Who is going to take over from me?
A woman called me up about a complaint from a block of flats. This is a perennial problem block because the feeder who called has another friend who is also a feeder and who loves to let her cat out. She leaves food out and the cat walks in and out of her flat, and defecates on the doorstep of another family on a floor lower than theirs.
I have gone by to this flat several times and spoke to the woman's daughter. The daughter told me that she has scolded/advised/told her mother that she is putting the cats at risk by doing this. Her mother however refuses to listen and told me that her cat never goes out. The daughter told me that unless her mother was fined, she was not going to stop.
The feeder who called me said that one of the cats was trapped there last week. I asked her if it was a sterilised cat and she said no, but it had been there and she had been feeding it for five years. She asked why the cat was caught if it had been there for so long. Her husband however came on the phone a while later and said that this cat was usually picking fights with the community cats in the area.
I explained to the woman it's not how long the cat has been there, but a question of whether it is being sterilised and managed. If there is a constant problem as well (for example of defecation), the cats there are in danger, whether or not they are sterilised.
I also advised her to call the AVA and TC if any of her cats are lost. She kept insisting that she is elderly and does not know how to use the phone, but I pointed out that she can call me. I told her that it is best to call in a timely manner and to call the AVA and TC directly. She then told me that she may not know if the cats are missing - I told her that frankly if she is the feeder and doesn't know, no one else will be in a better position to know.
She also said that she wants to stop soon but she wants to ask someone to come and take over. I told her that the problem is that it's very difficult to ask someone to stop feeding in one area and move over and feed another colony somewhere else. It just doesn't work that way since caregivers have their OWN cats to look after. It also seems that there are at least four feeders in this area but none seem to really be working with each other. It would make sense if she spoke with them and asked if they could help care for the cats at her block too. When I asked her, she said they were busy.