Cat · just plain fun · Travel

The Algonquin’s most famous guest

Yesterday evening after classes at the Usability Seminar I walked the few blocks over to the famous Algonquin Hotel, home of the Round Table of wits and bon vivants during the 20s such as Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley.

I didn’t go to trade bon mots with whoever was hanging around the bar. I went for one reason only: to catch a glimpse of Matilda, the house kitty. The Algonquin has hosted a cat ever since the 1930s, when a wet and bedraggled cat wandered in looking for a warm spot. The generous hotelier provided a dish of milk and a new tradition was started. Ever since, a cat has lived at the hotel. When the cat is a male, he’s called Hamlet. When they have a female, she is Matilda.

This is the 10th cat and the 3rd Matilda in the line. I ducked into the lobby and asked the concierge where Matilda was; he laughed and took me over to the front desk.

Matilda, the Algonquin kitty
I leaned over the front desk and got a picture of the queen herself, Matilda. Being a cat she ignored me.

From the hotel’s website:

Matilda, the current resident, is very popular with our guests. She has the run of the house (except in dining areas and the kitchen) but prefers to oversee the comings and goings of the many guests who cross her threshold.

Matilda receives mail weekly from friends around the world and has been the subject of countless stories. On one occasion, when her collar was stolen, the “Algonquin Cat-Burglary” was the talk of the town.

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