Amy Jamieson
November 23, 2011 07:00 PM

For over 70 years, a feline has had free reign at New York City’s Algonquin Hotel – including fluffy Matilda, the 10th cat in residence, who had special privileges to roam the famed establishment’s lobby and beyond.

But now the posh kitty has been forced to wear a leash and stay behind the check-in desk, according to the New York Post, leaving many guests asking, “Where’s Matilda?”

The kitty cover-up was prompted by what the newspaper calls a Department of Health “reminder” about health code violations.

“The [Health] department in the past months suggested to us that pets in food-service facilities are no longer commingled,” Algonquin general manager Gary Budge said. “The lobby is an area where we serve food and beverage. We always want to be respectful of the Department of Health.”

Now fans can find the fancy feline (who celebrates her birthday each year with a lavish soiree) sitting behind the check-in desk or in the area in front or on the side of it – anywhere food is not served. According to hotel staff, Matilda’s adjusting well to the new restrictions.

“Much to my surprise she doesn’t mind [the leash],” the cat’s caretaker Alice Almeida told PEOPLE. “Matilda is getting used to her new areas and was very happy posing this morning for the press. She is a quick learner and soon we will be able to take the leash off.”

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