It was an otherwise serious public participation portion of last Wednesday's joint meeting between the Hermosa Beach City Council and the Hermosa Beach City School District.
School board member Jack Burns had just finished a presentation on the state of Hermosa Beach schools and audience member Lauren Pizer was beginning to publicly compliment the two organizations for coming together for a joint meeting.
Then the snickers began to reverberate through the audience.
"A cat just walked into the room," Hermosa Beach mayor Kit Bobko pointed out to a confused Pizer, who couldn't quite figure out why the audience was laughing at her.
"What's that?" asked Pizer.
"A cat just walked into the room," Bobko repeated.
Turning around, Pizer realized what the commotion was about. An orange tabby cat had just nonchalantly strolled into the public meeting and was now zig-zagging his way between the feet of audience members towards the front of the council chambers.
"Well, bring in the cat too," Pizer said with a laugh. "We are Hermosa Beach, anything goes... We all love animals in this city."
While Pizer continued her three minutes of allotted public comment time, school board member Lisa Claypoole quickly scooped the cat up and brought him back outside.
However, curiosity seemed to be getting the better of the cat.
Later in the meeting, interim police chief Steve Johnson was speaking about trespassers on school property when another kind of trespasser reappeared in the council chambers – this time a bit more prominently.
"And there we have a cat," Johnson pointed out as the cat hopped up on the dais and plopped himself down in the position usually reserved for the city attorney.
"I think you have to end right there chief... The cat stole the show," Bobko joked as the audience roared with laughter at the spectacle.
"I swear, it is the second time this week," Johnson joked back.
For the remaining two hours of the meeting, the cat, better known as Allegro the "lobby cat," made himself comfortable in the plush leather chairs of the council chambers as he licked his fur then dozed off.
While the friendly feline may have been the first cat to sit through an Hermosa Beach City Council meeting, Allegro is no stranger to many who work at city hall.
According to Allegro's owner, Suzanna Rampe, Allegro has always been a "free spirit" but in November, started to stray from home after she got a new Chihuahua.
"He didn't like that at all," Rampe explained.
Instead of hanging out at home with his new found canine enemy, Allegro would instead cross Pier Avenue and venture to the police station, fire station and library. Rampe said that in November, Allegro decided to stay there on a more permanent basis.
"He went back and forth for a while but he has since relocated at the (police) station," Rampe said. "He has come really a part of the police department... He loves hanging out there and doesn't seem to go in any other direction," she said.
Allegro can often be seen relaxing in the police department lobby or roaming the sidewalks and landscaping outside of city hall.
"He is always there just hanging out greeting people," said Rampe. "He is the little town greeter now... It's hilarious."
Rampe believes that Allegro has taken to the police department in particular because of the department's constant presence and the fact they are open 24 hours a day. Rampe said that the department has also really taken a liking to Allegro.
"It is almost like he is doing a good service," Rampe said. "If somebody comes in (to the police station) and they are stressed, he is there and he calms them down."
Allegro even has his own Facebook page where fans can see photos and videos of him helping out at the police department, strolling the city hall grounds on "perimeter patrol" or peeking through various office windows. At Christmas, he even had his own stocking hung in the police department offices.
But while Allegro may not spend much time at his original home, Rampe said that she is still there for him to cover veterinary bills and provide food for his bowls at city hall.
"We are happy for him, his new friends and his life with a lot more people in it," Rampe said in a Facebook post on Allegro's page. "We consider him family even if he is not under our roof."
If anything, Allegro's new stomping grounds do offer one beneficial amenity for any cat. On the off chance Allegro finds himself stuck in a tree, well, the fire department is only five feet away.