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Did you know approximately 100 free-roaming cats live in the Happiest Place on Earth, where they’re quietly fed, vaccinated, and neutered by Disney employees?
The cats—former pets, strays, and other assorted felines roaming Southern California—have been in Disneyland basically since the amusement park opened in 1955. They may have come originally to feast on bits of food left by visitors, but they probably stayed because there remain a limitless number of places to hide and hunt rats.
Today you can spot them along the tracks near Main Street Station, or perched on the cliffs of Big Thunder Trail, or lounging around White Water Snacks. Disney didn’t tell park visitors about the feral cat colony that came to inhabit the Happiest Place on Earth, but the company quietly instituted a policy of neutering, vaccinating, and tagging all the felines in the Magic Kingdom.
What most visitors don’t know is Mickey’s domain is populated by rats and mice. Disney tried various methods to control the critters but nothing worked until the cats started coming in.
They don’t release the pest hunting felines, as that would imply they’re locked up during the day. The cats at Disneyland are feral, and they stay at the park voluntarily, though the company does provide them with veterinary care and they are available for adoption if you work there. What’s important is to remember these aren’t cuddling kitties. They are wild and have free rein in the park but the company doesn’t encourage people to feed or go near them, as they won’t hesitate to bite you.
For the most part, they sleep during the day and come out after the guests leave, but it’s not especially rare to spot one.