Careful with that cat: electric fence keeps Matilda the Algonquin Hotel cat from food areas
Posted: December 22nd, 2011 - 3:02pm
The lobby of New York City’s famed Algonquin Hotel has been surrounded with an invisible electric fence in hopes it will keep the health department happy.
The New York Times reports an electric fence was installed in late summer after someone called 311 and the health department threatened the hotel with action: keep Matilda the cat away from food service and dining areas.
Matilda is the latest in a long line of Algonquin cats going back to the 1930s. The first, a stray who wandered in off West 44th Street with as much elan as a famous guest, was known as Rusty or Hamlet. Since then, each cat has been succeeded by another with the same name, Hamlet for the males, Matilda for the females.
A spokeswoman for the health department, Susan Craig, said that the letter about Matilda was “automatically generated” and that the department “did not find evidence substantiating that complaint.”
She said that during a recent inspection, the hotel had explained the ins and outs of the electric fence “perimeter outside of the food service area to contain the cat.”
“Our food safety inspector acknowledged this,” Ms. Craig wrote in an e-mail, “and concurred that cats should be kept out of dining, kitchen or other food-preparation areas.” For all her mentions in newspaper articles, Matilda has never been mentioned in the Algonquin’s restaurant inspection reports from the health department.