Disneyland Cats: The Feral Cats Who Live In The Park

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks

Disneyland Cats

Credit: images by @disneylandcats

It’s no news that Disney Parks hide some special Park features in plain sight, like the hidden suite in Cinderella Castle, Walt Disney’s apartment at Magic Kingdom in Disneyland Park, and the private members-only Club 33, also located in Disneyland Park.

However, Disneyland Resort in California focuses a lot of its attention on a “secret attraction” in Disney Park 24/7, and they manage to hide it in plain sight.

To be more exact, there are around 200 of these “secret attractions.” Yes, you read it right — There are about 200 feral cats at Disneyland! The adorable feral cat colony lives in the happiest place on earth. And now, I bet you agree with the Aristocrat’s song “Everybody Wants to be a Cat”:

Aristocats
Credit: Disney

“Everybody wants to be a cat, because a cat’s the only cat who knows where it’s at. Everybody’s pickin’ up on that feline beat, ’cause everything else is obsolete.”

Those Disney fur-balls know where it’s at!

The History Behind the Cats

There have been sightings going as far as 1955, soon after Disneyland opened.

Disneyland castle
Credit: Disney Park Blogs

The story goes: When Walt Disney decided that there should be an attraction inside the Sleeping Beauty Castle — what we know today as the Castle Walkthrough attraction — he brought engineers into the castle to begin the planning. But to his surprise, he was greeted by a feral cat colony that had made the court their home.

But the cats had brought a huge problem — an infestation of fleas. Walt Disney knew he couldn’t just get rid of the cats without sparking public uproar, so he adopted each cat and made them all Cast Members. By doing so, the problem seemed to be solved in the best possible way.

Disneyland Cats
Credit: Disneyland

Unfortunately, things weren’t that simple. Due to the theme Park’s rustic design, Disneyland had ironically brought unwelcomed Guests to the Park — rodents. For Walt’s luck, not all feral cats had set home in the castle but other places around the Park property. Those cats found their wonderland inside the Park with a good source of food — the rodent population — plus, the Park was a place free of the typical dangers that a stray cat faces. They would come out at night and hunt inside the Park in peace.

Someone at the Disney Company had a brilliant idea; allow the cats to live in the Park. By nature, feral cats are scared of humans. Therefore they wouldn’t bother the Park’s Guests, and apparently, they were doing a better job at pest control than human exterminators.

The idea worked so well that the cat population at Disneyland still exists with over 200 felines! The kittens received a forever home at the happiest place on earth, and the theme Park Guests are always surprised and glad to spot one of the felines around the Park. So, next time you are at Disneyland, keep an eye out for some whiskers, bushy fur tails, and significant cuteness.

Related: Nala the Service Dog Shares Tips for Service Dogs at Disney Parks!

Disneyland and the Cat’s Relationship

After deciding to keep the cats, the Disney Company established protocols and ways to keep the cats and Guests safe. Disney placed feeding stations around the property, the cats were all spayed/neutered, vaccinated the entire feral population, and Circle D Ranch Cast Members were assigned to care for the furry batch of Disneyland Cast Members. The cats a very well taken care of at Disneyland!

Circle D ranch
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Parks Adds New Addition to Cinderella’s Horse Family

Mostly, the cats stay hidden during the day and roam around at night. But not all cats follow that rule. Park Guests often spot the feral cats sleeping around the Park or wandering around the Park property during the day. For that reason, and as a general rule, Disney does not encourage Guests to try to get too close or even pet the cats. They are better off remaining solitary and admired from a distance. But, by all means, take some pictures!

If by any chance, a Disneyland cat starts getting too comfortable around Park Guests, Disney adopts the feline out to a Disney Cast Member. The same goes for any new litter of kittens accidentally born within any Disney property. So, please don’t encourage the cats to lose their permanent home inside the happiest place on earth.

If any of the Disneyland cats start to get too friendly around the Park’s Guests, or if a new cat litter is born, Disney decides to put them up for adoption to a Disney employee — So they are always part of the Disney family.

Related: Basics of worry-free pet boarding at Disney’s newly-opened Best Friends Pet Care luxury pet resort

Where to see the Disneyland cats online?

Disneyland Cats Instagram
Credit: Disneyland Cats

And, as if it wasn’t enough that those cuties are roaming around the Park, they also have their own InstagramTwitter, and Official webpage where people can keep up with the Disney feline world.

And if you venture to The Cats of Disneyland webpage, you can find the profile [profile] of some cats like Ned, Lucian, Buford, Francisco, and many others.

Related: VIDEO: Disney Top 10 Cats

Who is Francisco, and what is #FranciscoFriday?

Francisco is probably the park’s most famous and easiest-to-spot cat! Francisco is a long-haired tortoiseshell most likely found around the Grizzly Peak across from Taste Pilot’s Grill at DCA.

Due to his not-so-hidden favorite spots around the Park, Francisco is the Disneyland cat with the most photos online! The Disneyland Cats Instagram started receiving a mass influx of pictures of Francisco from Park Guests. In 2014, the Disneyland Cats Instagram page started with #FranciscoFriday, where they post a picture of Francisco every Friday around the Park.

Related: TikTok Cat Is Obsessed With Disney’s ‘Aristocats’

Photos of Francisco dominate the Disneyland Cats Instagram page easily! And his pictures are amazing! Francisco seems to like his photoshoot sessions and poses for the camera quite a lot.

Disney’s most famous tortie cat is a star, and like all celebrities around, Francisco is not excused from controversies. In December 2019, the Disneyland Cats website made a blog post addressing the biggest dilemma surrounding Francisco: after all, is Francisco female or male?

That is a good question since most torties are female, but about 1 in 3,000 are male. But, the post did not answer the question. Instead, it makes a point on why Francisco’s gender even matters. All Disneyland feral cats are spayed and neutered, so it doesn’t matter, and as stated in the blog post:

“You might notice that we avoid gender-specific pronouns whenever writing about Francisco on our Instagram posts, but that’s as good as you’re going to get. #FranciscoFriday will live on without being changed and I know that Francisco would appreciate it if you’d stop commenting on his/her gender. You’re going to give him/her a complex.”

Related: Real-Life ‘Aristocats’: Kittens Named After Disney Characters

Related: VIDEO: Stray Cats Spotted at EPCOT

How to find a Cat

If you are planning on trying to spot a Disneyland cat around on your next Park visit, there are some specific places you might want to check out. Spots close to the cat’s feeding station like the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Disneyland, Taste Pilot’s Grill at Disney California Adventureland, White Water Snacks at the Great Californian, Rose Court Garden at the Disneyland Hotel and the ditch that runs parallel to the path for the Mickey and Friends Tram are great places to start looking.

If you are looking to spot some of the most famous cats like Francisco, Ned, and Lucian, there are specific areas around the Park they tend to stay at.

  • Francisco – Grizzly Peak across from Taste Pilot’s Grill at Disney California Adventureland
  • Ned – Disneyland Hotel grounds

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  • Lucian – Indiana Jones Adventure queue
  • Buford – Critter Country
  • Bernice – White Water Snacks
  • Giovanni – Golden Vine Winery

  • Hector – The Esplanade
  • Peter – Hungry Bear Restaurant
  • Jane – Main Street Station
  • Horace – Mine shaft across from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland’s Frontierland

The more times you visit the Park, the higher the chances of you spotting one of the furry Disneyland hidden attractions around. This is one of the many times having an Annual Pass might come in handy.

So, what do you think of Disney’s furry friends? Have you ever seen any of the cats around Disneyland? And what Disney cat is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks

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