Darn. I just wrote all this about Disneyland instead of Walt Disney World because I wasn’t paying attention. Whoops. I don’t want to erase all that typing, so I won’t.
Walt Disney World also has quite a few cats running around. It has a similar policy to that of Disneyland’s as I noted below, where the cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, then released back into the Walt Disney World cat population. Basically, everything I say below holds true for Walt Disney World as well. Except for the places they like to hide…I’m not well-versed in the good hiding places for cats in Florida, except that the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal isn’t the best place for them to hang out anymore.
Now, back you your regularly scheduled answer that I wrote for the wrong place.
It’s not so much that the cats are “let out” as much as they just come out. They aren’t kept in cages or closed rooms or anything. The cats at Disneyland are feral.
It didn’t take long after Disneyland opened for the cats to move in. Many claim that when Sleeping Beauty Castle had the walkthrough added in 1957, there were already over 100 cats living inside what had been, up until then, the empty shell of the castle.
Disney doesn’t try to get rid of them, since they help control the rodent population (Mickey’s family reunions get awkward — and smaller every year). And with estimates that the cat population at Disneyland tops 200, there’s really no reasonable way to get rid of them altogether.
Disney does take care of them, though. There are five feeding stations where the cats can find a meal, and the Circle D Ranch is responsible for catching each cat to take it to the vet to be spayed or neutered, then bringing it back and letting it go. If they are found as kittens, they are fixed and them put up for adoption instead of being released back into the park.
It’s not all that common to see the cats during the day. They tend to stay away from the hustle and bustle. They like to hang out in the foliage around Autopia and the old Motor Boat Cruise area, behind Frontierland, in and around the old Skyway station in Fantasyland, or wherever they can relax without being chased by little kids or overzealous adults. They do appear during the day at times, though, so it’s certainly not unheard of to see them.
If you do, though, Disney does request that “To keep animals healthy and our guests safe, we ask that guests please avoid giving them food, picking them up or approaching them.” Remember, these aren’t house pets. They aren’t declawed, and they may bite.
Here are some random photos of them from around the web, though (under a read more to not take up everyone’s dash):
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