Toxic plants

Is Adam-and-Eve Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Adam-and-Eve toxic for cats

The plant Adam-and-Eve is also known for its different names: the Cuckoo plant, Bobbins, Starch Root, Putty Root, Wake Robin, Lord-and-Ladies, and Arum. It is considered to be poisonous and even fatal to cats and other mammals due to substances found in this plant called raphides. Raphides are needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate with oxalic acid.

Once any part of the Adam-and-Eve plant is consumed by your cat, the cat’s saliva will break down the raphides and will start entering your cat’s mouth and penetrate up to the upper digestive tract.

What is an Adam-And-Eve Plant?

Starch Root and a cat hissing at it

The Adam-and-Eve plant, scientifically known as aplectrum hyemale, belongs to the Orchidaceae family. The Appalachian Mountains, the Great Lakes region and the Ohio and Mississippi valleys are all home to these orchids, which are native to the Eastern United States and Canada.

Adam-and-Eve plants are usually 12 inches long and with flowers around ½ an inch wide which has light to dark brown color. It has a small, white, three-lobed lip with magenta markings. Its dark green leaves are elliptical shaped with many white veins.

Clinical Signs of Adam-and-Eve Plant Poisoning in Cats

Starch Root and cats

Ingestion of any part of Adam-and-Eve plants usually displays signs of mouth irritation to your cat. This may show immediately after ingestion of the plant, sometimes up to two hours after intake. Severe symptoms may include shortness of breath, renal failure, convulsions, and even coma. Here are some of the other Adam-and-Eve poisoning symptoms to look out for in your cats:

  • Choking
  • Drooling
  • Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
  • Dyspnea or shortness of breath
  • Digestive upset or diarrhea
  • Renal failure
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death

First Aid and Treatment

Starch Root and a cat nearby

If you found that your feline has ingested Adam-and-Eve Plant, the first thing to do is to remove the remaining part of the plant from his or her mouth, if there are any. Seek help from a veterinarian if severe symptoms occur. It is vital to monitor the progress of symptoms as this may be fatal to your cat.

The veterinarian may use medication that will induce vomiting or give the cat an activated charcoal solution to bond with the harmful plant ingredient and then pass it through the body in feces. To help your cat get rid of toxins, the veterinarian will likely start him on IV fluids to replace the fluid loss in your cat’s body and to also aid in the removal of toxins.

Recovery of Adam-and-Eve Poisoning in Cats

Cats who survive Adam-and-Eve plant poisoning usually end up suffering from lifelong damage to the kidney and liver. Only immediate veterinary intervention can provide a positive outcome.


Familiarize yourself with the plants in your neighborhood. If Adam-and-Eve is known to grow around your area, make sure your cat stays indoors most of the time. Keep your cats in good health by always providing supplementary food and snacks.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

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