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It's No Stretch...Feline Yoga Is The Cat's Meow

And now for a feature so soft…it purrs.

Cats enjoy a good stretch. Yoga practitioners do too.  And if you’re a cat lover who enjoys yoga, then the Greenhill Humane Society has just the event for you. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

“…and we don’t have very many blankets, but if you need a little bit of extra padding…”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A special class in the Greenhill Humane Society's visitation area of its "cattery" puts yoga practitioners with felines.

In what’s normally the visitation area of the Society’s “cattery”, more than a dozen women in tights, sweats, and t-shirts follow along as instructor Valerie Morris walks them through a Sunday morning yoga session.

“And look at your hands, and make sure that you can actively feel all 14 knuckles pushing into the ground…” she instructs.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

It looks normal enough…until a scowling, flat-faced cat strolls by. Faster than you can say “na-MEOW-ste”, he decides to greet one student by gliding his fluffy tail across her face.

“Lead with your…tailbone…ooh, you’re so lucky!  Kitty come here!” says Morris, as the class breaks into laughter.

“Deep breath in, exhale, push your hips up, downward-facing…cat…”

“Muttons” is a white Persian who’s not shy when it comes to greeting the class.  He mingles among all the students, who can’t help but break form and pet him as he slinks by.  And he’s got company…

“Oh, there’s another one back there!” exclaims Morris, as a brown tabby named Mabel circles the group.  “Kitty! Go and play.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Mabel watches on as yoga buffs stretch and rise.

Morris says these felines have an appropriate sense of well-being that works for the cat yoga event.

“Yeah, they bring a couple of cats out that they know are going to be pretty mellow to wander around during the practice,” she tells KLCC. 

“And then afterwards they let the more playful kitties come out so that everybody can have some furry time.”

For café worker Meagan Tkach, this is her first cat yoga event. She’s enjoyed the chance to embrace the meditative aspects of yoga, while bonding with the animals.

WEB EXTRA: See Muttons in action (Mutton's inaction?) during the "Cat Yoga" event at Greenhill Humane Society:

“Actually I do want to adopt a cat. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, and it’s great to come here and be able to meet them in this type of environment.”

(BULL: Would you recommend this to anyone?)

“Definitely.  I plan on coming back their next session.”

Out of everyone here today, nurse Jennifer Lewis was Mutton’s favorite. He sat on her matt and rubbed up against her constantly.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Meagan Tkach cuddles with Blake, a shelter cat, after the "Cat Yoga" event at Greenhill Humane Society.

“Yeaaah, he made it a little bit distracting because you just wanted to love on him.”

(BULL: How do you feel now after your hour’s worth of yoga?)

“I feel good.  I feel ready to go on about the rest of my day. Might need to get more cat snuggles, first though.”

The next cat yoga event is in January. This collaboration between Eugene Yoga and the Greenhill Humane Society raises money to help shelter and care for animals…a purrfect arrangement.

Brian Bull, KLCC Mews...I mean, news!

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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