As a cat-mom I try to spend as much time with my fur baby Arwen as possible. We watch TV together, she likes to lie on my desk and nibble the corner of my laptop when I’m working from home and she even enjoys sitting on the kitchen bar stool and watch me cook. One thing I never thought of doing with her is yoga! However, after reading about Animal Anti-Cruelty League’s cat yoga class, I’m intrigued!
On Saturday the 21st of April, Animal Anti-Cruelty League’s Epping Branch hosted its first ever cat yoga event. On this sunny afternoon 10 participants were joined by five very special four legged yogis who all reside within the adult adoption cattery whilst awaiting adoption.
Muffin (a newcomer to the cattery) took an instant liking to Mr. & Mrs. van Zyl and seemed to “adopt” them while they were doing their stretches.
Participant Jacques pulled off a very impressive side crow and wife Kristien enthralled Muffin who refused to move from her mat until long after everyone else had called it a day.
Jasper, a young black cat made himself at home on the corner of yogi Sandrine’s mat and enjoyed a leisurely nap whilst Callie entertained the rest of the class with her meows.
Juanita, a veterinary nurse from the Epping branch, initiated the cat yoga and is passionate about the initiative specifically to raise awareness for their adult adoption cats. Sadly, the older cats are often overlooked as most people come to the organization with the idea of adopting a kitten and don’t give the adult cats a second glance. While kittens are a little too active for cat yoga, the adults fit in purrrrrfectly.
The Animal Anti Cruelty League is a nonprofit organization and all proceeds from cat yoga events contribute to the operations of their adoptions department that rehomed over 300 cats over the last year.
The more I think about it, the more this seems like such a great idea! Studies show that yoga can improve your balance, your breathing, your sense of self and your overall health. It can reduce anxiety and fight off depression. It strengthens your core and can help ease chronic pain. There are no studies about the health benefits of cat yoga yet, but I’m sure one would get all the benefits of regular yoga plus a few laughs sharing your mat with a cat. Who knows, you might even go home with one!
Yoga instructor Natalie Simpson’s relationship with the organization is personal: it’s where she adopted her own cats. The good ‘mews’ is that they are planning more classes and their next one will be in June. Don’t worry if your love of cats is stronger than your downward dog, classes are suitable for beginners and advanced yogis, so keep an eye on Animal Anti-Cruelty League’s Facebook page for their next event.
I just love the idea of getting flexible with felines and it’s such a great way to get people into the shelter to see the adoptable animals. Hopefully these beautiful kitties won’t ‘Namaste’ there too long but rather find their fur-ever homes with loving families.