It’s International Yoga Day—and situated in the center of the one-year-old Miami Dade Animal Services facility is a room surrounded by glass walls. Visitors of the shelter are curiously peering in the transparent dome at the cat-tivity and furry fun happening inside.
Upon entering the dome, you can hear a various assortment of “mews” echoing from every corner, and you spot a group of yogis intently focused on purr-fecting their “downward cat.” After closer inspection, you’ll quickly notice tiny, fluffy kittens emerging from a nearby cat tunnel, or slipping out of their cat beds to join the humans for a nice, long stretch.
The stretching going on at the shelter was a part of the cat yoga event hosted on Wednesday, June 21st by the Miami Dade Animal Services facility in partnership with local Green Monkey Yoga. Officially and proudly pouncing on the cat yoga “mew-vement,” the shelter held this special class to create awareness for their program, and to ultimately increase kitten adoptions from the shelter.
“[Cat yoga] has been trending around the U.S., and we thought it was a great opportunity since we now have this amazing new shelter,” says Gabriele Sheldon, a publicist from Glo Creative who works directly with the shelter. The new Miami Dade Animal Services facility just celebrated its one year anniversary at their new location. “We are trying to get the word out that we’re here, and create more awareness so we can get a crowd here and get [more] animals adopted.”
The timing of the cat yoga class was the best pawsible, as the event was hosted on International Yoga Day, which coincidentally falls in Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month. “I realized it was International Yoga Day during the same time as … [the] peak of kitten season, so it all just went hand and hand together.” June is in the middle of breeding season for cats, so shelters tend to see an influx of kittens around this time. The Miami Dade Animal facility sees anywhere from 28,000-30,000 animals come into their facility a year, so increasing adoptions is of utmost importance.
The cat yoga event had reached full capacity, and Sheldon was pleased with the turnout. “The event was super successful,” she says. Since the classes were so well-received by the local community, the shelter is considering consistently hosting pet adoption events at least every other month moving forward.
Attendee and self-proclaimed cat lover Gabriella Espinoza says that she will absolutely be attending the next cat yoga event at Miami Dade Animal Services. Having tried yoga only once before, Espinoza had no trouble following the flow of the class, mentioning that the handful of free-roaming, kittens for adoption surrounding her throughout the hour was a big help. “I liked the class; it was really good,” she says. “But the cat part was the best.” During the class, it wasn’t unusual for the guests to stop in the middle of the pose to kneel down and cuddle with a curious kitten who had joined them on the mat.
If you are curious about the cats, or want to take part in the cat yoga fun, take a look at the Miami Dade Animal Services upcoming pet adoption events at miamidade.gov/animals, or look for similar events in your city. Each class is $20, and all the proceeds go directly to the shelter to help other cats.