Is Norfolk Island Pine Toxic to Cats?

Last Updated on November 28, 2021 by Julia Wilson

Is Norfolk Island pine toxic to cats?       About Norfolk Pine        Care         Safety

Is Norfolk Island pine toxic to cats?

Norfolk pine is non-toxic to cats and is safe to keep as a Christmas tree or an ornamental plant in the garden.

What is Norfolk Island pine?

  • Genus: Abies – Firs
  • Family: Araucariaceae
  • Order: Pinales – Pines and allies, Conifers, Coniferae, Pinophyta, Evergreens, Coniferophyta
  • Botanical name: Araucaria heterophylla
  • Plant type: Needled evergreen conifer
  • Common names: Norfolk pine, Norfolk Island pine, Australian pine, Star pine, Polynesian pine, Living Christmas tree, Triangle tree
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to cats
  • Toxic parts: None
  • Severity:
  • Toxic principle:

Norfolk pine is a conifer tree, and a relative to the monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), native to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Islands. Young Norfolk Island pine trees are a popular Christmas tree and indoor plant due to their lush foliage and ease of care. Adult trees can reach up to 30 metres (100 feet) tall.

The wild population of Norfolk Island pine is considered as threatened in IUCN Red List and is categorised as vulnerable unless the circumstances that threaten its survival improve.

Care

Norfolk Island pine is easy as long as their needs are met. They like to grow in well-drained soil in a sunny position. Water when the top 3 cm of soil has dried out and fertilise every 2-3 months during the active growing season.

Safety

While Norfolk Island pine is non-toxic, fertilisers and pest control can be potentially toxic to cats, therefore we recommend homes use cat-safe products to prevent accidental poisoning.

Ingestion of large volumes of needles can potentially lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction but this is unlikely as the needles act as a deterrent. 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 to prevent the tree from accidentally toppling over.

Avoid tinsel in homes with cats as ingestion can cause gastrointestinal obstruction or telescoping of the intestines. Place breakable ornaments high on the tree to prevent the cat from pulling them off and breaking them.

Unplug Christmas lights when there is no supervision to prevent accidental electrocution.

Toxicity of other Christmas plants

Common name

Scientific name

Norway sprucePicea abiesNon-toxic
Blue sprucePicea pungensNon-toxic
Serbian sprucePicea omorikaNon-toxic
White sprucePicea glaucaNon-toxic
Nordmann firAbies nordmannianaNon-toxic
Fraser firAbies fraseriNon-toxic
Douglas firPseudotsuga menziesiiNon-toxic
Noble firAbies proceraNon-toxic
Balsam firAbies balsameaNon-toxic
Grand firAbies grandisNon-toxic
Scotch pinePinus sylvestrisNo information available
White pinePinus strobusNo information available
Virginian pinePinus virginianaListed as toxic to dogs, no information on cats
Norfolk Island
pine
, house pine
Araucaria heterophyllaNon-toxic