- Disneyland has a not-so-secret squad of feral cats wandering the park.
- The company doesn’t encourage people to feed or go near the cats, as they’re feral.
- Still, the cats have earned plenty of fans on Facebook and Instagram – and even captured the attention of Hollywood star Ryan Gosling.
Disneyland is home to some unexpected residents that might give Mickey Mouse pause.
The famous park is home to dozens of feral cats.
Mike Fox, author of “The Hidden Secrets & Stories of Walt Disney World,” “Disneyland Details: The Magical Hidden Secrets & Story Elements of Disneyland,” and “Disneyland In-Depth” and founder of the site Disney-Secrets.com told Business Insider that the park houses “cats members” who “roam the park day and night keeping any rodents in check.”
“Guests love them, and they even have their own fan pages,” he told Business Insider. “The fact their title is a play on the title of ‘cast members’ makes it that much more interesting.”
Here’s a look at how the wild cats earned free rein of Disneyland:
According to the cats’ fan site, the feline invasion of Disneyland began in 1955, when the Walt Disney Company had to evict them from Sleeping Beauty Castle. Those cats were adopted by cast members.
The cats that live in the resort today are not part of a concerted park effort to manage pests.
DisneylandCats.com said that a team of Disney cast members is assigned to ensure the park-wide clowder is healthy.
DisneylandCats.com reported that cats are fed at stations near the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Disneyland and White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.
It’s been estimated that there are about a couple dozen cats in the park today. All the cats are also spayed and neutered to prevent overpopulation.
When accidents happen and a litter of kittens is born, they’re adopted out to Disneyland cast members, to keep the population size under control.
The site added that Disneyland will identify any cats that are “too comfortable around humans” to cast members.
This policy of trap-neuter-return (TNR) isn’t without controversy and has attracted criticism from PETA and other groups. But Vice reported in 2014 that “most animal rights activists seem confident that TNR is a humane and safe way to handle feral cats.”
Guests are discouraged from approaching the feral “cat members,” according to DisneylandCats.com — and prohibited from feeding animals in the park, in general. And, for the most part, they keep to themselves.
That hasn’t stopped some of the cats from becoming internet celebrities. The cats’ fan site has accrued 15,600 Twitter followers and 63,000 Instagram followers.
Their Facebook page currently clocks in at 18,037 likes.
Source: Cats of Disneyland
Some of the high-profile cats have been given their own names. For example, this tortoiseshell has been dubbed Francisco. A former Disneyland cast member reached out to Business Insider to note that Francisco is a female cat. She hangs out around Grizzly Peak.
And this is Ned, a domestic longhair who’s frequently spotted on the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel.
The cats also have some prominent fans. Actor Ryan Gosling — a former Mouseketeer — discussed the cats in a 2011 interview with Conan O’Brien.
Gosling said that he had heard Disneyland had trained an “army” of “commando cats” to descend on the park at night and eat all the mice. He didn’t quite have the details right, but his words instantly became a meme.
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