When the Mouse is Away…

Introduce a mouse into an area with a few dozen people sitting around, and you’d expect a few shrieks as the people run away or jump on tables. Similarly, if you were to introduce the same mouse to an open area where a dozen or so cats were lying in wait, you’d expect the felines to pounce at the first whiff of the potential prey. But if that mouse were a six-foot tall one named Mickey, and the area were Disneyland in Anaheim, California, all bets are off. In the first scenario, Mickey’s presence means that the dozens of park visitors run toward him, hoping to get a hug or a picture with the anthropomorphic critter with red shorts.

And incredibly, Mickey Mouse and Disneyland have the same reversing effect on the second scenario, too. It turns out that Disneyland is home to a few hundred feral cats, who only come out at night, after the park is closed to visitors and all the performers are gone for the evening.


As the Los Angeles Times notes, no one knows when the cats started to “sneak in” — “years ago,” the paper surmises — but they’ve become welcome guests. In 2010, the Times put together a fascinating article on how Disneyland prepares for the next day’s guests. Each evening, hundreds of workers take to the streets of the theme park, cleaning and repairing it for the thousands of people expected to enter the following morning. Assisting these custodians is this sizable population of feral cats who help keep the rodent population down. (Mickey Mouse was unavailable for comment.) So instead of trying to eradicate these invasive, gate-crashing cats, the powers-that-be at Disneyland keep them happy. There are a total five permanent feeding stations for the cats at Disneyland and neighboring California Adventure Park, to make sure that the cats are healthy and not dangerous.

To keep the cat population from getting out of hand, workers spay and neuter adult cats and find off-park homes for kittens they come across. But for now, the managed cat population are welcome, albeit uninvited, guests to Disneyland.

Bonus fact: In 2008, a one year-old (human) child was found in rural Argentina, abandoned. He had been kept alive by feral cats which, according to the Telegraph, “snuggled up with him during freezing nights which would otherwise have killed him.”

From the ArchivesBoared: The feral hogs invading America.

Related: “Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland Resort’s Best Kept Secrets” by Steven Barrett. 4.6 stars on 8 reviews.


Image via martinajosette on Flickr, original here.