Nine Lives in Paradise: The Resident Cats of Disneyland

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Sammy and Pepper, two feral cats at the Disneyland Resort, sit in front of Trader Sam's in Anaheim on Thursday, Feb 22, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

 

Figaro, Oliver, Cheshire Cat, Lucifer, the Siamese cats – these are just a few of the many memorable cats in the Disney universe.

Images: Disney

But did you know there are dozens of charming little furballs living in Disneyland? The feral cats of Disneyland are not just the stuff of legend – they are real, and they are adorable.  These cool cats prowl the grounds of the Disneyland resort, living a life many people dream about!

 

Kitty History

The Cats of Disneyland is a site dedicated to these “Cats Members” – as they’ve come to be called. Walt Disney himself was on hand when the first of these felines were discovered as far back as 1955. While planning for what would eventually become the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough attraction, Walt and company observed scores of feral cats, which had taken up royal residency inside the castle.

Image: Shorpy

The initial course of action was to clean up the cats and adopt them out to Cast Members. However, Disneyland had another problem at the time – the ultimate irony of a rodent infestation – brought on by the natural, rustic environments of the park.

 

Thankfully, other feral cats (the commoners who hadn’t established noble residency in the castle) were observed to be successfully and peacefully living in the park, sustaining themselves on rodent prey. They had found themselves a relatively safe and secure hunting ground, free of larger predators, automobiles, and other typical hazards a stray cat may face.

Disney made a decision to allow the cats to stay and assist with control of the pest population – with certain health and safety guidelines in place. Procedures were established to keep the cats fed, sheltered, healthy, and disease-free. To help with population control of the cats themselves, all feral cats are spayed/neutered.  In return, the cats were free to continue the instinctual life they were already living, with a bonus of excellent rodent-control service throughout the Happiest Place on Earth! 

 

Present Day Pussycats

This symbiotic relationship still exists today at Disneyland. Cast Members in select portions of the park are assigned responsibilities for feeding, monitoring, and caring for the cats, giving medical treatment when necessary.

Image: The Cats of Disneyland

The occasional cat that becomes a little too sociable around people is adopted out to a caring family, but by and large, these cats live solitary lives. They stay clear of people, but sharp-eyed guests may occasionally spot one of these felines roaming the grounds. For the health and safety of the guests and the cats, guests are encouraged to leave the cats alone, and not to try petting or feeding them.

 

The Cats of Disneyland notes some of the feeding station locations where guests are most likely to spot a cat, including locations near:

Hungry Bear Restaurant in Disneyland

Taste Pilot’s Grill at Disney California Adventure

White Water Snacks at the Grand Californian

Image: The Cats of Disneyland

Guests can also spot cats in the Rose Court Garden at the Disneyland Hotel, and in the ditch that runs parallel to the path for the Mickey and Friends parking area transportation tram.

 

Celebrity Cats

This isn’t just a collection of nameless, faceless felines. These cats have their own unique personalities.

Are you curious to see more of these famous felines? You can learn more about Ned, Ignatious, Lucian, Fransisco, and many more of Disneyland’s residents by checking out their prolific social media accounts.  They are on Instagram and Twitter.  They have more followers than most humans do! And of course, they have their own website www.disneylandcats.com.

instagram.com/disneylandcats

Disneyland is reopening soon! Next time you go, keep your eye out for these cool cats, and snap a photo if you can. With the park being closed for over a year, they may be a bit shy around crowds at first, but they will surely warm up!

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Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.