Yes, Cat Yoga Is A Thing Now, And It's Pretty Purrfect

Yes, Cat Yoga Is A Thing Now, And It's Pretty Purrfect

4:10pm Oct 31, 2016
Perrin Bickert gets a nuzzle during child pose.
Perrin Bickert gets a nuzzle during child pose.
Melanie Peeples Lewis
  • Perrin Bickert gets a nuzzle during child pose.

    Perrin Bickert gets a nuzzle during child pose.

    Melanie Peeples Lewis

  • Marliese Thomas has only one cat, a female ginger who doesn't like others, so the yoga class is a good way for her to enjoy the company of other cats.

    Marliese Thomas has only one cat, a female ginger who doesn't like others, so the yoga class is a good way for her to enjoy the company of other cats.

    Melanie Peeples Lewis

  • The kitties love "downward-facing cat."

    The kitties love "downward-facing cat."

    Melanie Peeples Lewis

  • Melissa Galdis and Ramon, a cat she she fell in love with.

    Melissa Galdis and Ramon, a cat she she fell in love with.

    Melanie Peeples Lewis

  • "Don't you want to take me home?"

    "Don't you want to take me home?"

    Melanie Peeples Lewis

  • Katie McKay decided to take a break while "somebody" decided to take a bath.

    Katie McKay decided to take a break while "somebody" decided to take a bath.

    Melanie Peeples Lewis

  • Thomas the cat decided to play while Katie McKay was in Pigeon Pose.

    Thomas the cat decided to play while Katie McKay was in Pigeon Pose.

    Melanie Peeples Lewis

  • Sometimes a kitty steals a mat at cat yoga.

    Sometimes a kitty steals a mat at cat yoga.

    Marliese Thomas

  • Marliese Thomas came prepared with her cat leggings and water bottle.

    Marliese Thomas came prepared with her cat leggings and water bottle.

    Courtesy Marliese Thomas

  • Instructor Carla Jean Whitley leads the Birmingham Humane Society's first ever cat yoga class.

    Instructor Carla Jean Whitley leads the Birmingham Humane Society's first ever cat yoga class.

    Courtesy Marliese Thomas

As the cat-tentious — or rather, contentious — political season winds down, there's something afoot that may help voters relax: Cat yoga. Animal shelters in Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Texas and other states across the country, are partnering with yoga studios to raise money and increase adoptions.

On Sunday, the Greater Birmingham Humane Society offered its first cat yoga class, and it filled up immediately — after clogging the website for a bit. People filed into the shelter at noon, laid out their mats, and set about meeting the kitties in the conference room.

Thirteen women paid $10 each for yoga instructor Carla Jean Whitley to lead them through poses such as downward-facing dog (she calls it downward-facing cat). Whitley, who wore a shirt that read, "Sorry I can't. I have plans with my cat," has only two cats because she lives in a 750-square-foot house and only has room for one litter box. Her cat yoga playlist includes songs such as The Pink Panther, Stray Cats Strut, and Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson, but she sings them in her own way.

"Everybody, everybody is a cat, everybody, everybody wants to be cats, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow-meow."

Singing breaks out occasionally, but that's OK, because people are here for more than just yoga — which is good, since cats make really terrible fellow yoga students: they scamper on mats, drink from people's water bottles, and sit and bathe themselves underneath downward-facing cat poses.

During class Ashley Black's nose turned red and her face blotchy. She's allergic to cats, but came to class anyway, because it's a great place to hang out with them for just a little bit.

And hanging out with the kitties can tempt people to take one home.

Josh Scarborough was there waiting for his girlfriend, not to practice yoga. He spent the whole class texting his roommates about the kitten named Sweet-ums that camped out in his lap.

"I'm trying to convince my roommates," he says.

Once Scarborough finds out the adoption fee is just $10, he decides to take Sweet-ums home, although he thinks he'll change her name to Catsy Cline.

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