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Feline fun: Cafe offers yoga, painting with cute, friendly, adoptable cats

Yoga and painting are relaxing activities, but add some cats to the mix and you have nirvana.

Catopia Cat Cafe is helping you reach that level of peace during their Sunday yoga classes and Paint with Cats events. The yoga classes begin at 10 a.m. every Sunday, and the next painting class will be on March 20.

Catopia has been open only about a month, and both classes have become quite popular, according to owner Sandy Dierks. So much so that reservations are necessary for the yoga classes. Reservations can be made by messaging the Catopia Facebook page at facebook.com/CatopiaCafe.

“They really enjoy it,” Dierks said. “The cats are really funny participating in the yoga and running through and chasing each other around and sitting on people. They’ve been really cute about it.”

The cats are calmer during “Painting With Cats” events.

“Luckily, by the time people actually were painting, they had kind of settled down,” Dierks said of the last paint night event. “But when we were trying to set things up, they kept stealing the brushes and running around. I don’t know why they were so interested in the brushes, but they thankfully did it before they had paint on them.”

There are plans to have a photography class and maybe bring in a henna tattoo artist to draw cat images on patrons.

“We’re going to plan a cat photography class where a guy who is really good at photography can teach people how to get the right lighting and get the right angle and how to try to get the cat to cooperate with the picture and get the best possible photo,” Dierks said. “Because taking a photo of a cat, it always seems it’s not as cute in real life. I think that might be a fun class.”

The idea is to get more people into Catopia. The business fosters cats from Albuquerque Animal Welfare as well as Desert Paws Animal Rescue. Catopia currently has 19 adoptable cats. The public can come in and interact with the cats for $5 an hour.

“The city of Albuquerque Animal Welfare and Desert Paws Rescue Group, they’ve just been wonderful at bringing really friendly cats that are able to get along with other cats,” Dierks said. “We’ve had 12 adoptions already. For a month, I feel it’s going really well, and they’ve just been really nice cats, and it’s been real nice because the people that have come in and want to adopt are just really friendly people. You feel good that they’re going to a good home.”

The adoption process is handled by the organization the cat is affiliated with. The city adoption fee is $20, and Desert Paws’ adoption fee is $50. All cats are spayed or neutered, have been vaccinated and have been tested for feline illnesses.

“Through Albuquerque Animal Welfare, it’s real easy as long as they’re down to do the background check; we can process it here,” Dierks said. “We have the packets with the adoption information, and we just get the information from the adopter and call for the background check, and as long as that clears we can send the cat with them that same day. … The Desert Paws, it’s a rescue group, so that takes a little bit longer. The rescue people, there’s just two of them, so that takes a little bit longer to fill out an online application and communicate with both of them, and they come in and pick up the cat from us and do the home visit and complete the adoption there.”

For people who are not interested in adopting but want to help the Catopia felines, donations of food, litter and other cat necessities are welcome.

“We’ve been really lucky to get some food donations and even simple things like plastic grocery bags to do the litter pans with, and people have brought beds, and people have brought litter, and that’s really helpful too, because we go through, especially dry food and canned food, we go through quite a bit.”

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