Theo, Long Beach Peninsula resident Jan Bono's cat.

Theo, Long Beach Peninsula resident Jan Bono’s cat.

The holiday season is upon us once again, so I’d like to offer some suggestions to pet owners whose animals might be overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the season’s preparations.

There are a few things you can do to safeguard your cat or dog once you have begun decorating your house. Let’s start with the Christmas tree.

There is an almost endless array of baubles on any given tree to tempt curious felines and canines. You might consider a smaller tree that could be placed on a coffee table or end table or some other sort of stand. Doing so would move the danglies on the lower branches a bit farther from your pet’s paws.

People often put additives in the water of the tree’s stand, hoping to keep the tree fresher longer. “I don’t put anything in the water because Theo tries to drink out of it,” Long Beach Peninsula resident Jan Bono said.

A lot of extra paper is around the house during holiday time, and cats especially love to play with paper that’s crumpled into a ball. But pretty paper can be harmful to cats, particularly the foil variety. A piece of this, chewed off in a game of paper-ball, could become lodged in the cat’s throat. Help keep cats safe by giving them empty gift boxes, catnip mice or ping-pong balls to play with.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on any electrical cords used in holiday decorating. A cord that has been chewed on by a pet can be hazardous not only to the pet, but to the people and the house.

Finally, if you choose to give pets as gifts, it’s best to give the person a picture of the kitten or puppy instead of the actual gift-wrapped animal on Christmas morning. Explain that you’ll bring the real thing when the excitement has calmed down. The adjustment will be much easier for animals and humans alike.

And for those who do not have pets, consider donating some food for homeless cats and dogs.

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