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It seems like a litter of sassy kittens is the last thing that would be welcome in a focused, relaxing yoga class. But Jennette Cable, numerous cat rescue organizations and dozens of students say otherwise.
Cable, who owns the Creative Care & Wellness Center, 634 E. Burleigh St. in Riverwest, offers a yoga class called "Whisker Wednesdays." During the class, up to 10 participants and 20 kittens participate (or, in the case of the kittens: "participate") in gentle flowing yoga.
Most of the kittens come from a collaboration with not-for-profit organizations Urban Cat Coalition and Citizens United For Animals. Cable has also included kittens from her own rescue, Creative Cat Care, and from other private rescuers.
All of the participating kittens are available for adoption and are usually from the same litter or foster home. Sarah Dosmann, an animal lover who also taught hula hooping, kombucha-making and children’s yoga classes at the center, facilitates the class.
"This program represents a marriage of two very important parts of self: animal compassion and its role in human wellness," says Cable.
Cable says kittens’ flexibility and ability to live in the moment provides an excellent example of the yoga lifestyle in practice. "Being around kittens creates a mood enhancement effect that truly adds to the practice. Kitten engagement helps the participant stay focused on the joy and process of the practice of yoga, thereby supporting a flexible spirit within."
Exposure to vibrational frequencies have been shown to increase bone density, and stimulate the healing of bone fractures, Cable says. Creative Care & Wellness Center also offers a "sound healing treatment room" and uses similar frequencies to reduce stress and enhance mood.
"This helped to spark the idea for adding the vibrational frequencies of kitty purrs into a yoga class," says Cable.
But are they ever a distraction to the yoga class attendees? Of course, they’re kittens!
"Kittens have been known to grab rumps, nibble toes and occasionally hog the mat, but everyone is stimulated and entertained by the interaction, which seems to actually enhance the experience," says Cable. "The kittens distract in a healthy way, by encouraging dialogue and community. This is not your average yoga class where only the teacher is talking."
For more information on kitten yoga, go here. (The classes aren’t offered every Wednesday, rather according to the availability of kitten litters.) Classes are $15 each and require advance online registration due to their popularity. A percentage of all proceeds is donated to the participating rescue organization providing the kittens for that session.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.