Hemp Cat Litter - Cat Info Detective

Hemp Cat Litter

Skye Blake looking left through magnifying glass

Welcome fellow curious kitties! Skye Blake here, with lots to share about something new… hemp cat litter! (No, you can’t smoke it!)

paw prints coming in from a distance

What is Hemp?

hemp leaf
Hemp Leaf

Hemp (a.k.a., industrial hemp) is a type of Cannabis sativa L that’s useful for many things.

Paper, clothing, CBD oil, biodegradable plastics, paint, rope, biofuel, food, animal feed, hemp cat litter, and building materials are just a few.

Manufacturers use all parts of the plant so there’s no waste.

Industrial hemp and the drug marijuana are both types of Cannabis sativa. They are distinctly different from each other in composition and uses.

hemp plant
Marijuana Plant

Both hemp and marijuana have tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical that gets people high, but hemp has only a tiny amount.

The low amount of THC means it’s not usable as a drug.

Industrial hemp is classified by the U.S. government in the 2018 Farm Bill as cannabis that has no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

History of Hemp in the U.S.

hemp leaves

Hemp has been cultivated as long as there have been societies on earth. You can find more about the long history of hemp at Wikipedia and Weedmap.

Hemp was a major crop in the United States until 1937, when the “Marihuana Tax Act” destroyed the American hemp industry.

It levied a tax on anyone who sold cannibas, including industrial hemp.

medicinal essential oils

By that time industrial hemp had become lumped in with its cousin, marijuana, and labeled a dangerous drug even though it’s not.

That perception of hemp and marijuana being the same has persisted through today.

During World War II, the U.S. military needed hemp for uniforms, canvas, and rope (but not cat litter).

The Navy needed to replace the jute and hemp they could no longer get from the Philippines and Indonesia, so Congress made an exception during that time.

hemp rope
Hemp Rope

After WWII, the industry disappeared again.

In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Marihuana Tax Act in Leary v. United States, and repealed it the next year.1“Marihuana Tax Act of 1937”, Wikipedia

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana and all its cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled substances, the most restrictive classification.

This meant industrial hemp was illegal to grow or use.

The Legalization of Hemp

hemp bill = U.S. Congress
U.S. Capital Building

Section 7606 of the 2014 Agricultural Act (2014 Farm Bill-Obama) allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to grow industrial hemp.

The bill required them to register with their state, abide by state laws, and only use the hemp for research.

tractor-farming

As part of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill-Trump) the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 reclassified hemp (with less than 0.3% THC) from “Schedule I controlled substance” to “agricultural commodity”.

“Under the Hemp Farming Act, hemp cultivation is no longer limited to state departments and universities.

cat jumping down onto grass-front view

In addition, the act allows farmers rights to water, crop insurance, and federal agricultural grants, as well as legal access to national banking. Hemp may also be transported across state lines.”2“Is Hemp Cultivation Legal in the U.S.?”, Weedmaps

You can find out more fascinating facts about hemp at Wikipedia and Weedmap.

Hemp Used For Cat Litter

hemp seeds
Seeds

Hemp stalks are what’s left after the seeds and leaves are removed for other products.

They contain fiber that makes a non-clumping soft crumble or pellet litter with no chemicals or additives.

tabby cat standing in litter box

The manufacturers claim there’s little dust and odor (absorbs ammonia to keep odor down).

Reviewers in general (there are few at the moment) tend to prefer clumping and say the hemp litter absorbs well but doesn’t control odors.

This is a bit hard to interpret because you can’t expect non-clumping litter to clump.

tabby in a sitting pose

Controlling odor has a lot to do with how often and well a person cleans the box. There’s also the factor of each cat’s pee and poop.

What they eat, medical conditions, volume of pee, etc., all affect odor. So it’s hard to tell how much of the problem is the litter and how much is from other factors.

kitten pooping in litter box

This might be a good litter for young kittens since it’s non-clumping.

Kittens tend to eat everything and clumping litter swells up when wet so can easily cause an intestinal blockage and/or dehydration.

Both are life-threatening emergency conditions!

Using Hemp Litter for Mulch

mulch with crocus coming up

This litter is biodegradable and compostable, which makes great mulch for flower beds.

Never use soiled litter directly on vegetable, herb or other edible plant beds.

Cat waste can transmit diseases, but if you process the litter properly into compost, removing possible pathogens, it can be used safely.

If you’re not sure, just put it on flower beds.

Hemp Litter Brands & Reviews

white cat looking out car window

Below are some hemp litter brands sold in the U.S., along with their manufacturer claims.

Remember that all hemp litter is non-clumping, so don’t expect clumps to form.

I make a small commission on some of the links below… and I get to share profits with qualified cat rescues!

Check descriptions and reviews carefully for any products you wish to buy… quality, sizes, colors, etc., can’t be guaranteed by anyone but the manufacturer.

Happy Cat Hemp Kitty Litter (by Oley)

Hemp plants

Happy Cat – 100% hemp grown in the USA

It’s 7 times more absorbent than the leading clay litter, non-toxic, lightweight, and has no fragrance.

