When I got to interview the cast of Living on Love last year, I got to interview Trixie the dog. So when The Algonquin Hotel approached me to see if I would interested in providing coverage for The Algonquin Cat's Annual Matilda Celebration, I thought this would this would be the purrrfect time to interview The Algonquin Cat, Matilda, herself along with her chief officer Alice.
Every year The Algonquin Hotel honors its most famous resident, Matilda III, The Algonquin Cat, with a celebration. This year the event will be held on Wednesday, August 5, from 5:00PM – 7:30PM in the hotel’s iconic lobby. The Algonquin will honor members of NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad and the event will feature a cat fashion show by Ada Nieves: "A Feline Salute to NYC’s First Responders." Ada Nieves is a certified animal fashion designer by the Fashion Institute of Technology of New York City. She will stage the show in the hotel’s Oak Room and the fashions will feature costumes inspired by the city’s Police and Fire Departments.
Guests attending will be required to make a $30 donation for entrance. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals. The Mayor’s Alliance will have an on-site mobile adoption unit parked in front of the hotel from 3:00PM – 7:00PM. The $30 donation allows all guests access to the fashion show and includes a reception with special hors d’oeuvres. Additional funds will be raised throughout the evening with raffle prizes, including a variety of pet products. The grand prize is a custom-designed cat tree house, created by Pet Tree Houses. (It’s truly the cat’s meow).
Reservations to the event are required as space is limited. Please contact Alice De Almeida at (212) 419-9197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. On August 5, The Algonquin Hotel will be celebrating The Algonquin Cat, Matilda III in their annual celebration party and fundraiser. What are you looking forward to most about this celebration? Raising awareness that adoption is a wonderful way to go and to help out your local shelters who do so much. Matilda says adoption is the only option as she herself came from North Shore Animal League.
2. What do you hope attendees come away with after attending this celebration? Fun and realization how much the NYPD, Mayors Alliance, and others do to help the less FURtunate. Also that cats make great pets.
3. If you could give people one reason as to why they should attend this celebration, what would that reason be? Have fun and support the local shelters.
4. What made you initially want be the caretaker of Matilda III, The Algonquin's resident cat? I love animals - it was a natural fit (and I have four cats of my own).
5. What do you enjoy most about caring for Matilda III? Her CATitude.
6. What are some of your favorite activities to do with Matilda III? Watching her sleep - and seeing how she interacts with the guests.
7. What have you learned about yourself from taking care of Matilda III? Not all felines are equal and they are much smarter than most people think (Matilda says it is about time people realize how smart cats really are).
8. Matilda III has received fan mail and gifts from around the world. What are some of the nicest things fans have said about her? What are some gifts that have been sent to her? She received a huge oil painting of herself from Oregon, some toys from Russia, bonito flakes from Japan, and the list goes on - students write asking questions about her job and she gets compliments on her beauty all the time (Matilda says her fans don't appreciate her cat naps).
9. If Matilda III could have any super power, which one would she choose? Matilda says "Make annoying people go away and let me nap" and then blink my eyes and have bonito flakes appear.
10. If Matilda III could create her own signature drink, what would she call it and what ingredients would she put in it? She already has the Matilda cocktail and that has a splash of champagne - (Matilda says she prefers tuna juice).
Alice is the voice of Matilda too, she is the force behind the social media outlets and she hits the space bar for Matilda when they are responding to emails. Alice has been working in the hotel industry since 1964 and started her job at the Algonquin January of 2005. After she was hired she got the "OH, by the way, you have to look after the cat."
More on The Algonquin Cat:
For many years the history of The Algonquin Cat was believed to have its origins in the 1930’s, when a stray cat came wandering into the hotel for food and water. After the hotel acquired an out-of-print book written by the hotel’s first general manager, Frank Case, a chapter was discovered about a cat named Billy. Based on the timeline of the book, the hotel is now proud to say the lineage of The Algonquin Cat dates back to the early 1920's. Two days after Billy passed, a stray cat wandered into the hotel and The Algonquin welcomed Rusty. The famous classical actor, John Barrymore, was a resident at the time in the early 1930's and Rusty was renamed Hamlet in his honor. Hamlet is said to have been Barrymore's greatest stage role. The hotel has had a total of 11 cats, including Billy. The lineage includes seven Hamlets and three Matildas. Each cat that has reigned at The Algonquin has been a rescue. In 1980, author Hilary Knight immortalized The Algonquin Cat with his cartoons for a children’s book on which he collaborated with Val Schaffer. The current Matilda began her residence in December 2010.
Today, Matilda is looked after by the hotel’s Chief Cat Officer, Alice De Almeida. The hotel’s executive chef cooks her special meals on holidays. She receives fan mail and gifts constantly, from around the world, including Japan, Australia and Russia. Matilda can be found on Facebook and Twitter. She can also be reached via e-mail: email@example.com.