Half a decade ago, the staff of Discovery Green separately trapped two visitors to the downtown park, hauled them off to a medical facility for inspection, and released them as its newest employees. June and Mars—the two cats in question—have been in faithful service ever since.
June is the gregarious one. White with gray and black spots, she’s often found peeking out from under the deck running alongside the park’s Brown Foundation Promenade. Mars, on the other hand, proves more elusive. Your best chance to catch the smoky gray cat with a scar on his side is in the dead of night, over by the Grove restaurant.
June will occasionally entertain you with her presence, whereas Mars will at best hiss in your direction. Both have notched ears, indicating they’re spayed or neutered. This forecloses any chance of hanky-panky while they’re on duty.
Other than being cute and clawing at the considerable downtown rodent population, the territorial cats ward off feral strays who might take over. “I’ve been at shopping centers and stuff where the back corner of the faraway parking lot will have 30 cats,” says Clark Curry, the park’s operations manager. “We didn’t want to be overrun like that.”
Like so many entry-level jobs, the gig’s lack of pay is made up for by perks. June likes to chase a nighttime security guard on her bike patrol, knowing the cat lover will likely offer scraps. And a live-in resident of the nearby Four Seasons is wont to leave heaps of cat food around the park. Apparently even the fiercest cats—including the bird-devouring June—won’t say no to the occasional Fancy Feast.