The Algonquin Hotel just announced that Matilda III, the beloved long-haired cat who ruled the lobby, has passed away.
Matilda was an 11-year-old regal ragdoll retired from her hotel duties this past July after seven years in residence. She died of a stroke in her new home in Duluth, Minn., this weekend.
“She died in the lap of love,” Alice de Almeida, the Algonquin’s chief cat officer said. “[During] her last couple months, she had a huge house to hang out in with all this wildlife. She was able to be a real cat for a change.”
Feline ambassadors have been a staple at the hotel stretching back to the 1920s when a stray named Billy wandered into the lobby. None of the cats were quite as famous, or busy, as Matilda III.
Matilda, the hotel’s 11th kitty arrived at the Algonquin in 2010 from the North Shore Animal League. She acclimated to the high life while feasting on chef-prepared crab cakes, had regular primping sessions and appeared on international TV.
Visitors were enchanted by her glamor and would bring her Bonito flakes from Japan or fan-painted portraits, which now decorate the upstairs offices of the hotel. In October 2016, she was memorialized in hardcover in “Matilda: The Algonquin Cat,” which chronicled her fabulous life.
Matilda had been showing her age in the past year. She no longer wanted to pose for thousands of photos, or spend hours entertaining children in the lobby. That is when a hotel regular, who has an animal sanctuary in Duluth, offered to adopt her. The Algonquin unveiled its newest cat, an adorable orange tabby named Hamlet, at its annual cat fashion show in July.
De Almeida said Matilda III was one of a kind: “She was our girl, our diva. She was the Algonquin Cat.”
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