4 lbs. of hemp litter = 20+ lbs. clay litter.

cat reaching for toy

Reviewers liked that it’s biodegradable, lightweight, and absorbs well.

Others hated that because their cats stood on the side and flipped the box over, creating a mess and scaring the cats.

One person’s cat wouldn’t use it.

They also liked the earthy aroma, natural not artificial. Happy Cat is soft so doesn’t scratch floors or hurt to walk on.

ginger tabby lying on floor on his back

There was disagreement about tracking… some said there was no tracking, others had some, a couple felt it tracked too much.

Two people said their cat seemed calmer using the box and in general, implying this could be due to the litter.

Since CBD oil is made from hemp, it’s possible the litter has a calming effect. I currently have no scientific evidence proving this.

Those who didn’t like this litter said it didn’t control odor or absorb well, was hard to scoop, and the dark color made it hard to find poop to remove it.

HempAlta™ Pets Premium Organic Hemp Cat Litter

tabby/white cat

Hempalta Pets Premium – solid, whole granules from the core of the hemp plant

The organic ingredients are flushable and biodegradable. It’s non-clumping and contains no fillers or clay.

Hempalta is up to 5 times more absorbent, easier to clean, more than 7X lighter than traditional litter.

One 2-lb. bag has equal volume to 21 lbs. of traditional cat litter.

cat litter pellets

This litter has a natural deodorizer that eliminates odor. It’s unscented and low-dust, with no chemicals, added dyes or perfumes.

Reviewers who liked Hempalta litter said it controlled odor well, was lightweight and easy to use.

Those who didn’t like it said it didn’t control odor, was dusty, hard to clean and too expensive.

A few said it was so lightweight their cats flipped the box jumping in or out.

HempSense USA

hemp plant

Hempsense USA – lightweight crumble from hemp stalks

It’s non-clumping and has no chemicals or additives.

It absorbs 4-5 times more than clay and faster than pellets. It’s low-dust, low-odor and absorbs ammonia.

Hempsense USA litter is biodegradable and can be composted.

Their website (HempSenseUSA) is the only place you can order it.

I found no reviews of this litter.

OH! Hemp Kitty Litter (OleyHemp)

Siamese cat and kitten

OleyHemp OH! litter is made in the USA, claiming to be both 7 times more absorbent than clay and great at odor control.

Reviewers agreed it controls odor well, is light and easy on paws.

The one main drawback is the price for only a small amount.

cannabis, hemp plants drying

Even though it’s more absorbent than clay and doesn’t require as much, OleyHemp OH! is still pricier than other products.

Some felt the price is worth the benefits, others liked it but didn’t like the cost.

One reviewer said it’s fine for a small litter box but not the mega-size boxes they use.

Terrafibre™ Hemp Kitty Litter

hemp fiber in field

Terrafibre™ is a Canadian company that gets hemp stalks from local Canadian farmers.

This litter is made from hemp hurd, a by-product of the hemp farming industry.

Hurd is “the coarse parts of flax or hemp that adhere to the fiber after it is separated”3 Merriam Webster Dictionary

fat calico cat sitting

This fiber is in the stalks that are left after the seeds are harvested, which is now used for litter instead of being burned in the field.

Hurd provides a soft, dry and highly absorbent material for cats with limited dust, no chemicals, and is easy to clean.

It’s up to 4 times lighter than clay litter and controls odors well.

tabby cat squatting in litter box

For sensitive noses, Terrafibre™ hemp litter is free of chemicals, dust, phenols and fillers.

Reviews for this product are mixed. Some people liked that it’s cheaper than other hemp product, reduced odors well, and didn’t stick to the box.

Others didn’t like the texture and felt it didn’t deal with odors as well as they’d like.

One reviewer said he was surprised by the cheap quality of this litter when compared to more expensive hemp litters. He felt the others were much better quality.

All hemp is biodegradable and can be put on flower gardens when used.

Discover more about biodegradable litters at “Biodegradable Cat Litter“.

More Litter Options

Follow these trails below if you’re curious about other litters…

Bamboo Biodegradable
ClayCoconut
CoffeeCorn
GrassPaper
Pine/WoodSilica
TofuWalnut
WheatYuca (Cassava)

Related Pages of Interest

Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box?The Cat Box…Location, Location, Location
Deciphering Cat Pee PatternsCleaning Cat Urine
The Territorial CatWhat’s the Best Cat Litter Box?
Symptoms of Illness in Your CatWhat Are the Best Types of Cat Litter?
Why Is My Cat Pooping Outside the Box?

Sources

Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary.

Primary sources are always preferable and have the most reliable information because they’re original and directly referenced.

Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.

Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own.

However, sometimes they refer to primary sources.

When I use secondary sources, most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.

List of Sources

Please note that some of the sources listed below sell litter products or link to places that do.

Product Information and User Review Sources: Amazon.com, HempSenseUSA

“Best Cat Litter for Kittens”, by Mallory Crusta

Hemp”, Wikipedia

Hempalta

HempSenseUSA

“WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP AND MARIJUANA?”, weedmaps.com

Updated June 8, 2022

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