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.
- 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
|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|
pine, house pine
Feature image: Robert Thiemann/Unsplash