Yoga class provides love to cats looking for home

Event aims to bring awareness to animals, teach people art form



Sheila Fitzgerald, an instructor at Sanctuary Yoga, enjoys a yoga session with their cat, Beans.

RYAN BLAKE, Evergreen reporter

Sanctuary Yoga in Pullman will host Cats to the Mat on Sunday. It will feature a mix of restorative yoga, a style focusing on relaxation, and yin yoga, which emphasizes deeper stretching.

Both styles incorporate basic movements and postures suitable for beginners. Class instructor Andrea Perkins said this is the fifth time they’ve held the class.

Perkins, who has been teaching yoga since 2014, first came up with the idea after seeing it on social media. She realized her love for yoga and love for animals made the class a perfect fit.

“The human animal bond is really incredible, it’s therapeutic for people,” Perkins said. “We have a lot of students in this community who left their animals at home or can’t have animals for whatever reason.”

Perkins said she hopes the event will get some newcomers in the door because of their love for animals. She wants people to realize the benefits yoga can have.

“We really try to be an inclusive space for everybody,” Perkins said. “The goal is to bring communities together and to create a space where everybody feels welcome and supported, and that they can do what’s being offered.”

The cats are provided by the Whitman County Humane Society, who Perkins said were very receptive to the idea on its inception. The cats are let out into the room, equipped with toys, water and food 30 minutes prior to the arrival of participants in an effort to make them feel comfortable.

During class the cats are free to play and most come out of their shell. “We’re not just socializing the animals but we’re kind of socializing ourselves, too,” Perkins said.

The cats from the class are available for adoption and past participants have gone home with a new pet after making a connection during the event.

The class goes from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $20 with all proceeds going to the Whitman County Humane Society. They will also be accepting donations of cat and dog items.

“We do the best we can to give students somewhere to go, something to do that is healthy and fun,” Perkins said. “I just want it to be one of those things that becomes a staple in our community, something students know they can look forward to every semester.”