If you’ve been to any of Disney’s theme parks, you likely know about the “hidden Mickeys” scattered throughout the parks for guests to find. You may even have searched for hidden Mickeys yourself — but have you ever searched for hidden kitties?
As is the case with any outdoor area where a lot of people gather and eat, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, has reason to be concerned about potential mice problems, and these mice aren’t the type to don gloves and whistle.
The solution? Disneyland has become the officially sanctioned home to hundreds of feral cats.
Once homeless and abandoned, these cats live inside the theme park, behind the scenes. During the day, you’re not likely to see them, but at night they come out and help thin the mouse population.
And just in case there aren’t enough mice to feed them all, Disney maintains several permanent feeding stations for its feral feline friends.
Disney, instead of fighting to keep the cats out, actually welcomes them. The feral cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, given flea preventatives, and rereleased into the parks.
Alley Cat Allies, the organization that basically introduced the world to the benefits of trap-neuter-release (TNR), sees this as a “refreshing” corporate policy, saying:
“Disneyland Resort’s TNR program proves that large, high-profile organizations and feral cat colonies can not only peacefully share the same property, but also strike up a mutually beneficial relationship that improves conditions for both parties.”
The cats, being feral, tend to stay away from people, so sightings are few and far between. But if the cats do start to become acclimated to humans, Disney adopts them out to employees. Disney will also adopt out any litters of kittens born to an extra-sly feral cat who evaded the trap and return policy.
So the next time you take a trip to Disneyland, instead of searching for those hidden Mickeys, really challenge yourself and see if you can find some hidden kitties! Just remember not to approach them — they are feral, and likely not as friendly as the stars of The Aristocats.