Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sterilisation versus management

Making some headway on the bills but there's still quite a huge stack to go through!

Someone called just now - she was quite worried as she had heard that there was trapping going on in an area. I looked through the list of caregivers I know, but none were in the vicinity. The only person I did know was at work and didn't know anything either.

The person who called who is a caregiver herself, immediately called the town council but the officer was not around. She said that she would try and get hold of the people who were feeding in the area and try and find out what was happening and what they had done so far. She said she thinks they didn't know what was happening.

Here's the thing that some feeders are still unclear about - sterilising your cats alone does not protect them. Sterilisation is of course the first and most important thing you can do - and doing it helps to reduce the population, which in all likelihood will reduce the complaints and hence your cats are already safer. However having said that, sterilisation does not help with all complaints. It does not help for example if there are complaints about urination and defecation.

Sometimes feeders speak to TC officers and keep telling them that the cats are sterilised. I understand what they are trying to say - which is that the cats are done, and therefore less likely to reproduce, caterwaul or generally cause any kind of 'nuisance' which will result in complaints. However the officers are not concerned about the cats being sterilised - honestly, most of them don't care. What they DO care about is complaints. To many officers I would bet, if there were no complaints, they wouldn't care one way or the other if the cats were indeed sterilised or not. Conversely, telling them that the cats are sterilised does not help because what they want to know is how this will affect complaints.

So basically we have two groups of people talking at cross-purposes but actually aiming for the same thing - less cats, leading to less complaints, leading to everyone being happier because the cats don't have to be removed. If you couch the explanation in terms of complaints rather than pure sterilisation - ie we sterilise the cats BECAUSE it helps to reduce cauterwauling, spraying, more kittens being born which in term helps to lower complaints, the officers may also be more receptive.

One other thing to note is that the officers may want to contact the caregivers in the area - but they can't do so if they don't know whom they are. They may have realised that all the cats are sterilised, but if they have no idea whom to contact when there are complaints, then there is an issue.



Blogger calsifer said...

I believe this is why caregivers should never take a currently problem-free situation for granted.

Just like none of us should assume that the town councils understand our point when we talk to them about our TNRM.

We have to speak to them on their terms, just like the Chinese saying goes: 见人讲人话,见鬼讲鬼话 (talk human speech to humans, talk ghost speech to ghosts). We have to know how to say things that will get our point across.

I think some basic understanding about the art of negotiation might be handy when meeting and talkng to town council.

7/11/07 9:44 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

well said!

7/11/07 10:34 AM  

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