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The Algonquin Cat

Matilda sits among the guest at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

When you walk into the plush Algonquin Hotel in New York City, you will marvel at the luxury the hotel offers. Matilda will greet you at the door and welcome you in to one of New York's premiere hotels. She may nod her head or wag her tail, because Matilda is known as the Algonquin Cat.

During the late 1930s, owner Frank Case adopted a stray cat that wandered into the hotel one day. The first stray was named Hamlet by actor John Barrymore. He was even known to drink his milk from a champagne glass. Since then, all Algonquin Cats boy cats have been named Hamlet and all females Matilda.

The reigning Matilda is a 14-year-old Ragdoll. She has the run of the hotel with the exception of the kitchen and dining area. Her preferred position in the hotel is to oversee the comings and goings of the Algonquin Hotel. Her popularity was evident when she was memorialized in a children's book as well as on a 24-karat gold pendant. She also took a limo to White Plains, NY so that she could be crowned "Cat of the Year" at the Westchester Cat Show.

Each year, Matilda is given a birthday party befitting a New York celebrity. She is usually joined by 150 of her closest friends. Many will never forget her seventh birthday party, when Matilda jumped on her cake and ran out of the room, leaving a trail of cake paw prints. Last year's affair found the feline celebrating with a cat fashion show, live music and cocktails that benefited the North Shore Animal League. There was also a feline adoption set up for the event.

Her adoring public and cat fanciers can now send e-mail to the pampered feline at matildaalgonquincat@algonquinhotel.com. Please keep in mind that Matilda is very busy with her welcoming duties at the hotel and that your emails will be answered by her ghost writer and hotel assistant De Almeida who always ends each email the same way: "Have a PURRfect day!"

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