It was a big night for cat lovers in New York City Wednesday when Matilda, the famous cat at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, celebrated her debut into society with a lavish debutante’s ball.
Matilda, officially Matilda III, is the tenth cat to reside at this landmark residence, which has had a cat since the 1930s. The Ragdoll cat was adopted from North Shore Animal League America and took over from Matilda II, who retired at the age of 15, after greeting hotel guests for more than a decade. (Matilda II now lives with a staff member and enjoys cat napping in a private apartment.)
“We decided to let the new cat settle in to her role as Directfur of Guest Relations before officially introducing her to the pubic,” said Alice de Almeida who is in charge of Matilda and acts as the Hotel’s CCO – chief cat officer.
“She had been abandoned, dumped in a box on the steps of North Shore League America,” explained de Almeida. “Who knows what type of life she had before she came to the hotel. But the glamorous feline quickly adapted to strolling around the lobby and greeting guests. She has such a mellow temperament and everyone adores her.”
I presented Matilda to New York animal lovers and explained the important role the cat plays at the hotel, greeting travelers looking for a “fur fix” when they are missing their own cats waiting for them back home.
For Matilda’s “coming out party” catourier Carla Reiss designed a range of formal wear which mewdels — cats from the Westchester Cat Club — modeled on the catwalk and were applauded by an adoring crowd.
They were lavish creations from elaborate ball gowns in exotic brocades and lace to tuxedos complete with top hats and bow ties. The cats were extremely patient while a bevy of papurrazzi snapped away at rapid speed.
A beautiful oil painting of Matilda by artist Jenny Belin was auctioned off along with a variety of designer cat scratchers, cat beds, cat water fountains and cat toys generously donated by Matilda’s many friends in the pet industry.
All funds raised at the event went to North Shore Animal League America. The group brought its new mobile dog and cat adoption unit and parked it in front of the hotel where they staged an impromptu dog and cat adoption event.
Guests flew in from around the world to attend and meet the new incumbent feline at the hotel. Matilda has her own business card and even her own Facebook page.