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

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As we wind down from what has been a cat-tentious — I mean contentious — very contentious political season — we have something to help you relax. Cat yoga. No, really. (We're not kitten.) It's a thing now, across the whole country.

This is the first time the Greater Birmingham Humane Society has ever offered cat yoga class, and the class filled up immediately — after clogging the website for a bit.

So on Sunday, a gorgeous fall day, people filed into the shelter at noon, laid out their mats, and set about meeting the kitties in the conference room. Yes, the room is filled with women. Thirteen of them, to be exact, not counting the instructor. And yes, someone is wearing cat leggings. Another has cat earrings and cat-ear barrettes and then there's somebody's boyfriend sitting over by the door. On his phone. (We'll get back to him later.)

The women have paid $10 each for yoga instructor Carla Jean Whitley to lead them through poses like downward-facing dog. Well, actually, she calls it "downward-facing cat," because, you know: cats.

Whitley, wearing a shirt that reads, "Sorry I can't. I have plans with my cat," has only two cats herself, because she lives in a 750-square foot house and has only room for one litter box.

Her cat yoga playlist includes songs like "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 everybody who came here today is here for more than just yoga — which is good, because cats make really terrible fellow yoga students.

They scamper on mats, drink from people's water bottles and to sit and bathe themselves underneath downward-facing cats. A gorgeous, slinky gray and white kitty named Ramon jumps up on Melissa Galdis while she bridges.

Somebody sneezes. Twice. It's a person sneezing, not a cat. Why would anyone who's allergic to cats come to cat yoga?

"Unfortunately, I have the allergies, but I still love the cats," says Ashley Black, whose nose has turned red and her face blotchy. Black came to cat yoga because it's a great place to hang out with cats for just a little bit.

But it comes with the temptation to take someone home. Someone small and furry. Speaking of furry, remember the guy in the corner whose girlfriend dragged him here? Well, Josh Scarborough didn't do any 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. He wants to take Sweet-ums home.

"The adoption fee is only $10 today," somebody offers.

"I have $10 so it's probably gonna happen," Josh adds.

The class "awwwws" in unison.

"Alright, it's happening," he says.

"They haven't told me not to," he says.

So, he decides to take Sweet-ums home, although he thinks he'll change her name to Catsy Cline.

And adopting cats, along with fundraising, was really the whole purpose of Cat Yoga.

It's pretty much purrfect.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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