Jenine Lehfeldt, the owner of Sweet Serenity Yoga and Wellness, is a self-proclaimed lifelong cat enthusiast and all-around animal lover. It was only natural for her to dream up a way to help kitties in need through her yoga practice. Partnering with the Delta Community Animal Shelter (DCAS), Jenine began hosting cat yoga, a one-hour yoga session designed to lower anxiety in yogis, help shelter cats get adopted, and raise money for the shelter. All proceeds from every cat yoga session go directly to the DCAS’s Tollie Fund, a project dedicated to improving the lives of animals by providing medical treatments to pets who have lower chances of becoming adopted due to the expenses associated with their care. But Jenine says it’s not just about raising money, but also about “increasing awareness about the incredible work DCAS does.”
Jenine says cats and yoga are a natural pairing. “Yoga and cats are both great for mental health—especially anxiety—so we put the two together. Kitties help lower stress by fulfilling our need for touch and providing comfort.”
It’s great for the cats too, and “can especially help socialize kittens,” Jenine notes. And the cats love it. “As top-notch stretchers themselves and intuitive soothers, cats are naturals at adopting the physical and emotional aspects of yoga,” she says. “We’ve found them more than happy to join yogis on the mat.”
Sweet Serenity Yoga and Wellness recently held their fifth fundraiser and has raised $2500 through cat yoga for the DCAS thus far. They hope to continue their relationship with the shelter with many more cat yoga sessions to come.
“The kittens (and bunnies!) from the first four events have all been happily adopted,” Jenine proudly shares. And there are several adoption applications pending for the cats involved in the latest session. If you are unable to attend a class—they usually offer a cat yoga session every one-to-two months—donations at the studio or the shelter are appreciated, and not just in the form of cash. They also accept toys, scratching posts, blankets, and canned food.