Meet the Feral Cats of Disneyland

The 200 or so strays who live in the park keep it free of vermin

By Sandra Ward

So some Disney felines are more memorable than others. But there have been some good ones:

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice's cat Dinah and the elusive Cheshire Cat; the harrowing barn tabby, Sgt. Tibbs, who discovers the puppies at Cruella De Vil's house in 101 Dalmations, (and it's a good thing he did;) Lucifer, the devilish mouser belonging to Cinderella's wicked stepmother.

Slinky Si and Am from Lady and the Tramp; tuxedoed Figaro from Pinocchio; and, of course, Thomas O'Malley and The Aristocats.

But it's time now for you to meet another cast of Disney cats, perhaps more like Mickey's rival Pete (see photo), a real bully, fleshy chin and belly.

Meet the 200 or so feral cats of Disneyland.

By day, they reside in five permanent feeding stations hidden within the park's 85 public acres.

But by night, they're on the prowl for any mice who haven't removed their costumes and gone home.

It's true. I didn't believe it at first, either.

Park officials decided in 1955 that feral lurkers from Orange County wouldn't be treated as nuisances; they made them employees.

Renovation of the Sleeping Beauty castle two years later quantified the problem: more than 100 cats were found living in the unused portion. Evil fleas then riddled the area, as well.

It's questionable whether any of the current night shift descended from those initial pilgrims. It's also questionable exactly how many there are today — how do you get 200 feral cats to attend a staff meeting?

Perhaps what's best to know about these kitties, despite the flea-ridden past, is that their health care plan is a model for humane care that would make Walt proud, including a spay or neuter, regular shots and good grub.

Not to mention lots of fun with Mickey.

Learn more about FixNation, which assists with the park' successful TSR (trap/spay/return) program, at this link.

helen evers January 02, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Finally, some place that realizes feral cats can be useful and worthy of life, quite different than our shelters who destroy them. Many shelters in Nevada give them to ranchers and farmers for barn cats and at one time police stations were keeping a few around that were fixed, to keep their rodent population down without having chemicals and rodent traps everywhere, some colleges do that also. Maybe 2013 will see us all viewing life, even animal life as valuable and not disposable. Happy New Year. Helen Evers
GreenInOC January 02, 2013 at 05:28 PM
If they are spaying and neutering them, how is the colony surviving long-term?
DiAnna Pfaff-Martin January 02, 2013 at 07:44 PM
This is not new news! The cats have been there from the beginning of the park. Right now, Community Animal Network has three kittens for adoption that are from Disneyland. There is a lot of food there and so the kitties are hard to trap, alter and release. See the link with our kitties and find the Disneyland kitties, Bashful, Snow White, and Happy; http://www.animalnetwork.org/Adoption/Cats.htm We were unable to find the organization or people willing to discuss the trap neuter and release program there. Cats are wandering all around the park, too and populating.
Deke R.Foxhoven January 03, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Hmm. I am love the feral cats of Disneyland. They are my favorite form my child hood :) thanks <a href="http://foxhovenlaw.com/business-formation-austin/divorce-services/"><b>Uncontested divorce lawyers</b></a>
sherry young January 14, 2013 at 05:06 PM
We have over 35 ferals we feed and care for. They took up shelter in my yard after some morons let kittens go on my street. All of ours have been spay and neutered, had their shots, and we feed them regularly throughout the day. As for how you get new ones, because we have food and other cats, other local strays and ferals find their way over here. Every now and then some leave etc. so the # stays pretty much the same. We just fix any new comers. Right now I have a good share of them (all the younger ones) inside getting socialized and hopefully up for adoption. Any kitty no matter how feral at first, becomes a great loving pet with time :D And trust me we have had some tough males lol.
Brian Battles March 09, 2013 at 11:40 AM
How are they feral if someone is spaying/neutering, feeding them and providing them with health care?
Bob Morrison July 11, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Some of the cats came from the trailerpark next to the park. Unfortunately not all of the 'feral' cats there have great lives. When I worked in Park Decorating there was a sweet cat that hung out at the ranch in Frontierland. She was nicknamed Roofie as she sometimes hung out on the roof. I would bring can cat food for her. I would call her and she would come out of the tall grass, sometimes dropping a mouse she had caught since she liked the can food more. One day I noticed she was very ill. I placed her in a box and rushed her to my vet when I got off work. She died on the way. The vet examined her and said she died from eating poisoned mice. If Disney is using the cats to keep the mice population down then they need to stop placing mouse poison out also as it travels up the food chain.
jmartin October 09, 2013 at 02:15 PM
How amazing that they are recognizing that even a stray cat is a valuable life. I hope others can learn from their example. But yes they can not poison the mice and expect the cats to eat them. That is very sad.
HollywoodF1 November 24, 2013 at 04:34 PM
I'm not sure that one cat for every two acres qualifies as "overrun with cats." By that definition, I think every city and town on Earth is overrun with cats.
genevieve December 28, 2013 at 10:47 AM
I've trapped many feral cats. You can contact the Humane Society and they will give you a week of dates you can bring them in. They are very cooperative. You can get a cage too. It feels so good knowing that cats are no longer going to procreate and have to care for kittens. Catch and release to where you trapped them. I have been feeding the same 5 cats for over 6 years. They remain feral. They keep their distance. It is routine for me to continue caring for them. If you are able please learn how to trap and stop innocent kittens from being born. Petting, scratching and feeding them eventually led to being able to bring 2 home. The remainder keep their distance.
Jean Q December 28, 2013 at 03:17 PM
I think the poisoned mouse is just a guess by the Vet. Poison is the first thing a Vet comes up with when they are treating a sick animal and can't figure out what's wrong. Disney would not take a chance of putting poisons out with all those little Children in their park.
Bob Morrison February 04, 2014 at 09:30 AM
Jean Q - the vet took a blood sample from Roofie. Her blood was not coagulating which is how some mouse poisons work, by drowning the mouse in its own blood.


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