Thursday, March 22, 2007

Why slots are booked through CATSNIP

The CATSNIP voicemail volunteer had someone call and complain that it was too much trouble to book through the voice message system or email for sterilisation slots and wanted to do it directly with the vet. She said the woman, who hadn't booked slots for a while, got rather agitated and said that the vet had always lets her book direct in the past. I had spoken with her a few days ago and she seemed okay, but then she got upset while speaking with the volunteer again. Now another caregiver called Rebecca up and said that she heard it's so hard to book slots from this other caregiver that she doesn't want to sterilise and that XXX clinic lets them bring it in without booking through us.

Why do we ask volunteers to book slots through us? It's actually gives the volunteers more work to book the slots - if the clinic will let caregivers book with them directly, we're more than happy to ask caregivers to call direct (and we do). The point is that only one clinic does that right now.

The reason most clinics do not want caregivers to book directly is that it gets messy - different caregivers may ask for different things, some people may bring in their pet cats and try to get community cat rates or all the caregivers may bring in cats on the same day which means they have too many cats to sterilise at once.

The reason why we do the bookings is that we've had requests from clinics to be the ones doing the bookings. They've had different caregivers they would rather not deal with in some cases.

In some cases, people have gone in and claimed to be from CWS and the vet clinic has called up upset with us for sending in too many cats at one time. People walk in demanding their cats must be sterilised immediately. We have been told by different clinics that they no longer wish to give community cat rates because of these problems. Subsequently we had to put in more steps to ensure the clinics did not face these problems and told them to only take bookings from designated volunteers that the clinics are told about. All the clinics are given letters to that effect.

That is why we have the booking system - to ensure that everyone gets slots at the cheapest rates available.

Some people claim that they have special arrangements with the vets - that's absolutely fine, and they should call the vet directly. The problem arises when the clinic does not wish to continue with this arrangement anymore and asks them to call us for slots. Then the caregiver gets angry with us.

We cannot arrange slots for you ASAP. This may be because (1) the vet is full or (2) there are other people ahead of you in the queue. On occasion, if it's an emergency the volunteers try their best to arrange a slot as quickly as possible and I think they have done a fantastic job of it. Please do however try not to have an emergency every week.

People often say that they can't be sure they will trap the cat because it is a community cat - well that's something that is true of everyone. What I advise people to do is to book the slot first for the day you intend to trap. If you really can't trap any cats, then call the clinic and let them know as soon as you can.

Most caregivers are very considerate and have no issues with the system - and we thank you for that.

I also think the volunteers manning the email and voice message system are doing a great job and should be applauded for the hard work they're doing - thank you CATSNIP volunteers.

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