I was just speaking with a new caregiver who had quite a few questions as she is just starting out in her estate. She was mentioning the same thing to me - that she had met quite a few people through working with the cats that she had not known before. She said this was really a good way of getting people to bond and get to know each other and was about a community really coming together.
It struck me as I was speaking with her how many people think that caring for community cats is a 'cat issue'. It's not. As any caregiver knows, it has a lot to do with speaking to people in the community and explaining what TNRM is about. It has to do with helping to mediate complaints and work with residents who are unhappy because of different concerns. It has to do with keeping the environment clean because many caregivers clear up litter. It also has to do with ensuring the environment is a pleasant one by keeping the population down, cutting down on cauterwauling and spraying.
One of the caregivers told me that when she went to see her MP, he had told her that when she had settled the cat issues, it would be good if she could spend her time working with people who needed help. I think that's a narrow viewpoint. If everyone took that view, then no one would care about the environment or global warming for example because neither affects people directly in that sense. But it will. In the same way, working with cats is really about many other things - most importantly making it a more pleasant living environment for all.