Meowmaste: Cat Yoga Is Real

Crazy cat people, unite.

Now that they're showing up in our yoga purrrractice, our furry feline friends have not only infiltrated the Internet, they've nearly taken over the world. Cat yoga is available at The Meow Parlor in New York City, a small cat cafe in SoHo. Originating in Asia, cat cafes have exploded around the globe over the past 15–20 years. And now in the U.S., it seems like cat lovers are riding the cattails of this successful trend, by weaving in the widespread popularity of yoga. Because if Doga is a thing, then why not cats, too?

New York Mag's The Cut has more:

Yes, cat yoga might seem absurd when you consider it’s something you could do at home, with your own cat and your YouTube yoga videos, for free. But you don’t go to cat yoga because your regular exercise class was overbooked. You go because it’s a unique experience, and will probably be a funny story to tell later on, and because when you mention you went your friends will say, “But do the cats, like ... do the yoga with you?” Or, in the case of one woman who attended, “You’re doing yoga with cats? That’s disgusting.” 

Each hour-and-a-half class consists of 30 minutes of cat bonding, 45 minutes of yoga, and 15 minutes of saying good-bye to your newfound feline friends. Of course, the thing about cats is they sleep for 12 to 16 hours a day, so there’s a really good chance that any time you visit a cat café they’re all going to be napping. That was the case here — but you can always sidle up to them and gently whisper that they’re sooo cute and I just wanna take you home and OMG look at your cute little paws as they try to sleep.

But that's not all––this past summer, Homeward Bound, an aptly named animal shelter in Illinois reminiscent of the Disney movie from the 90's, also offered cat yoga. Their aim was to offer yoga as an opportunity to bond with the animals there, prior to adoption. 

Huff Po has the full scoop: 

The idea for “Yoga for Cats” came from Jeanette Skaluba, a volunteer at Homeward Bound and longtime student of Connie Pease, who operates the studio. Skaluba has done yoga with her cat, Oreo, thought a joint class would be a great way to promote animal adoption.

“Cats rule the Internet,” Skaluba told Herald & Review. “But that trend hasn't increased adoptions.”

So, the duo found a new way to encourage shelter pet adoption. Earlier in June––which is Adopt-A-Cat month––six friendly cats from Homeward Bound were brought to the studio, encouraged by students to interact and join in on the activity. According to Herald & Review, instead of a fee for the class, Homeward Bound accepted donations and supplies. 

“By taking the cats to something like a yoga class, people have the opportunity see and interact with them outside the shelter,” Skaluba told The Dodo. “It gives these cats exposure and shows their personality.”

Does your neighborhood studio offer cat yoga? Do you practice at home with your cat? We'd love to know!

Photo by Ali Kaukas

Andrea rice headshot300px

Andrea Rice is a writer and yoga teacher. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, mindbodygreen, SONIMA, NY Yoga+Life, and other online publications. Her teaching style is a blend of her love for music and intuitive movement, with emphasis on core strength. You can find her regular classes at shambha...READ MORE