Monday, November 12, 2007

Complainants hate cats?

I was just speaking to a caregiver who said that she is having problems with someone in her area. The man complained to her that there is a cat running up and defecating outside his flat on the third floor. She told me that he hated cats.

On hearing her story though, she kept mentioning that the man kept talking about defecation. So I asked her if he would still want the cats removed if the defecation stopped. She quite confidently said he would not. I asked her then why she said he hated the cats because it seemed to me the issue was defecation and not the cats per se.

She also mentioned that the man said other neighbours were complaining about the defecation.

One thing I often hear is that people say that a complainant hates cats. Most of the time the complainant is frustrated and angry, and sometimes they may even say things that they don't always mean. What caregivers need to do though is to find out what the actual problem is - and then to tackle THAT problem. If they do so, then they often find the complainant doesn't hate the cats - I've even had some complainants apologise and say that they spoke out of anger, and they didn't mean what they said about having the cats killed.

One of the bad things about presuming that the complainant hates cats is that if often leads people to throw up their hands and give up, with the idea that since this is the case, what else is there to do? What is more constructive to do is to try and explain to the complainant that you and the complainant are working towards finding a permanent solution - and not a quick fix. Most complainants will be quite open to this.

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