A mall, a group of kids and a room full of cats

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Bobby Ellis
bobby.ellis@education.ky.gov

It’s all about making friends and keeping reading skills sharp.

As children enter the playroom at the Kyova Mall in Ashland, they’re greeted by several furry felines, some eager to play, others a bit more hesitant of the excited youngsters and their grabby hands. It’s all part of the mall’s Reading to Cats program, which started as a way to help cats from the Boyd County Animal Shelter find a loving owner and give kids a reason to sit down and read during the summer break.

“We’ve had a lot of really good feedback,” said Chrissy Dillow, the general manager of the mall.

The mall partners with the shelter and the Boyd County Public Library, which provides books for children to read to the cats.

“It helps sooth the cats,” said Dillow, “and it also gives the kids something educational to do while they’re here.”

Ava Johnson pets a cat as she sits down to read to it during the "Reading to Cats" program at the Kyova Mall in Ashland, Kentucky. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Ava Johnson pets a cat as she sits down to read to it during the Reading to Cats program at the Kyova Mall in Ashland.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Shelley White carries a cat over to a couch during the "Reading to Cats" program. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Shelley White carries a cat over to a couch during a Reading to Cats program.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Ava Johnson attempts to keep a cat away from Keydon Caudill as the two fight for the attention of different cats at the "Reading to Cats" event at the Kyova Mall in Ashland. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Ava Johnson attempts to keep a cat away from Keydon Caudill as the two fight for the attention of a particular feline during a Reading to Cats event in Ashland. The Kyova Mall partners with the Boyd County Animal Shelter and the Boyd County Public Library to help socialize stray cats and keep kids reading.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Ava Johnson snuggles up to a cat as she carries it to a couch to read to it. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Ava Johnson snuggles up to a cat as she carries it to a couch to read to it.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Addlyn Adkins, left, and her grandmother Juanita Adkins read to a cat at the Kyova Mall in Ashland. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Addlyn Adkins, left, and her grandmother Juanita Adkins read to a cat at the Kyova Mall in Ashland. The shelter uses the storefront at the mall to house a group of cats and lets children come in to read to the cats twice a week.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Keydon Caudill presses his face against the window of a tent in the cat play room at the Kyova Mall. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Keydon Caudill presses his face against the window of a tent in the cat playroom during a recent Reading to Cats event.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Addlyn Adkins, and other children play with cats during a "Reading to Cats" program at the Kyova Mall in Ashland. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Addlyn Adkins and other children play during a Reading to Cats event in Ashland. The Boyd County Public Library keeps a assortment of books aimed at young children at the animal shelter’s mall location to encourage kids to read to the pets.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Gage Sizemore attempts to lure a kitten into his arms as he plays with it during a "Reading to Cats" program at the Kyova Mall. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016
Gage Sizemore attempts to lure a kitten into his arms as he plays with it during a Reading to Cats event in Ashland.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 12, 2016

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