The literary landmark Algonquin Hotel hosted a feline fashion show and birthday party on Thursday in honor of Matilda, the famous inn’s finicky house cat, now 13.
“I hope we get to see the cat’s pajamas,” quipped one quick-witted attendee, as guests sipped $20 purr-tinis while cooing at the various costumed kitties in the hotel’s famed Round Table Room.
But something was missing. “We can’t find Matilda,” an organizer confessed.
The resident blue-eyed Ragdoll — who was rumored to have been hiding out in the hotel’s Blue Bar — will just have to get used to having other critters around.
The splashy celebration, which benefitted the North Shore Animal League, also marked the beginning of a new pet-friendly policy at the Algonquin, which had previously prohibited guests from checking in their own animals.
That rule seemed rather “hypocritical” to general manager Gary Budge, who noted that the hotel has featured its own four-legged mascot ever since a disheveld stray cat, named Hamlet by actor John Barrymore, crawled into the lobby back in the 1930s.
Other cats and dogs up to 60 pounds are now welcome, with litter boxes, latex gloves and waste bags available at the front desk, making the Algonquin perhaps Manhattan’s most furry-friendly lodge outside of the Hotel Pennsylvania, unofficial host hotel of the annual Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show.
The so-called Algonquin [Heart]’s Pets Program is just one of several improvements at the renowned hotel, built in 1902, which has also undergone a $4.5 million renovation, including new furniture, lighting, carpet, bedding and frames for its collection of artwork.