and hence her mind-bloggling ways (sorry, just happen to use this word mind-bloggling quite often here - i kinda like the word. actually you write cutely, you know) Often times, these people themselves have funny fears or "ku zhong" which can seem totally inexistence or weird to us. simply because we are not in their shoes and do not have minds that work the way they do. that is why we find their ways mind-boggling. (and vice-versa) like what we always say "different worlds", "different frequencies", "a universe apart" and i like this one: "earth calling moon". i just think that more empathy would be greater as we are all responding here because we care for our feline friends. hi dawn, sometimes we do not reveal the truth yet. it is possible that the lady may feel whatever she felt and gave you impressions which of course, you have to deduce meaning from. all that i am saying is that while any deduction can based on logic and evidence, they may not mean what they really are. if you see me eating an apple, you are not wrong to deduce that i like to eat apples or that at least, i don't dislike eating apple. however, the truth could be that i hate eating apples but am just eating it. or simply because i was thirsty and had an apple in my bag and i didn't want to walk to 7-11 to buy a drink or that i actually dread eating that apple but my best friend had a silly bet with me that if i eat that apple, she will eat 2 apples because she actually hates eating apples alot more than i do.

22/2/07 9:07 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22/2/07 10:24 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

True Anonymous - but the thing is no one can read someone else's mind so I can only tell what someone means by what they say unless I find something contrary to indicate otherwise.

Your analogy about the apple for example I think is slightly different.It's not so much that I deduced you like apples from your actions, but more as if you had TOLD me you like eating apples - ie if I asked you if you liked apples, and you said yes. Now I can assume that you told me the truth, or I can second guess you and assume that you are lying, but unless I have any thing that would make me suspect the latter, I'm going to go on the basis of what you said.

Quite a few of our caregivers are underprivileged and as I said, I can completely understand the fear of losing a job. However here I was just asking if I could speak with the caregiver who is paying for and undertaking the sterilisation. I don't understand why she reacted as such and said it was too troublesome.

Now I would have been more than happy to find out what was upsetting her and I was trying to do so, but she didn't want to do it and kept hanging up.

I had spoken with her about this a few months ago and at the time, she said she did not want to sterilise - she wanted actually to ship all the cats out. I tried to convince her sterilisation was a better option and offered to speak with the management then. She declined out of fear for her job which I respected.

Now she is calling about the same concern but there is a third party who is going to be doing all the work for her. I'd really like to get in touch with the person. As I explained to the woman, we just don't want the cats killed and working with another caregiver so as not to get her into trouble will help. If she still finds it too troublesome to pass my number to her - then I don't know what else to do.

Plus, if she thinks about it, by now saying she doesn't want the subsidised rate, the only person she is hurting is the other caregiver and possibly the cats - not her and not me.

22/2/07 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn, is there a chance that SHE may be this "third party" except that she may not want to admit it for fear of her job?

i think she cares more for the cats than she lets on, primarily out of the fear that she will lose her job. i don't think any of us knows how valid that fear is, but i think one of the issues in this case is her reluctance, or inability, to articulate her needs and fears in a constructive way. i hope u understand that i don't mean this negatively or disparagingly and i don't blame her in any way. i wld hate to be in her position - to be so compelled to help the cats and yet feel such fear for doing it. but at the same time i can't help feeling that the situation may not be as dire as she thinks it is. if only there were a way to get to the bottom of this.

22/2/07 10:38 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi Anonymous - I agree. I would like to get to the bottom of this but honestly, there is no way to do it without her telling me what the problem is. We could sit and second guess whether she is telling the truth or IF she is telling the truth, but there is absolutely no way to verify this without her.

I really don't think the third party is her. For one thing she mentioned the third party sometimes scolds her and being one of the people who makes it troublesome for her to help the cats. However she told me she volunteered to call and get the subsidised rate for the other caregiver. Secondly, when I last spoke with her she wasn't considering sterilising at all. She mentioned she was interested now because there is someone willing to do the work and from my impression, who will pay for it. Thirdly, I had told her in the past there were subsidised rates for her any time she wanted to.

I'm also not sure what she would gain as well by making up a third party. She knows that I know where she works (she told me during our first conversation) and that I've never mentioned it to anyone at her workplace. She's certainly not telling the management about this - so why the need to make up a third party?

My point to her was basically let's try and find a way to help the cats without getting you in any trouble. However she found that too difficult whatever her reasons are.

At the end of the day, I think ALL caregivers face difficulties when caring for the cats - even the most educated and literate people. And of course some people get intimidated or scared - but I find that most when given an option are happy to try it out.

One thing I did wonder as well - this woman too is defying orders every day by feeding the cats, even though she has said that was the first thing her management told her not to do and which she says will cost her the job. Yet she continues to do so.

22/2/07 11:24 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

By the way Anonymous no offence taken :) I understand you're trying to figure out her behaviour and why she might have reacted as such.

I have to say though that in my experience generally people WILL try their best, no matter what their socio-economic status or their educational level, if they truly care for the cats and don't want them killed. Many of our caregivers are in the same boat - ie low income, not very educated, but they try their best because they don't want the cats killed.

If you think about it, it's not rocket science. I feed the cats and they procreate. People complain and the cats die. So how do I stop them reproducing so they don't die? This was told to me by a caregiver in her 60s who doesn't speak any English on why she started sterilising.

22/2/07 11:35 PM  
Anonymous autumnpiglet said...

Thanks anonymous. :o)

23/2/07 9:03 AM  

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