Monte dishes about her very own hotel

Barbara Hootman

“Monte and the Monte Vista” is a new book about the Monte Vista Hotel in Black Mountain told from the resident cat’s viewpoint.

Danielle Lavery's "Monte & The Monte Vista Hotel" is popular new book about the historic Monte Vista Hotel and its resident cat. The story is from the cat's viewpoint.

“Monte and the Monte Vista” is the first book written by local resident Danielle Lavery, a native New Yorker known around the hotel as Monte’s Auntie. Monte is the hotel’s feline ambassador whose job is to mix and mingle with staff and guests.

A foundling living in the hotel when it closed in 2010, Monte was living in the cellar and starving when Sue Conlon and Barney Fitzpatrick bought the hotel and began renovating.

Monte shares her story through Lavery, her personal scribe.

“Everyone calls me Monte," Monte via Lavery says in her book.  "My full name is Monte Vista.  I am so totally named after the hotel. I’m glad to be me.”

Monte is living her dream - “All things are possible in the feline universe.”

She is a diva  that relishes her role and knows her good looks always work to her advantage. Her Russian Blue coloring is accented by tuxedo markings. Depending on her mood, her eyes vary from green to amber. This  American short hair beauty has  tales to tell.

“I am beautiful and often affectionate.  I am quite popular with the hotel staff and guests.  I ignore those who chase me calling, ‘Here Kitty-Kitty.’ Really.”

Due to Monte's well-honed mousing skills and her constant  surveillance, the hotel is critter-free.

“Thanks to me, critters think twice before they tarry at the Monte Vista. My reputation as an avid huntress remains intact. I view the grounds of the Monte Vista as part of the neighborhood watch.”

Monte endured the months of the hotel's renovation without complaint.“Imagine months and months of demolition, reconstruction, floor sanding, Skill saws, jackhammers … the noise, the mess, the frenzy. The glory of it,” she writes.

There was an incident that confirmed to Monte that Sue and Barney loved her.

“I innocently left paw prints on the newly varnished lobby floor. What a calamity," Monte recalled. "There was nothing to be done but refinish the floor again. Barney was exhausted, but not angry with me.  That’s when I realized that I was loved.”

Monte sees the renovated Monte Vista Hotel as a “buff” place now.  She has gone from rags to riches with her ambassadorship position.

“The highlight of my day is my predawn breakfast with Sue. My main meal of the day is served at 4 p.m. - my feline version of ‘high tea.’”

Because she mingles with the guests as they enjoy the events at the hotel, very little happens there that Monte doesn't hear and see. Except for in the dining area - she can't go in there. It's off limits.

Monte knows the Friday afternoon tatters and knitters, the writers guild members,  the artists hanging work for the revolving art exhibits. She especially likes the annual Christmas Tree fundraiser.  There is a category dedicated to her tree preference called “Monte’s Fave,” selected because she spends more time sleeping  underneath it than the other trees. She tours the annual garden show obviously looking for the vendors selling catnip, but observes most of the day-long event from a secluded high spot.

For more revelations about Monte and the hotel - and there are many - you will have to read the 78-page book.  Local artists including Gary Leive, Janey Cope, Christine Fitzpatrick, Robyn Gonzalez, Danielle Lavery, Carolyn Johnson, Ray Mata and Sheila Showers illustrated the book. Carolyn Johnson took the book cover photographs.

Lavery is contributing a percentage of the profits from the sale of the book to local animal rescue and adoption organizations.  Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is high on her priority list. “Monte & The Monte Vista Hotel” is available through Barnes and Noble, and at the Monte Vista Hotel located at 308 W. State St. in Black Mountain. The book costs $12.95.