Caregivers being proactive
A caregiver called me today to say that there was a feeder in another area she knew, though not personally. This other feeder had lost a sterilised cat which was trapped by the town council and sent into the AVA. She gave me the name of the feeder and I spoke with the woman directly.
It seems that the woman was away for more than a week and that the cat had been caught during this time. In fact, an SMS about the situation had been sent around and the caregivers in the area were trying to find out who was caring for the cat but no one knew of the existence of this woman.
The woman tried to get the TC to release the cat to her, but she had no luck. The TC said that she should go directly to the AVA. The AVA on the other hand were still pursuing their new policy of not releasing any cat, sterilised or not, whether it is to be returned to the street or not, without a letter (we're still waiting a response on this matter).
The woman did not know whom her officer was but she did take down the number of the woman she spoke with. I called her up and found out that there had been a complaint in the area, and as such, the cats had been rounded up. I explained that there was a woman caring for the cats there. I asked if a letter could be written. She said that the TC's policy is not to write letters for cats to be released. She said she was under the impression this was practised by other TCs. I said that as far as I know, this was the first time I had heard of a TC not writing a letter.
If the TC refuses to write a letter and the AVA refuses to release the cat without one, then we have a real problem here.
I tried to speak with the General Manager of the TC but he was out of the office so I dropped him an email as he won't be back till tomorrow.
One of the problems with this area may be that the caregivers are not really working together and have not approached the TC. I know one of the residents has asked the other caregivers to meet up with an eye to doing so, but the rest don't seem very interested. When I spoke with the woman today and explained that it might be good for her to get to know other caregivers, she said that they lived further away from her and that she only managed her area. I pointed out that it's good to know other people from other areas - for example if they had known she was the person looking after this area, someone could have informed her earlier that the cats were caught at the very least. She agreed but said she only wanted to be in charge of her block, which is fair enough.
At the end of the day it boils down to residents in the area. If the residents there are not very interested in working with the TC and with each other, then very little can be achieved. If the officers and other caregivers are not even aware that someone is there, that person cannot be contacted if there is a complaint that needs to be resolved. And of course if the complaint continues, the cats get caught. It's important to be proactive. Don't wait till there is a problem to contact your TC officer - by that time, your cat may already have been caught.
It's also helpful to be part of a support network. It helps to know there are other people out there too - and they can help you out and vice versa.