Last night for the second year in a row, I attended Matilda the cat's summer reception at New York City's legendary Algonquin Hotel. The annual soirée was part celebration of the hotel's famous resident feline, and also a charity event for a local animal welfare organization.
While last year's reception served as a debutante ball for the Ragdoll, this year was a welcome home party of sorts. Matilda III, who has resided at the Algonquin since 2010, has not had a year without hardship. Controversy erupted in November when the famous feline was forced out of the hotel's lobby after concerns were raised by the health department, and she was also temporarily displaced when the hotel closed for a 5-month, $18 million dollar renovation earlier this year.
Cat fanciers in attendance last night munched on crudités, wraps, and chicken skewers, while glasses of red and white wine flowed plentifully. As usual, a group of professional "MEWdels" (running the gamut from impossibly fluffy Persians to hairless Sphynx kittens) were on hand to model the fabulous, custom made Meow Wear fashions created by designer Carla Reiss. Pet lifestyle expert, author, and all around nice lady Sandy Robins hosted the event courtesy of Fancy Feast, while other celebrity guests included Randall ("Honey Badger Don't Care") who was reporting for Paw Nation, and Julie Klausner who provided commentary for The Daily Beast.
Raffle tickets could be purchased to win ultra-cool cat themed packages (which I sadly did not win), while all partygoers received custom made goodie bags, featuring a small picture of Matilda in a heart-shaped frame.
The bash benefited NY Save, an organization devoted to providing veterinary care for pet owners in need of financial assistance. Bideawee also attended the event, with several kittens who were up for adoption.
Matilda held court from the confines of her Sturdi cat carrier, but was not in the mood to come out and make a formal appearance. I went over to say hello and wish her well, to which she responded, "Meow!" (and according to this picture she posted on Facebook this morning, she had a very good time, indeed.)
The Algonquin Hotel has had a cat in residence since 1932 when owner Frank Case opened his doors to a traveling kitty, who never left in spirit. Matilda is the 10th Algonquin cat, and was adopted from the North Shore Animal League after her predecessor, Matilda II, retired from her post as Directfurr of Guest Relations at the age of 15. Guests from all around the world come to visit the iconic feline, and can even book her eponymous package, which reportedly includes a plush Matilda doll, and a CATabulous eye mask for “the best cat nap in town!”
One of the MEWdels gets a squeeze.
Julie Klausner gets cozy with some furry friends.
This dapper dude needed a break in between outfit changes.
She knows she looks fierce!
These ladies were showing off the Meow Wear, which was displayed on tiny hangers.
This Sphynx was clearly thrilled with his exotic, dragonfly print top.
Favorite cat. Best cat. It's also worth noting that this kitty did not move a muscle the.entire.night. And oh yeah, this Carmen Miranda is actually a boy! "He's a cross-dresser, and he loves Chick-fil-A," his owner joked.