She speaks 20 languages and has 165 people working for her 24 hours a day. No, she’s not a UN Ambassador, she’s Matilda the Algonquin cat, and she recently celebrated her sixth birthday in high style in the lobby of her home, the historic Algonquin hotel.
No matter what country they’re from, guests have no trouble understanding the gray and white Rag Doll as she helps Concierge Ulf Larsen. Larsen noted how Matilda especially likes to spend time on the front desk.
“She walks up and down the counter. Talk about a catwalk for models!” he laughed. “She also sniffs all the bags. She’s very territorial.”
At the party, Matilda wore all her jewelry- white diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds- as she made the rounds, traveling in Larsen’s arms around the opulent, antique-filled lobby, and stopping by the three-layer Neopolitan birthday cake. Matilda accepted no gifts, only donations to Bide-A-Wee Home, a nonprofit shelter and animal therapy center.
She must remember her roots. The tradition of the Algonquin cat began in the great Depression, when then-owner Frank Case refused to turn away a scrawny feline who had wandered in from the cold. Her new position as mascot of the hotel, then a center of Manhattan’s literary and theatrical life, soon produced a fat cat used to good living.
“If she didn’t get her milk from a martini glass, she wouldn’t have it,” said Ulf of the original Algonquin cat.
Let’s hope Matilda demands such luxury just once a year.