It's every child's dream to take a trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. Disneyland is a magical world where dreams come true at the drop of a hat, and for that to happen, it needs to be well taken care of. The thousands of Cast Members — the term used for Disneyland employees — who work there are trained to handle every situation. But there is one thing that they can't do: Keep the parks clear of "Ratatouilles." That's when their secret feline allies intervene.
The Disneyland Parks are home to over 200 feral cats. The wild animals stay clear of most populated areas in the resort during the day, but once the guests go home in the evening, the cats take back what's theirs. They excel at hunting down rodents, which is why they've become an integral part of the parks.
The presence of feral cats was first discovered in 1955, shortly after the Anaheim Disneyland Park opened, according to Disneyland Cats. While the cats that had made a home out of the rarely visited parts of the Sleeping Beauty Castle had to be adopted out, the others, who lived in less-invasive areas of the resort, were allowed to stay, on the basis that they'd be much better rodent hunters than actual exterminators could ever be.
The cats are rarely seen in broad daylight, because they're not like housebroken pets or even like the stray felines you occasionally spot in your neighborhood. Feral cats, by definition, are afraid of human beings and stay away from them at all costs, Disneyland Cats explains. So Disney cat sightings are fairly uncommon.
Most of the feral cats live in less-traveled parts of the park by day, like in the natural areas near the hotels, and can sometimes only be seen by guests willing to travel off the beaten path.
Once in a while, though, the kitties' hunger will manifest during the day and they will take to stealthily watching humans eating fresh restaurant food, just waiting for an opportunity.
And once in a while, they'll even go a step further and try to experience life as a happy human child for a bit, just to see what it's like.
In an attempt to foster a better partnership — if you can call it that — with the cats, park officials have taken to installing feeding stations in hard-to-find parts of the park, so the feral animals can get a bit of a diet supplement. It's a win-win situation for everyone.
Though they are wild cats, their appearance and health are still looked after by park officials, so they can always look lovely and presentable if sighted by a starry-eyed child. While they're not quite on the level of the Aristocats, most of them still end up looking fairly proper.
The cats each have names and have garnered quite the fan base on social media, with nearly 38,000 people following the disneylandcats Instagram account.
The cats are probably the only inhabitants of the park who aren't too happy about having a mouse as their boss. Awkward!
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