At a regular West Hollywood City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, the council declared it “Community Cat Day” and recognized Anawalt Lumber employees, as well as community cat rescuers Renee Sotile and Mj Godges, founders of West Hollywood Community Cats, and Luxe Paws for their services in advocating and caring for feral cats throughout the City of West Hollywood.
Through the West Hollywood Community Cats Program, volunteers rescued 15-plus community cats hiding out in little nooks and crannies in and around Anawalt Lumber in West Hollywood last October. Renee Sotile, along with her wife, Mary Jo Godges (who identified as MJ “Tomcat” Godges at the council meeting), led the effort at Anawalt with help from some of the employees who were mentioned by name and presented with a proclamation at the event.
The mission of the West Hollywood Community Cats Program is to encourage trap-neuter-return (TNR) practices for cats, stopping them from multiplying and allowing them to live healthier lives. After the surgery, male cats are less aggressive and stop fighting, while female cats stop reproducing every 3 to 4 months, which is the number one reason shelters and rescues are constantly overwhelmed. Fixing one cat equals preventing potentially thousands of unwanted kittens.
Godges and Sotile have long advocated for the West Hollywood City Council and officials to establish local services after a Calico cat appeared at their residence with her 5 kittens over 10 years ago. The West Hollywood Community Cats Program, established in May 2023, offers permits, traps, and free and local spay/neuter services performed at the Amanda Foundation.
Luxe Paws is a part-time, volunteer street rescue effort laser-focused on TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) spay/neuter and rescue for the youngest, most at-risk kitties in the LA neighborhoods. Their ultimate goal is to inspire a community-based spay/neuter model which, if replicated across LA, would prevent unwanted animals suffering on the street and being euthanized at city shelters.
The group posed for a group photo, and then Godges, Sotile, and the founder of Luxe Paws, Jacquie Navratil, each took turns thanking the council for the honor and volunteers who have been of service in their causes.