Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I just spoke with a complainant who started out rather irate. Apparently the cats had been urinating and defecating in the corridor for quite some time and he was rather annoyed. He said that he had come home last night and the cat had urinated on his raincoat. He said that he was going to 'whack' the cat. I asked him if he was aware if anyone had cats as pets. He did - and he knew which household. He had tried to speak with the person but to no avail.

I told him hitting the cat was wrong, and that it didn't solve the problem. I explained that this was a problem with the person - he expressed the view that he might hit the person too if his patience was tried some more.

I got the feeling he was speaking more out of frustration than of wanting to hurt the cat (though I did warn him that abuse is a crime). I asked him if he really wanted to hurt the cat who wasn't at fault, and he said he didn't, but this had been going on for some time.

I also explained that usually community cats don't walk upstairs unless they are being fed. He asked me how I came to his conclusion and I explained because of the cases I had dealt with, this was what I had observed and he accepted that.

I explained that we would ask some caregivers in the area to try and speak with his neighbour and that he could try mothballs in the meantime. He said he had complained to his town council for some time but to no avail.

He calmed down and said that he actually did like cats but that he was frustrated and this made him say unnecessary things. He said he was glad that he had spoken with me because it sounded like I understood his problem, whereas he felt his TC officer didn't know what to do. It ended quite cordially with him agreeing to get the mothballs. Now I hope that the person with the cats will be co-operative!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to hear! Thanks dawn.

29/8/07 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Eileen said...

thanks for posting up this blog. I will use your method to speak to my neighbour too :)

29/8/07 11:53 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Good luck!

29/8/07 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Mr Teo should make it compulsory for ALL TC officers to read this blog and LEARN how to resolve cat feedback effectively!!

29/8/07 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, yes, yes! i also say! all TC officers should be made to read useful blogs to better improve their work performance! better still, let animal welfare be a part of their KPIs!!

29/8/07 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

most if not all (range of), civil servants are of sheep herd mentality. ass such, nothing is more important and relevant than that it's the leaders of the leaders of town councils who are going to make the difference. that poor stoneface HDB TC robot is going to turn right and left according to his/her remote control. SO, it's whom who has the power to determine the function of the remote control that's really crucial!

29/8/07 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think everyone who has to deal with the puiblic, whether from the private or public sector, shld learn basic communication skills and how to respond to complaints in a calm, logical manner. very often, complainants just want someone to hear them out, even if nothing can really be done. i know this sounds strange but it is true.

for example i learnt from hospital administrators that in many cases where medical negligence is alleged agst doctors/hospitals, what the patients and their families really want is to be heard out and to have some explanation of why the alleged negligence happened. once they get that they are quite willing to back down, even though the damage itself cannot be undone. it is when hospitals start stonewalling patients that fullblown lawsuits are brought by frustrated family members. not a cat story i know but for some reason, i thought of this when i read your post and thought i wld share it.

30/8/07 10:03 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous that's a very good point - thanks for sharing. I do agree. Sometimes people just want to be heard out. I would imagine it's harder now as people also fear lawsuits if an admission is made in a medical case as you mentioned.

30/8/07 10:20 AM  

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