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‘Yoga with cats’ gimmick boosts Brooklyn cat café

Cats may make a yoga mat unsanitary.
© Viewing NYC - YouTube

A Brooklyn so-called ‘cat café’ has started running yoga lessons, during which participants can stretch and relax while being attacked and distracted by homeless felines.

By G. John Cole, 18 Mar 2019

The events, named Stretch And Snuggle, take place once a week on Wednesday evenings at the Brooklyn Cat Café on Montague Street.

It's Hard to Say "Namaste" When You’re Sitting On My Face

The NYC venue claims to be the first ‘cat café’ in the United States and “the only cafe in the city run by a non-profit animal rescue organization”. The venue opened in 2016 and is run entirely on unpaid labour.

The centre works as a hotel for unwanted cats and a meeting point for foster owners, potential adopters, and cat enthusiasts in general. It is also an animal rescuer resource centre, and the organizers “began conducting Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) services in December 2016.”

But now, in an attempt to exploit cat-curious locals who tend to show up at rescue centres to look at the creatures without adopting, the Brooklyn Cat Café has begun hosting events such as yoga and meditation. Video footage shows that it’s near-impossible to get through a pose without being pawed, clawed, or pushed by one of the café’s cats.

The centre also has classic cat-themed movie nights, showing pictures such as The Lion King and The Black Cat.

“We’re hoping to start a book club, co-founder Anne Levin told Viewing NYC. “Every month or two months we’ll have a book and we’re going to have like an author come and… what could be more fun than reading with cats?”

The answer, of course, is nothing.

The spay-neuter position

The Brooklyn Cat Café takes its responsibility towards unwanted cats seriously. Unfortunately, while they may look cute, cats’ personalities rarely match their appearance – which is one reason why so many end up unwanted on the streets.

“This is how we kind of sneak a little bit of education in, in a fun way, is we generally have a mother that was rescued with nursing kittens [on site]… It’s an opportunity to talk about spay-neuter and over-population. 

Tellingly, one of the kitten litters currently housed at the venue is named after famous dictators. Whether they will grow up to be yoga instructors or great dictators, we will have to see.