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Kitty Yoga
By Amanda A. Taylor photos by J. Fernando Gonzalez
published January 2017

PAWS Center Unleashes Cat Yoga Classes To Promote Adoption & Spread Wellness

Cat and health enthusiasts met for Kitty Yoga at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20, at The Laurie P. Andrews PAWS Center.

What exactly is kitty yoga? The idea was to allow some of the adoptable felines at the PAWS Center to interact with yoga participants for a unique experience. Not only could the cats get a little extra socialization, but yoga participants could mingle with the adoptable pets prompting awareness on the benefits of adopting a shelter pet.

Led by local yoga instructor, Bianca Scalise, the group participated in a two-hour long session while the cats roamed the room freely, adding a playful element to the session. "It was so fun! It was way more fun that I thought it would be," Scalise said about the session. "I didn't really know what to expect because cats are a bit unpredictable sometimes, but all the cats were really well behaved. It was a great social setting and fun, and the cats definitely added liveliness to the class."

It's been proven through various studies that owning a pet, especially, in this case, a cat, has its health benefits. Any cat owner could more than likely say that the companionship of a cat helps with emotional well-being such as diminishing stress, anxiety and even loneliness. A recent study from the "Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology" has stated that from a medical aspect, owning a cat can even lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This includes lowering the risk of having a heart attack.

Pairing the company of cats with yoga led to a fun experience that added a little extra level of comfort. "The cats kind of crept up on you when you didn't expect it," Scalise said "It was heartwarming and really cute to have them there. I do cat yoga all the time with my cats at the house, so I'd definitely recommend this to my clients in the future."

Events like Kitty Yoga are made possible by the staff at Palm Valley Animal Center and The Laurie P. Andrews PAWS Center. While both facilities work in conjunction to help the homeless animals throughout Hidalgo county, the PAWS Center promotes animal welfare education through public events.

"With the opening of PAWS, we have the opportunity to invite our community to participate in unique animal-related events and activities otherwise not possible without our new facility," Rebeca I. Villanueva, Director of Development said. "Kitty Yoga and similar events encourage animal lovers to find their 'purr-fect' match and meet other like-minded individuals, all while having fun and raising awareness on animal welfare issues. We hope to make PAWS a community space that offers a variety of events and activities that exposes our community to a new way of thinking about the role pets play in our lives."

All pet adoption fees at The Laurie P. Andrews PAWS Center includes the first series of shots, spay/neuter operation, microchip and a month of pet accident insurance. You can also see a list of all our adoptable animals 24 hours a day at pvaconline.com.

To learn more about the adoption program at the PAWS Center, call (956) 720-4563. To learn more about the next Kitty Yoga session, keep an eye on The Laurie P. Andrews PAWS Center Facebook page or call the center for more information.