CLOSE
iStock
iStock

Cats Strut the Runway at the Algonquin Hotel's Feline Fashion Show

iStock
iStock

Last night, on Wednesday, August 10, ailurophiles (that is, cat lovers) flocked to New York City's storied Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan for the 10th Annual Cat Fashion Show and an evening filled with sophistication, style, and lots of lint rollers. Felines wearing tiny wigs, outfits, and accessories designed by certified animal fashion designer Ada Nieves strutted around the hotel’s lobby as guests clad in kitty-inspired apparel took photos, enjoyed refreshments, and tried to spot the Algonquin Hotel’s famous lobby cat, a Ragdoll named Matilda III, lurking near the concierge desk.

The Algonquin has owned a series of pampered rescue cats since the early 1920s. Over the decades, 11 kitties have called the luxury lodging home. The male cats are typically named Hamlet after the late stage actor John Barrymore, a notable Algonquin guest who played the cursed Danish king. As for the female cats, they’re called Matilda. (The hotel’s current pet, Matilda III, came to the hotel in 2010 after she was abandoned outside the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, New York.)

Since 2006, the Algonquin Hotel has celebrated its famous feline residents with an elaborate fashion show. Ticket proceeds are donated to a charitable cause. Last night’s event aimed to raise $10,000 for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. This year, additional funds were also raised through a silent auction offering cat-themed prizes, and an on-site mobile adoption unit parked in front of the hotel from 3 to 7 p.m. offered attendees the chance to take home their very own rescue kitty.

Along with the charity which receives the funds, the fashion show’s theme changes every year. This year attendees celebrated “Through the Decades,” a theme that honored “the iconic looks of the hotel’s most famous guests and patrons, including Al Hirschfeld, Michael Feinstein, Marilyn Monroe, John Barrymore and many more," according to a statement from the Algonquin.

Keeping with the historic vibe, last night’s cat models were clad in pink cocktail dresses, theatric capes, bowler hats, baseball uniforms, and curly wigs. But the evening's guest of honor, Matilda, didn't dress up for the show. 

“We tried once—and it was not pretty,” said Alice de Almeida, the Algonquin Hotel’s “chief cat officer." De Almeida’s job, she tells mental_floss, is to make sure Matilda is “always comfortable, she has all her needs, and she's happy.” De Almeida also manages Matilda III’s social media accounts.

When Matilda III first made her “grand debut” at the Algonquin in 2010, “we thought it would be great if we gave her a royal robe trimmed in fake fur,” de Almeida explained. “It didn’t work.” (Matilda herself only made one or two appearances at last night's fashion show before disappearing into a back room.)

As for the writers, critics, actors, and humorists who populated the Algonquin Hotel’s infamous Round Table, what would they think of their former haunt hosting a cat fashion show? 

“They really liked making fun of people, so they would have thought this was hilarious,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, president and founder of the Dorothy Parker Society, who attended last night’s celebration. “I mean, think about it: You're here for a cat fashion show, so that's kind of humorous right there."

Parker and her friends would likely satirize the humans—not the animals—in attendance, Fitzpatrick told mental_floss. The Round Table’s members "were animal lovers," he said. "Dorothy Parker always had a dog her entire life, ever since she was a little girl, and a lot of them had pets. They all betted on the horses, too, so they were big horse lovers. They would have thought this was hilarious.”

Here’s a sampling of some of the best looks and mew-ments from last night’s show:

American caricaturist Al Hirschfeld

 

American critic, writer, and satirist Dorothy Parker

 

Baseball player Joe DiMaggio

 

Musician Michael Feinstein

 

American comedian and second-oldest of the Marx Brothers

 

My Fair Lady (written in Room 502 of the Algonquin Hotel by Broadway lyricist and librettist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Lowe)

 

Actor John Barrymore, as Hamlet

 

Marilyn Monroe

 

The Algonquin Hotel's future: the "Millennial Cat"

 

Actor Douglas Fairbanks, as Robin Hood

Matilda, the famous Algonquin Hotel cat, didn't participate in the fashion show—but she did make a brief appearance in the hotel lobby.

 

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Smart Shopping
15 Funny Novelty Toys For Pets
iStock
iStock

Want to get your pet a toy that shares your interests? These cute and amusing novelty creations will provide your dog or cat (and you) with plenty of entertainment, and your human friends will appreciate their strong pun game. And, they're great inspiration for funny Instagram photos.

1. STARBARKS COFFEE; $12

Starbarks Coffee DogToy
Amazon

If your dog loves going to Starbucks for a puppuccino, order a grande Starbarks Frenchie Roast so they can get their fix every day.

Find It: Amazon

2. EXCALIGRRR SWORD; $14

ExcaliGRRR Sword dog toy
BarkShop

This chew toy is worth it just to repeat the "Knights of the Hound Table" and "King Arfur" jokes that BarkShop suggests.

