New York City’s Algonquin Hotel announced last week that Matilda, the latest in a line of legendary cat residents at the historic hotel, has chosen a successor. Matilda III will now occupy the “throne” — a small chaise longue in the front entry of the hotel.
Matilda II (“Tilly”) informed General Manager Gary Budge and Executive Assistant Alice de Almeida of her retirement and asked that a new Matilda be found through the hotel’s “pet” charity, North Shore Animal League America.
The Animal League found a blue-eyed Ragdoll, a rescue cat who was residing its facility in Port Washington, N.Y. After an exhaustive interview process, Matilda III was chosen to take her place as the new “Algonqueen” at the New York City hotel.
“The Algonquin has been a generous partner and friend of the Animal League for many years,” said Joanne Yohannan, the Animal League America’s senior vice president of operations. “We were truly honored to help in the search for Matilda III and are thrilled to have been able to find the ideal candidate to fill that legendary role.”
The tradition of having a resident cat at The Algonquin began in the 1930s when a straggly stray cat wandered in through the hotel’s front door looking for food and shelter. Owner Frank Case, the host famous for first welcoming Dorothy Parker and her friends to start the legendary Algonquin Round Table in the hotel’s bar, welcomed the cat as he did every other guest, and a tradition was born.
Matilda III has already begun her residency at The Algonquin. The hotel reports that Tilly, who has announced that she will retire to a pre-war classic in Brooklyn, left behind her legendary chaise longue for Matilda III to enjoy, and advised her successor on the best corners of the hotel for napping (behind the front desk computer); people watching (the luggage cart by the door); and hiding from the paparazzi (the coat room).
“We were sad to hear that our beloved Matilda had decided to retire,” said De Almeida. “But, although she can never be replaced in our hearts, we are thrilled to welcome the new Matilda to reside here at The Algonquin, especially since she was chosen with care by Tilly herself.”
Matilda III – from here on known simply as “Matilda” will now watch over Facebook (Matilda Cat) and Twitter (@Algonqueen) pages, and answer fan mail from all over the world (via her email address). Her first order of business was to express her gratitude to the dedicated group of caregivers at the Animal League who helped to introduce her to her new home. She will see them this August at her annual birthday party, which also serves as a fundraiser for the Animal League.