Cats released because caregiver knew what to do
One of the groups was facing problems with their town council - the town council had come in and trapped some of the sterilised cats in their area. They were at a loss of what to do and we had some email and phone discussions to talk about it. One of the caregivers called the officers today. Another caregiver had spoken with the officer yesterday but the officer was adamant that the cat would not be returned.
The caregiver today did several things right I think. First she called the officer up and asked why the officer had gone back on their agreement that the cats would not be trapped. She also went up the chain of command - when she got an answer that didn't make sense from her property officer, she went up to the property manager and then to the General Manager.
Secondly she was very calm but explained the benefits of a TNRM programme to the TC. She also said that there were several very upset caregivers who wanted to know what was happening and had gotten several of them to sign a letter which was being sent to the TC. She also copied the MP on the letter.
Thirdly, she stressed that she wanted to work with the town council but wanted to know why the TC was not working with them. She also wasn't afraid to call up the GM and ask for an explanation.
In an hour, she got a call back from the Deputy General Manager. Within two, she was told that she would be given a letter and that the cats would be released. The Deputy General Manager also agreed to meet with the caregivers, the officers and the RC members to see how the groups can work better in the future.
Why did this caregiver's approach work better than the other's? It's not that either of them is a 'worse' caregiver - but that this caregiver knew what she had to mention in order to get the town council to listen. She didn't bring up 'poor innocent cats' - she brought up the fact that the complaints would not be solved AND the wrong cats killed. She was calm, did not break down into tears (which a third caregiver did) and was able to therefore be an effective negotiator. She was also able to talk to the TC about the long term working relationship and not just releasing these three cats. In fact, afterwards, the TC asked if she could be the liasion in the future.
It doesn't mean that other people don't deserve to be heard if they're not the most coherent and logical - certainly every caregiver who wrote in made a difference. It's also good to let the TC know that there are people who care passionately what happens to the cats - but to effectively get the point across, it may take a caregiver who is able to be a bit more calm about it.
If the TC sees that you are logical, calm and reasonable, they are certainly going to be more inclined to work with you then say another person who is upset, belligerent and emotional.
The other thing that was really good to hear was how happy the caregiver sounded when she realised that she had managed to get the cats released through her efforts, and the help of the other caregivers.