Is Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Toxic to Cats?

Is Douglas fir toxic to cats?

Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is non-toxic to cats.

What is Douglas fir?

  • Botanical name: Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • Common names: Douglas fir, Oregon fir, Oregon pine, Oregon, Green Douglas fir, Blue Douglas fir, Columbian pine, Common Douglas, Coast Douglas-fir
  • Needle retention: Excellent
  • Scent: Woody
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to cats
  • Toxic parts: None
  • Severity:
  • Toxic principle:

Douglas fir is an evergreen conifer native to North America. The common name honours Scottish botanist David Douglas who first reported the potential of the species.

Douglas fir makes a beautiful Christmas tree, with dark green to blue-green thick, soft needles which are not prone to shedding, symmetry and citrus-like scent. The versatile timber is used in furnituremaking, ship building and house frames, the oil are used to make eau de vie, a colourless brandy, and the needles are a popular tea.

Despite the name, Douglas fir is not a true fir, meaning it is not a member of the genus Abies.

Safety

  • Fertilisers and pest control used on Douglas fir can be potentially toxic to cats.
  • Ingestion of large volumes of needles can potentially lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction but this is unlikely. If you do have a cat who is interested in eating the plant, consider moving it to another location the cat cannot access and bring in some cat-friendly plants such as catnip or cat grass.
  • Secure the Christmas tree to a wall by attaching a wire or fishing line to prevent the tree from accidentally toppling over.
  • Avoid the use of tinsel in homes with cats as ingestion can cause gastrointestinal obstruction or telescoping of the intestines, which are both life-threatening.
  • Place breakable ornaments high on the tree to prevent the cat from pulling them off and breaking them.

Toxicity of other Christmas trees

Common name

Scientific name

Toxicity level

Norway spruce Picea abies Non-toxic
Blue spruce Picea pungens Non-toxic
Serbian spruce Picea omorika Non-toxic
White spruce Picea glauca Non-toxic
Nordmann fir Abies nordmanniana Non-toxic
Fraser fir Abies fraseri Non-toxic
Douglas fir Pseudotsuga menziesii Non-toxic
Noble fir Abies procera Non-toxic
Balsam fir Abies balsamea Non-toxic
Grand fir Abies grandis Non-toxic
Scotch pine Pinus sylvestris No information available
White pine Pinus strobus No information available
Virginian pine Pinus virginiana Listed as toxic to dogs, no information on cats
Norfolk Island
pine
, house pine
Araucaria heterophylla Non-toxic

Feature image: Robert Thiemann/Unsplash