Fashion Cats Strut Kitty Couture on New York City Catwalk

The catwalk really was a catwalk Thursday. Show cats dressed in everything from an Elvis costume to a sequined satin dress strutted their stuff at New York's Algonquin Hotel.

The feline fashion show unfolded in the dining room where Dorothy Parker presided over famously catty Round Table literary luncheons in the 1920s.

Thursday's show benefited an animal welfare group and honored Matilda, the Algonquin's resident cat, who just turned 13.

She is the hotel's ninth cat since the tradition started in the '30s, when actor John Barrymore dubbed a bedraggled stray Hamlet.

Earlier in the day, Matilda, a pedigreed ragdoll breed with long, silky, cream-colored hair, held court on a chaise longue by the entrance.

In her honor, cocktails with names like Purr-tini and Pink Pussycat were being served at $20 apiece to guests including representatives of the nonprofit North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, on Long Island. The adoption shelter, which was to receive the proceeds of the benefit, offered more than a dozen homeless cats for adoption.

The Westchester Feline Club supplied the show-quality cats, with fashions created by New Jersey pet fashion company Meow Wear.

Matilda has become an Algonquin celebrity, with her birthday celebrated every year. She also receives about 30 e-mails a month, which are answered by longtime Algonquin employee Alice De Almeida.

"We from Stuttgart in Germany are really your fans," says one such missive. "We've read about you in our newspaper und about the very fine lodge in which you live."

It's signed, in German, "Miau."