When Biggie Smiles was Small: The TNR of the Iron Works Colony

Yesterday I wrote about Biggie Smiles, the Iron Works Colony cat that is bonded to his feeder, his TNR’d feline friends, and his outdoor home.


Here is Biggie Smiles when he was small, and we just started doing TNR for this colony in 2012.  SAMSUNG

A coworker told me about this colony and the complaints from neighbors on this block. This is how the colony looked at the time.  SAMSUNG

I understood why neighbors would complain – the cats were very visible and very bold. SAMSUNG


It’s disconcerting to see small kittens in alleys. This is Biggie and his brother. SAMSUNG

Oscar, their feeder loves the cats and fed them diligently. They obviously were well-cared for. He showed me photos of kittens from the past. Some he would keep, and some he would give away. SAMSUNG

This breeding cycle needed to stop. Oscar liked the idea of TNR and getting all of the cats there fixed and vaccinated. A Tree House staff person came with me to TNR. At first Oscar thought we would be “taking away” all of the adult cats, while he “got to keep” the kittens of his choice. Eventually he understood that was not the way it worked.


When we showed up to TNR, it was fairly easy initially because the cats were bonded to Oscar, so he was even able to just pick up some of the cats and put them in traps himself.


TNR doesn’t always go like this. Now this is what I call herding cats!

We set traps all over and the cats came to check them out.

DSC07986 DSC07988 And then they started going in. DSC07979 In the midst of this we found four tiny kittens. Oscar has a heated shelter in his iron works business next door, so of course they were there. DSC07993

There was no room for the kittens at Tree House. Oscar knew which cat was their mother, and since she was fairly friendly towards him, he agreed to foster her indoors with her kittens, until they were old enough to be weaned, and then vetted for adoption. He set them up in a much cleaner space. DSC07997 Oscar diligently took the kittens for weekly vet visits at the clinic, and admitted two of them when they were ready for adoption into Anti-Cruelty Society. He kept two of them for himself to be part of the colony. The mother of course was TNR’d. SAMSUNG

Two years later now and Oscar told me that the kittens he kept were killed by cars on the street. But the colony population is now contained, there are no more neighbor complaints or “new” cats, and Biggie Smiles, his brother, and two other TNR’d cats are thriving and still there to this day.

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