Matilda, Algonquin Hotel Cat, Celebrates Birthday on World Cat DayPublished August 13, 2012
On Wednesday, August 8, 2012, the Algonquin Hotel hosted Matilda’s Annual Birthday Bash and a Housewarming Party to raise awareness of the benefits of cat ownership on World Cat Day and to raise money for a local New York City animal charity, NY SAVE. The reception showcased Matilda and her cat friends in kitty couture in her newly, multi-million dollar renovated hotel home.
The historic hotel, home to Dorothy Parker’s famous Round Table and birthplace of the New Yorker magazine, has a tradition of resident cats. In the late 1930s, a rather disheveled feline wandered into the hotel searching for food and shelter. Owner Frank Case welcomed the furry traveler into hotel and the tradition of a cat living on property was born.
The current resident, Matilda, is very popular with guests as well as the New York City Health Department. She, as well as the yearly Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show Winner who enjoys a steak dinner at Sardis, is on the New York City Government Watch List. As a result, appointed cat watcher, Alice De Almeida, Executive Assistant to the General Manager, keeps tracks of her movements within the hotel and deems what places are appropriate and inappropriate for Matilda.
Last year, unknown person or persons reported the cat to be a health threat. The Health Department sent a letter to the hotel stating that someone had alleged that a live animal was observed in the facility, and that “a possible violation of Article 81 of the New York City Health Code or Subpart 14-1 of the New York State Sanitary Code, applicable to food service establishments may have occurred or is occurring at the abovementioned facility.”
To manage the problem, the hotel installed an electric fence in the later part of last summer to “condition” Matilda to remain in a neutral area of the lobby, where there is no food or beverage service.
But when I arrived at the famous cat’s birthday party, she was nowhere to be found. Like most cats and celebrities, she checked out early and left us all downstairs to enjoy the party. This is not a new occurrence for this cat. In 2002, while celebrating her seventh birthday, she jumped on her cake and ran out of the room, leaving a trail of paw prints.
Her disappearance didn’t bother cat lover Erica Smith. Smith, donning an Anthropologie exclusive “Feline Karma” dress (a white dress with a print of cat faces), was happy to be celebrating with friends. It didn’t bother her in the least that Matilda was M.I.A.
“As a cat lover, I am happy to come to an event that features cats because it seems that every pet event is about dogs.”
And, there were certainly no dogs here - just cats, cat lovers and friends of Matilda. The highlight of the evening was another fashion show of cats strutting their stuff on the cat walk. Feline designer, Carla Reiss of Meow Wear, dressed cat models for the crowd’s pleasure. Although the costumes were rather interesting, none of the cats seemed that thrilled with the experience.
My cats wear t-shirts when it’s cold or after I shave them down but I felt the headdresses were torturous. Let’s hope next year, they mix it up with a different feature to keep the event fresh.
Courtesy of Charlotte Reed