West Hollywood City Council celebrated the city’s feline friends and their human allies Monday night, with Mayor John M. Erickson proclaiming it “Community Cats Day.”
Council honored Renee Sotile and Mj Godges, founders of West Hollywood Community Cats, along with employees of Anawalt Lumber and Luxe Paws who were essential in saving and caring for a litter of abandoned kittens recently, which Erickson called a “remarkable example of communal unity.”
“I am thrilled to recognize several individuals from Anawalt Lumber for their outstanding support of the city’s Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program,” Erickson said. “They have shown exceptional care for five adult cats and have been instrumental in rescuing five kittens. Their dedication extends beyond the basic necessities, providing food, shelter, and assistance to these animals. The team members deserving of our applause include Edilio Galdamez, Eduardo Goldstein, Armando Moradel, and Manager Basil Alexander.
“Additionally, we are fortunate to have Jacquie Navratil, the founder of Luxe Paws, with us tonight. Luxe Paws is an admirable volunteer street rescue effort focusing on TNR and the rescue of vulnerable kittens within the LA area. Their goal is to foster a community-driven spay/neuter model that, if emulated across L.A., could significantly reduce the suffering of unwanted animals and decrease euthanasia rates in shelters. Luxe Paws has been instrumental in offering guidance, and, notably, Anawalt Lumber responded promptly to their call for action. The collaboration between Jacquie and Anawalt’s staff has led to the successful care of cats and kittens within a mere 24-hour period. Jackie personally oversaw health checkups for the kittens and managed the care of three adult cats until they could be spayed, neutered, and adopted. Manager Basil Alexander and the entire Anawalt Lumber team exemplify the spirit of the West Hollywood community through their compassionate actions.”
“Moreover, it’s essential to recognize the role of community cats, often referred to as feral or stray, which live outdoors and are not socialized to humans. These cats exist in various environments and can pose challenges. However, two incredible community members saw an opportunity to contribute positively by supporting our efforts in managing these feline populations responsibly. The City of West Hollywood extends its deepest gratitude to all involved community members and organizations, including longtime residents and advocates Renee Sotile and Mj ‘Tomcat’ Godges, for their leadership and support of the West Hollywood Community Cats program.”
Godges, in character as “Tomcat,” then thanked the Council on behalf of WeHo’s felines.
“I’m Tomcat, West Hollywood Community cat. It’s not in my wild nature to be indoors around all you humans so close, but I have a tail to tell. I used to fight all the time. The fur was really flying. You probably heard my loud howls in the middle of the night hissing. And at this time I’d like to take personal responsibility and sincerely apologize to all my kitty baby mamas. It’s because of me that you had to give birth every two to three months. That’s not right. But once the West Hollywood Community Cats program got me fixed, I’m a changed man, a whole new Tom. Now all I do is make love not kittens. So on behalf of my entire colony — who obviously couldn’t be here tonight (I did invite them), but they know they’re misunderstood and they’re scaredy cats. So we’d like to thank all of you who understand us and care about us everyone at Anawalt and to Jacquie at Luxe Paws who came to the rescue finding homes from my five youngest babies, my last litter. They were in a construction zone and active construction zone next to Anawalt. So it’s good to know that tonight they are dry and warm and indoors tonight. They all got adopted and I can’t believe I’m saying this but they are in safe caring human hands, and I hope they’re purring all the time. I’d be purring to if my wild nature would let me calm down for just a second. But thank you Council: you give us hope. Paws up. Keep doing what you’re all doing. So I’m going to give it a try now for the first time. I’m going to try to purr because This is pure this is pure perfection. Yeah, thank you.'”