The Feral Cats of Disneyland

If there is one thing I can’t stand it’s a litterbug.

I don’t care who you are, if you drop garbage on the ground in front of me Imma pick it up and hand it back to you with a heavy helping of my stank eye.“EXCUSE ME, YOU DROPPED THIS.”

Of course, you can feel free to ignore me just like I can feel free to shove it in the open pocket of your purse, or drop it down the back of your shirt. “YOU’RE WELCOME.”

I can also feel free to take solace in knowing that if your first instinct at that moment is anger for me and not shame for yourself, you have much bigger problems than garbage. Can I get an amen?


Living in a major city and riding public transport every day, I see littering all the time. People drop their garbage on the ground like it’s someone else’s job to pick it up. And you know what? It is. Because of litterbugs, businesses and municipalities have to pay people to pick up garbage on the street.  It is a real job. If you have ever been to an amusement park, you have probably seen custodial attendants walking around with brooms and dustpans on sticks, finding crap to pick up every ten feet. They keep things clean looking on the surface, but with food garbage, even if you pick up the wrapper, the residue is still there – chip crumbles, soda spills, melted ice cream smears, hot dog slime…you know, the fun stuff. And where there is food residue, there is, wait for it…vermin.

There is a reason why city rats are so big – we feed them. Same goes with amusement parks. Can you even imagine how well-fed the mice at Disneyland must be?

Now that is a bigass mouse.

By no fault of their own, Disneyland is a mouse magnet. And with all that litter and food residue, I can’t blame the mice for trying. Disney could set traps and lay out poison, but why bother when you have the food chain on your side?  These people were smart. Folks, meet the feral cats of Disneyland!

There are 200 of them. By day they reside inside one of the park’s five official feeding stations, by night they roam the park in search of mice (who are not named Mickey). These hard-working cats keep the park rodent-free!

The first colony was discovered sometime in the 1950’s, and after unsuccessfully attempting to chase them off, Disney decided to make them employees.  In exchange for their thankless service, the cats are spayed, neutered, given regular shots, and have access to open spaces that cannot be reached by the public during daylight hours.

Once again, and excellent case for why cats are awesome. And employable. 


  1. Sara Euwells says

    My son worked at Disney one summer and one of the first things they told him at orientation was to never pet the cats. He loves animals and had a hard time with that one but I can understand they want to keep the cats away from people.
    There are lots of weird things that go on at Disneyland at night. If there is not a book on this subject someone should hurry up and write one!

    • says

      Interesting! Yes, I wondered about the cat lovers who work there. I don’t think I could stay away, but if I knew their fear/avoidance of humans is what kept them alive and active, I could maybe hold it together. Maybe…

    • Anonymous says

      There actually is a book about Disney at night. It’s called “The Kingdom Keepers”. It’s fiction though, and for a younger audience.

  2. Tracey Yost says

    YAY!!!! I’m not a huge fan of theme parks or Disney culture, but I applaud them for their humane and ecologically sound choice.

  3. Laurie says

    Gotta tell you a quick story about my cousin, a former litterbug. He’s about 10 years younger than I am, and when I was in my early 20’s I needed to give him a ride somewhere. We stopped at a drive-thru for lunch and, when he had finished, he opened the car window and tossed everything out onto the side of the road. Well, that pissed me off JUST A LITTLE BIT!! and I stopped the car and told him to go back and pick it up. He just sat there, incredulous, and I just kept waiting, equally incredulous. I finally told him I wasn’t moving until he’d picked up his garbage, which finally spurred him to action. I don’t think he’s littered since then.

    • says

      Litterbugs have to learn their lesson sometime — let’s hope your stuck.

  4. says

    This sounds like a Carl Hiassen novel. He wrote one about a big amusement park in the Florida Keys with whales and porpoises. I can’t remember which one it was. It was darkly hilarious. I thought you were talking about Disney WORLD, because there are thousands of feral cats in Florida.

    • says

      I’ll have to look him up — sounds interesting. I don’t know what they do for pest/vermin control in Florida as they have not only mice but PALM RATS, and it would take a brave cat to go after one of those guys (have you seen them?! They are like small possums — but MEAN!)

    • Anonymous says

      @ Nutbird, I have read about all of the Carl Hiassen novels, and, yes, I can see this as a nice, big, thick plotline! You have good taste.

    • says

      I live in Florida. Palm rats are only 3-8 inches from nose to tail tip, which is not much bigger than a normal rat you’d find in a pet store.

  5. says

    one, UGHH, litterbugs. two, huh, so interesting. I always love hearing the little inside stories or inner workings that you don’t notice or realize. thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. says

    I’ve had my doubts about Disney too but this is pretty cool. I’m glad they didn’t just leave them be to make babies or try to get rid of them. I’d day it’s a pretty clever decision.

  7. says

    omg I fucking LOVE THIS. Nice find!

    Also, I hate literbugs too… last time I was in LA, a woman in the car in front of my tossed a brown paper bag full of other trash right out her window. I WAS LIVID! HONKED AND CHASED HER… and then I looked like a crazy person. This is why I left LA, lol.

  8. Anonymous says

    As a Girl Scout, I was taught to leave a place cleaner than I found it. And here I am, DECADES later, still picking up after strangers — returning abandoned shopping carts, correctly arranging messed-up stock in stores while shopping, etc.

  9. Anonymous says

    I just wish there were more of us–stank eyein’ and telling people to pick up their trash. I also stankeye and and hand out bags to people who poop their littlebitty crap pooches and don’t pick up. You want a creative cussin’…. People who litter (usually) are mostly embarrassed….people who poop their dogs without intentions of picking up are Ugly. Nasty, mean ugly. (And I’m not talking about the oops I forgot a bag person….I’m talking about the one who habitually walks the dog out to poop it so they don’t Have to pick up where they live.
    (I’m the owner of three big dogs, a magic black cat, chickens,cockatiels, and lizards).
    We don’t litter and we know about cleaning up!
    When I dog walk, I pick up littered cans, then I take them in for resale. Just walking regularly….I make $20 every other month. That’s a lot of litter.

  10. says

    I love the Disney feral cats! I live in Southern California and go to Disneyland a few times a year. There is one eatery we call “the cat place” because some of the feral cats will actually come out during the day time and munch on french fries and other dropped food. Luckily Disney has done a pretty good job at keeping them wild and they’re pretty weary of people, so I don’t think they’re in any danger of getting fat on fast food. I’ve never tried to pet them, but I always take pictures of the cats.

  11. Anonymous says

    Clever lead up to the Mickey pic!!

  12. says

    I once spent all night at Disneyworld in Florida as a chaperone for my daughter’s senior class. I don’t recommend it. It’s kind of nightmarish, especially the Electric Street band, or whatever it is called. I saw no cats but boy-howdee did I see roaches. It was Florida so roaches are inevitable, but it sure was a surprise for such a clean place.

    • Anonymous says

      Florida’s Disney removed all the cared for Ferals last year. goodle it.


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