It will please cat lovers to know that Disneyland Park in California “employs” feral cats to keep down the rodent population. It is believed that there are an estimated 200 cats living at Disneyland Park and neighbouring California Adventure Park. The parks were built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California and they opened on July 17, 1955. An army of maintenance staff working throughout the night keep the park in pristine condition. The business saw and 8% growth last year I believe.
The cool thing about this entertainment park is that the owners, managers and organisers do not try and get rid of the cats or persecute them. They are not the enemies of these cats. They want them there. They see them as useful “employees”. Their reward is that they are cared for under a TNR program at the park. Yes, they run a TNR program, I guess like any other. The cats are vaccinated against disease in the usual way and fed.
We are not trying to get rid of them. They keep the rodent population down. – Gina Mayberry, manager of Disneyland’s Circle D ranch.
Since 2007 the organisers of Disneyland Park have managed the feral cats on their property internally rather than contracting out the work to another business. This is a nice touch as it ensure better controls and quality. I’m told that kittens that are born outside the park are given homes. There are five feeding stations around the park as well as shelters where they can rest and sleep.
It seems that, at one time, Disneyland kept information about the feral cats under wraps perhaps for fear of jeopardising their image in the eyes of the public. However, times have changed. Nowadays they feel that their customers are happy to have the cats there or accept them and let’s be honest about this, it is far better that the public see the odd feral cat rather than rats! The cats may have become a bit of a feature.
Since March, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Disneyland Park has been shut. This begs the question as to whether the cats living at Disneyland will be able to cope with an influx of people when the park opens again. The point that I am making is that the behaviour of these feral cats may have been impacted by the sudden quietness and lack of people at the park. They therefore might find it disturbing to suddenly have the public to deal with. I am sure the Disneyland staff can cope with that.
My thanks to the Los Angeles Times and Cinema Blend.
Some more on working cats