We all know that Disneyland is filled with fictional animals, like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, but real-life animals also call the theme park their home — and to many devoted parkgoers, they’re just as beloved.
Now, Disney fans are mourning the death of Nutmeg, one of the feral cats who was a fixture of the iconic park, who died recently.
Nutmeg was one of the estimated 200 feral cats who roam Disneyland at night, one of the most unusual open secrets about the famous theme park.
The cats’ presence — which legend says goes back to its 1955 opening, when Walt himself found a colony in Sleeping Beauty Castle — has been embraced by park staff, who say the cats provide free pest control by prowling for rodents after dark. (As in real mice, not Mickey and Minnie.)
Far from trying to rid the park of the cats, Disneyland has set up feeding stations and a spay-neuter program to keep them under control.
“We are not trying to get rid of them,” said Gina Mayberry, who manages the park’s animal housing, told LA Times. “They keep the rodent population down.”
And over the years, the cats have built up a fandom amongst Disney aficionados, a special secret attraction for those who know where to look. An Instagram dedicated to the felines, Cats of Disneyland, has over 115,000 followers.
Sadly, one of the most famous of these cats recently passed away. According to several Disney park blogs, a cat named Nutmeg, sometimes called “queen of the Disney cats,” died last week.
Nutmeg, a tan long-haired cat, could frequently be found in Disney’s California Adventure Park. She was often found in the area now known as the “Magic Key Terrace,” an area exclusive to annual passholders.
“Everyone who knows the Disneyland cats is mourning the death of Nutmeg, a true celebrity amongst the beloved feral cats of Disney,” tweeted YouTuber Jackson Galaxy. “We join everyone in mourning Nutmeg’s passing and give many thanks to Disney for elevating and embracing community cats!”
Another tweet memorialized her as a “terrific host.”
Nutmeg left behind quite a legacy: her portrait can be found on the wall at the Magic Key Terrace, and her face can be seen in the mosaics.
In addition, she has her own “secret menu” item named after her: according to Disney Food Blog, “The Nutmeg” includes dark rum, half and half, and raspberry flavoring with cinnamon and — of course — nutmeg dusting. It can be purchased at the Alfresco Tasting Terrace for $16.
The Disneyland feral cats have clearly won the hearts of many Disney fans, and Nutmeg was the most beloved of all — rest in peace to this iconic cat ❤️
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