Find It: BarkShop

3. THE BARK POST; $10

newspaper dog toy
BarkShop

Did you know that dogs prefer print media? After all, you can't shred the internet. This newspaper toy is printed with real dog articles from BarkShop's blog, BarkPost.

Find It: BarkShop

4. CAT NIP TEA BAG; $4

cat nip tea bag toy
Etsy

If your ideal Sunday involves lounging on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea, and your cat at your feet, get your kitten its very own tea bag. This handmade toy is filled with organic cat nip and comes in four different ribbon patterns.

Find It: Etsy

5. LICK-CROIX BARKLING WATER; $14

LaCroix dog toy
GlamourMutt

If your dog loves to ride in your cart while you shop at Whole Foods, get him his own can of LaCroix-inspired Lick-Croix Barkling Water (Pamplemutt flavor, of course). Cheers!

Find It: GlamourMutt

6. HUMUNGA TONGUE; $11

Humunga Tongue dog toy
Amazon

This giant tongue with a ball on the end will make for tons of silly photos. Just make sure you buy the right size for your pooch.

Find It: Amazon

7. DOGGO DOGGO BILLS, Y'ALL; $8

stack of bills dog toy
BarkShop

Have you already spoiled your dog with every fancy bed, jacket, and toy imaginable? Maybe with a stack of money, they can learn to finance their own doggo lifestyle. In addition to squeaking, the toy crinkles just like crisp dollar bills.

Find It: BarkShop

8. RUCKSACK; $10

Rucksack dog toy
BarkShop

Does your pup love the great outdoors? This rucksack is perfect for his travels around the yard—just don't let him chase any cars while carrying it!

Find It: BarkShop

9. BOOM BOX; $11

boom box dog toy
BarkShop

When your dog picks up this boom box, he'll look like he's ready to party—or make a grand romantic gesture à la Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything.

Find It: BarkShop

10. CHEWY VUITON HANDBAG; $10

Chewy Vuiton dog toy
Amazon

This Chewy Vuiton purse is perfect for any fashionable doggies, even if they're named Gucci, Prada, or Dolce.

Find It: Amazon

11. TAKEOUT DUMPLINGS; $16

Dog with plush dumpling toys
BarkShop

If your fur baby begs for a bite every time you order in, get them their own "meal" of plush dumplings, complete with a Chinese takeout box replica.

Find It: BarkShop

12. IBONE; $17

iBone Plush Dog Toy
Amazon

Does your dog feel left out when you're Snapchatting or playing Candy Crush? Get him his own "iBone," so you can each stare at your phones in peace.

Find It: Amazon

13. VANDERPUMP SANGRIA; $17

Vanderpump sangria dog toy
GlamourMutt

It's not drinking alone if your dog is drinking with you! Get your overly pampered pooch a bottle of Lisa Vanderpump-branded sangria in pink or red, and settle in for a night of looking for Giggy or Rumpy Pumpy appearances on RHOBH or Vanderpump Rules.

Find It: GlamourMutt

14. CATNIP BANANA PEEL; $7

Your kitty will be tripping all over itself to get ahold of this organic catnip-filled banana peel. And perhaps it can serve as a reminder to increase your own daily fruit intake.

Find It: Etsy

15. ERNESTO THE FISH TACO; FROM $10

fish taco dog toy
BarkShop

Not all beaches allow dogs to bask in the sun, but that shouldn't stop your pup from enjoying a giant fish taco.

Find It: BarkShop

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Catio Spaces
arrow
Animals
A 'Catio' Gives Your Indoor Cat a Taste of Nature
Catio Spaces
Catio Spaces

Cats usually fall into one of two categories: outdoor or indoor. Now, a company based in Seattle is working to erase the boundaries between these groups. As PureWow reports, Catio Spaces sells plans for outdoor enclosures that allow your feline companions to enjoy being in nature without wandering too far from home.

Each Catio is designed to be made from a wooden frame, escape-proof wiring, and cedar shelves for cats to lounge on. The boxes can attach to a window or door leading outside, allowing your cat to wander in and out without putting itself in harm's way (or posing a threat to wildlife).

"Cats naturally want to be outside where they can breathe fresh air and experience the sights, sounds and stimulation of the natural world," the Catio Spaces website reads. "A catio, an outdoor cat enclosure or 'cat patio,' is the purrfect solution to solve the indoor/outdoor dilemma."

Plans for DIY catios you can assemble at home range in price from $40 to $70 (materials not included). You can order and download yours today, with 10 percent of your purchase price going to an animal welfare organization.

Patio for cats.
Catio Spaces

Cats in cat patio.
Catio Spaces

[h/t PureWow]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios