Is the Norfolk Pine Toxic to Cats?


Perhaps you wanted some nice greenery in your home, or maybe your Norfolk pine is a leftover "living Christmas tree." It's easy to see the appeal of this pretty plant, but it's bad news if Princess likes it too. For her sake, it's best to rehome that Norfolk pine for her sake.

Norfolk, or Australian Pine

  • The Norfolk pine, also known as the Australian pine, is suited for outdoor growing in mild climates. It thrives in a bright, cool environment that enjoys daytime temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees. Those growing conditions are ideal for most indoor situations, making the small, spiky tree a popular houseplant. It's a great choice for the gardener who wants to bring a little taste of the outdoors inside. It's not such a great choice for cat owners, however.

Norfolk Pine is No Friend of Princess

  • Though you may admire the Norfolk pine, it's possible that your kitty may admire it too -- to her own harm. Cats enjoy snacking on greenery, and if Princess decides this houseplant needs sampling, she could become sick. The ASPCA lists the Norfolk pine as toxic to cats. It's not clear what makes the plant incompatible with cats, but eating it can make them sick.

Safe Alternatives

  • The Norfolk pine may not be cat-friendly, but your house needn't go bare, with a variety of other house plants she can coexist with. The Christmas cactus is an interesting plant that produces colorful blooms if properly fertilized and watered. African violets will also add a nice mix of green and color to your home. If you're less concerned with color, the bamboo palm, spider plant and a variety of ferns will give you the opportunity to exercise your green thumb indoors without putting Princess at risk.

Keeping Kitty Away From Plants

  • Safe or not, it's frustrating when Princess snacks on your houseplants. You can take to help minimize her chewing on your plants. Keeping them out of her reach will help nip that behavior in the bud. Whether you hang your plants from the ceiling or place them on inaccessible furniture, the more difficult it is for her to access them, the less likely she is to eat them. Spraying a deterrent such as Bitter Apple will also help discourage her from snacking on your greens -- after all, no one wants to eat something that tastes bad. Offer her an alternative, such as cat grass, that will allow her to indulge her instinct to eat greens.

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