If you enter the storied The Algonquin Hotel in Midtown, you may be greeted by an orange tabby cat named Hamlet. He’s the hotel’s twelfth resident cat, of which there have been 8 Hamlets and 3 Matildas, along with a Billy (the first cat) and a Rusty during the Algonquin Round Table days. Algonguin Hotel resident, the actor John Barrymore, felt that Rusty was too commonplace of a name and renamed Rusty as Hamlet, in honor of his greatest stage role. And thus, the tradition of the Algonquin Cat was born.
Hamlet has two fancy pet tree houses worthy of his name, one which sits at the end of the check in counter and one that is in one of the front windows of the hotel. A sign on the window says “ *** CAT NAPPING. PLEASE DO NOT TAP THE GLASS ***. The two level tree house has a bark trunk coming out and fake leaves and branches. There are several plaques affixed to the pet tree house, one with Hamlet’s name and the brand of the tree house (Pet Tree Houses), two with the Algonquin Hotel logo, and one with the quote “Cats are connoisseurs of comfort” from the veterinary surgeon and writer James Herriot (though the plaque has it misspelled as Heriot).
Inside, the one level pet tree house has a sign that says “Shh…Please do not disturb.”
Hamlet VIII, a stray found on Long Island, took residence following the retirement (and later passing) of the beloved Matilda, and can often be found on the check-in counter. On a recent visit, we were told the vet had just prescribed Hamlet a diet, with the staff joking with us that someone was feeding him too much steak. True to form, he was anxiously awaiting his meal on the counter.
If you email Hamlet, he will answer for himself (much like Matilda did).
Next, read about the Top 10 Secrets of the Algonquin Hotel in NYC.