Whenever I’m near the historic Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan, I stop and say hello to Matilda, the resident cat. She’s gracious and friendly when she wants to be but she’s no lover of paparazzi. She reminds me of witty and sometimes acid-tongued Dorothy Parker who held court the Agonquin’s legendary literary roundtable in the ’20s and birthplace of the New Yorker magazine.
Every August, Matilda celebrates her birthday with a fundraiser/fashion show, this year to benefit Bideawee On Thursday I arrived early with mixed feelings. I’m not a fan of cats wearing costumes or made to perform for the cameras. I know some cats do enjoy it but most don’t. Things got off to a good start seeing the mobile adoption van from Bideawee and a chat with one of their passionate volunteers. Once inside the hotel, I was told the fashion cats were tucked away on the second floor and I breathed easier. By-laws prevented the cats from performing in a fashion show in the lobby as in previous years. In a Grumpy Cat moment I said, Good! I didn’t even mind that Matilda was MIA. I silently cheered: Good for her. She’s not in the mood to party. I respect that. And it turns out we all had a purrfectly wonderful time thanks to the host, pet expert Nikki Moustaki and help from cat writer Sandy Robbins, PR whiz Dana Humphrey, Algonquin executive assistant and Matilda’s caretaker Alice de Almeida. Add yummy wine and nibbles, loads of fab raffle prizes and a crowd of cat lovers, a good time is guaranteed.
The party took place in the area off the lobby close to the original roundtable location. The lobby of the The Algonguin is a cozy spot to have a drink or cup of tea and yes, read a book while conjuring literary ghosts. The accommodating staff is warm and lovely.
Ada Nieves designed cat costumes in honor of literary characters for the “Cats in Fashion,” charity event. I got to meet all the cat models before the crowd arrived and some cats were in a cranky mood. A number of photographers snapped away and I’ve yet to meet a cat who likes the glare of cameras flashing.
Mom, I’m not ready for my close-up.
An adorable little Sphinx named Daisy wearing a Christmasy costume with LED lights was not amused. I tried doing Reiki on her but a volley of press cameras flashed and nerves frayed. If you’re thinking of getting a cute outfit for your cat for Christmas, think again. Daisy nipped at her mom who said, “She never does that.”
Credit: Alissa Ambrose/CBS News
Click here to see the rest of the kitty models. Whether you believe in kitty fashion or not, compassion is always in fashion.