Cat yoga comes to Edmonton
New program at the Edmonton Humane Society combines Hatha practice with cats.
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People in Edmonton can now work on their downward dog and take a cat home when they're done.
Cats on your Mats is a new class at the Edmonton Humane Society that features about eight to 10 adoptable felines padding around the room while participants are guided through a beginner Hatha yoga routine.
Teacher Charlene Bergenstrom says the cats have taken well to yoga since the class started earlier this month. So far there’s been some hissing, a few scratched mats and an accident involving a meditation pillow—but no cat fights yet.
“It’s really neat to watch them interact with the people and to watch their personalities,” Bergenstrom says.
She adds that if you’re looking to adopt, it’s a great way to get to know your prospective pet.
“Some cats that are a little bit shyer will just stay in the corner the whole time, but others — 'Kardashian kitties,' is what I call them — just love to sit on your mat and pose for pictures after the class is done.”
Karen Meurer, a spokesperson for the Humane society, says the class was designed with both human and feline in mind: There’s the obvious benefit to an exercise class for participants, but the extra time to socialize is also good for the cats.
She says the class uses cats who are comfortable with people, and who live together in one of the shelter’s dedicated cat rooms so they’re familiar with each other.
Held every Saturday morning, the class is $20 to drop in, and participants need to register online in advance. All of the money raised goes back to the shelter.
Bergenstrom says she hopes to keep teaching as long as possible.
“It is a great way to build relationships between the people and the cats, and it does encourage adoptions. It’s just an all around good karma program.”
To date, no yoga students have adopted cats through the class yet.