@Disneylandcats Instagram Chronicles the Adventures of the Army of Cats Living at Disneyland

Apparently today is the day I discover every single Instagram account I’ve been missing by never having signed up for the photo-based social network myself — because on top of the two we’ve already looked at today (@Tindernightmares and @Mister_Krisp), we’ve now got a third: @DisneylandCats, which showcases the feral cats who live at Disneyland in their natural habitat. Remember when Ryan Gosling made that crack about Disney breeding an army of cats to do their bidding? It turns out that he wasn’t actually that far off the mark.

OK, so Disney isn’t actually raising a feline army — but Disneyland Park and California Adventure in Anaheim, California do have a sizable population of feral cats living on the property. According to a report in the LA Times from 2010, No one knows when the cats started to arrive; instead of getting rid of them, though, they opted to keep them around, feeding them at five permanent feeding stations throughout the parks, spaying and neutering the adults, and finding homes for any kittens (the adults can sometimes escape the whole spaying and neutering thing. It happens). Disney officials estimate that anywhere between 100 and 200 cats have made their homes on the property. Said Gina Mayberry, manager of Disneyland’s Circle D ranch, “They keep the rodent population down.” Which is all well and good... but does that mean Mickey now lives in constant fear for his life? (Just kidding.)

Which brings us to @DisneylandCats. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it’s one of the social media accounts belonging to the website The Cats of Disneyland. Devoted to — you guessed it — chronicling the lives of all those feral felines, the website features profiles of the cats, including their names, types, where they tend to hang out, and hilarious imagined histories for them. Buford, for example, allegedly “attended an open call to be cast as Alfalfa in The Little Rascals, but was turned away because he forgot to bring a resume”:

It’s a shame; he looks just right for the part, doesn’t he?

They’re all beautiful cats, too. I’m particularly fond of Francisco, a long-haired tortoiseshell who’s frequently spotted in the Grizzly Peak section of California Adventure:

Lucian, who bears a name not too dissimilar from my own and who likes to hang out near the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park:

Giovanni, the tiniest mountain lion ever discovered at the Grizzly River Run ride:

And Chloe, who looks a lot like one of my own kitties:

Francisco, by the way, has his own hashtag. Look out for pictures of him on Fridays, because who needs “follow Friday” when you’ve got #FranciscoFriday instead?

As the Cats of Disneyland FAQ notes, it’s important to remember that these cats are feral, not strays; as such, they’re extremely self-sufficient, they’re generally pretty solitary, and they don’t want much, if anything, to do with humans (except occasionally as a source of food. Not because they eat humans, but because humans can often provide them with scraps and such). So, in answer to the question, “I have a cat that I don’t want anymore/a stray cat that lives near my house. Can I just drop it off at Disneyland and know that it will have a good home?”: No, do not do that. If the cat in question either lives with you or around your neighborhood, it probably likes to be around people and it won’t know how to fend for itself. Instead, head for a rescue organization, a shelter, or a friend who does want the cat. It’ll be much happier in the long run.

In the meantime, though, go spend some time cooing over the photos on @Disneylandcats, and find out more about them at The Cats of Disneyland. On a not unrelated note, one of my cats just wandered up to the couch from which I am currently working and deposited one of her toys at my feet — so of you’ll excuse me, I have to go dig out the treat bag and give her a reward, because that was adorable.

Images: @Disneylandcats/Instagram (5)