Who knew the House of Mouse is also a paradise for feral Disneyland cats? While Mickey and Minnie Mouse reign supreme, the real-life cats shine at nighttime. Most days, they sleep during the day and prowl the park when the sun goes down.
Seeing the Disneyland cats is one of the purrks for hardcore fans, with about 200 cats on the job today.
Disneyland: Happiest Place on Earth – for Cats?
‘The Happiest Place On Earth,’ Disneyland, has quietly been a happy place for feral cats since the days of Walt Disney. It was his first theme park, opening July 17, 1955, in Anaheim, California. Disney reportedly discovered feral cats hiding in Sleeping Beauty Castle, today the Castle Walkthrough. He decided to keep them, and they became invaluable Cast Members whose job was helping (ironically) control the non-animated rodents.
These feline Cast Members enjoy feeding stations and full veterinary care, including spaying and neutering. It’s TNR (trap, neuter, return) just as rescuers are practicing around the world.
Human Cast Members watch out and care for the Disneyland cats as with many feral cat colonies. However, the park advises guests not to pet them since most remain feral. Employees adopt those that get too friendly or accidentally have kittens. But the cats are carefully spayed or neutered as part of their care.
That said, visitors often take pictures and get to know the Disneyland Cats, with 114K followers on social media.
Nutmeg, the Disneyland Cat Passes Away
As an exception, a friendly orange cat named Nutmeg was welcomed by Imagineers, Disneyland Cast Members, and visitors to a VIP area called Magic Key Terrace lounge. The cat sometimes greeted visitors and Cast Members when lonely.
Nutmeg liked to chill out at the outdoor patio bar after coming down from nearby Grizzly Peak.
When Nutmeg passed away, the Park’s News expressed sadness at the loss.
“It is with great sadness that we must report Nutmeg, the feral cat who frequently popped up at Magic Key Terrace in Disney California Adventure, has passed away,” they reported on May 6, 2023.
The friendly, fluffy cat was named Nutmeg, but insiders may have called the pretty feline Giovanni or Lucy, per Instagram. Many visitors hoped for a chance to spot the Disneyland cats and Nutmeg.
Video about Nutmeg by Sometimes Castles:
Nutmeg Inspired a Secret Drink and Tile Designs
Nutmeg inspired a “secret” dessert cocktail served at the lounge named after the cat. The Disney Food Blog says the Nutmeg is a mixture of dark rum, half and half, and raspberry flavoring with cinnamon and nutmeg dusting, costing $16.
The drink was a purrk for the Disneyland cats’ biggest fans.
“The Magic Key Terrace secret menu drink was made for the passholder ‘in crowd’ that knows and loves Nutmeg, according to Disney California Adventure culinary director Jeremiah Balogh,” the Orange County Register reported.
Below, Nutmeg greeted guests at the Annual Pass-holder Alfresco Tasting Terrace in 2020.
Nutmeg and the Disneyland cats also inspired custom Mexican tiles designed by Imagineering. They went up in 2022 along the Magic Key Terrace columns.
According to Jackson Galaxy, Nutmeg was a celebrity among the Disneyland Cats and will be missed.
“Everyone who knows the Disneyland cats is mourning the death of Nutmeg, a true celebrity amongst the beloved feral cats of Disney. We join everyone in mourning Nutmeg’s passing and give many thanks to Disney for elevating and embracing community cats! #TNR,” shared Jackson Galaxy.
Video featuring Nutmeg by WDW News (They talk about Nutmeg at around 5:55.)