I was just speaking with a caregiver who said that she was having some problems with the TC. She said that though they had said they would not trap the cats, apparently they had told her that she could not handle a case, because right after she had gone down to handle a case of defecation on the canopy outside a second floor flat, the complainant called up the very next day to complain it had happened again. The complainant had told her that they could not use mothballs up there as her son was allergic so she went away and felt she could not do anything.
The first thing I asked her was why the cats went up there and she said she did not know. She mentioned that it is above a coffeeshop. Later she clarified that there is a man who likes to throw food on the canopy for the cats. Apparently the man said he had been approached by TC before to stop feeding the cats there.
I told her that the main thing here is that both she and the TC were focusing on the same thing - stopping the defecation temporarily. She and another caregiver were trying mothballs, the TC by trying to either use bleach (which the complainant said worked) or by trapping the cats. However no one was tackling the real problem - ie the man throwing food and luring the cats up.
I asked her why she didn't tell the TC about this man. She said that it was because he feeds the cats and she is afraid that if he stops, they may starve. I asked her which was better - cats going downstairs to look for food, or the cats getting killed because they are in the wrong place?
If a TC has agreed to work with you, the idea is to ensure that you try your best to solve the problem. If the problem cannot be solved as in this case, because the problem is that there is a person who is causing the issue in the first place such as an irresponsible feeder (which is mostly the case), then you need to let the TC know and ask them to work on it together with you. Otherwise it looks like you have dropped the ball so to speak and cannot be counted on to handle problems. Let's put it this way - if a TC handles you problems and you consistently do not seem able to handle them, do you think the TC is likely to continue working with you?
Since then, apparently nothing has happened, nor was there any followup on the caregiver's side, until an unsterilised cat was caught in another area yesterday. She then called me and asked why the TC was still trapping cats. From the meeting they went to which I attended with them, I remember the TC agreeing not to trap the sterilised cats without giving them a chance to solve the matter first.
Again, it is important to ensure that if the TC comes to you and tells you that they don't think you're doing a good job that you handle it right away. Do not wait a month to find out what went wrong and to refute those allegations if they are false and not because a cat was caught before you do something.
I advised her to call the officer up and update him on what she had done since the last time he had called her (which unfortunately has been nothing, so she will go and try and look for the feeder again this week). I also told her it wouldn't hurt to call him up and just wish him a Happy Chinese New Year. She said she was worried he might think she's being insulting in some way. I told her that it's always a good idea to thank TC officers when they have been helpful (and one of the officers help secure the release of one of her unsterilised cats just a short while ago) because everyone appreciates a bit of gratitude and well-wishes . I'd also be very surprised that he would impute any negative intention to a simple seasonal greeting, especially as they've not had any altercations in the past.