Downward dog with cats was a "silly idea" that quickly turned into something paw-some at the Good Mews cat shelter
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Credit: Good Mews Animal Foundation

Meowmaste — chances are good that you’ll hear the term at least once at the shelter cat yoga sessions offered by Good Mews, a cage-free cat shelter in Marietta, Georgia.

The shelter started the yoga classes in July as a way to attract new adopters to their facility, and classes are now filling up fast: The next class with spots still available is in January.

“Our mission is ‘finding good homes for good kitties,’ and the volunteer marketing committee, which I lead, does all we can to help carry out this mission by thinking of new ways to introduce our cats to potential adopters,” says Nancy Riley, who is marketing chair and on the Good Mews Animal Foundation board of directors. “We’ve had a kitten shower, a Meows & Meowmosas brunch, and we regularly bring school kids into the shelter to read aloud to the cats.”

Shelter Cat Yoga - 2
Credit: Good Mews Animal Foundation

Downward dog (gasp!) with cats started out as a “silly idea” that quickly turned into something pretty paw-some for both the humans and the cats involved.

“We have about 100 cats in the shelter, and at least half usually wander through a yoga class and choose a mat to call their own,” Riley tells PEOPLE. “It’s a great nap spot. They love the soft music, dim lighting and the fact that the people are down on their level. It really is fun to watch how much some of the cats get into it.”

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Credit: Good Mews Animal Foundation

Besides the obviously zen experienced by both species, the best part of the program is that the $20 class participation fee goes straight to the care of the cats and kittens (all classes are taught by a certified yoga instructor who is a shelter volunteer and donates her time to teach). While they haven’t tallied yet how many cats have found homes through the classes, Riley says they’ve had several yoga students bring friends and family members back adopt a forever friend.

“Our classes sell out very quickly,” adds Riley, “so it must be a hit.”

To sign up for a shelter cat yoga class, click here.