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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.

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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