Eighteen elementary school-aged kids, a stack of pizzas, and more than 100 cats -- all together for four hours -- may sound like chaos to many, but it's just another day to Christin Meyer at Anderson Animal Shelter in South Elgin.
"We do this kind of thing every month," said Meyer, humane education director at the shelter.
Sunday's Santa Paws Workshop For Kids raised $850 for Anderson, and gave children the chance to learn about the resident animals and how they are cared for, as well as an opportunity to make new friends.
"I like helping all the animals," Cailey Johns, a 10-year-old from St. Charles, said as she dangled a felt cat toy she just made for one of the cats up for adoption. "I think it makes their day."
The children spent part of the time making toys for the cats by tying strips of felt together and spraying it with catnip. They then presented the toys to the caged cats. Some of the cats were brought out of their cage so the children could hold them.
"I love this place," said Payton Smith, 10, of St. Charles. "It's very fun."
The shelter also runs a monthly Kids & Kritters program, a two-hour interactive animal encounter for kids 9-12. The $10 registration fee allows participants the opportunity to experience hands-on activities with shelter animals and learn about topics like animal body language, pet overpopulation and what kind of personalities make a good pet match. For more information or to register a child or small group, call (847) 697-2880 ext. 51, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.