Disneyland feral (parodyerror)
Last week, Ryan Gosling, a former member of The Mickey Mouse Club, appeared as a guest on Conan, where he opened up about his love/hate relationship with Disneyland.
He told O'Brien:
"There is a belief that Disney has been breeding an army of cats, and they're not just ordinary cats. They have a special set of skills. They're like commando cats and they live in barracks - cat barracks, I don't know what you call it - and they live on the outskirts of the park. And at night, when they close park under the cover of darkness, these cats descend into the park and they eat all the mice. Which is what I love about Disney because they're so weird and they think of everything. But what's so messed up and why I hate them, is that the whole empire of Disney is built on the back of one mouse."
As it turns out, Gosling's wild theory is not so far fetched. An army of 200 cats DO reside at the Anaheim, Calif. resort to help control rodents, but it's not as sinister as he makes it sound.
Lucifer (Just chaos)
Cats have been a mostly unseen part of Disneyland's history since the park first opened in 1955, and one story I repeatedly came across was the 1957 renovation of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, which revealed a colony of 100 cats living inside. While the cats were initially seen as a nuisance, the powers that be soon realized that they could form a mutually beneficial relationship with the furry squatters.
However, it wasn't until 2001, with the help of Best Friends Catnippers and FixNation that Disney began instituting a Trap, Neuter, Return policy to help manage the feral population in the park. The cats are caught and fixed before being released back onto the grounds, and kittens are all promptly adopted out. Cats that remain in the park receive food at five discrete feeding locations, as well as shelter, and in return they work as part of the nightly maintenance crew, keeping the non-Mickey mice in check.
Since the cats are feral, they shy away from human contact which is why they mostly remain hidden during operating hours, although I was able to find a few examples on Flickr of park guests able to capture some of the elusive felines on film.
Some of the cats even have their own favorite areas, such as the one above who was spotted outside at Hungry Bear Restaurant, and another named Lucifer who reportedly spends his time between the Haunted Mansion and Town Square.
I haven't been to Disneyland since I was a little kid, but if I ever return I'll be on the lookout for these guys! Have you ever spotted any undercover cats on your trip to the happiest place on earth?