Welcome fellow curious kitties! Skye Blake here, with lots to share about something new… hemp cat litter! (No, you can’t smoke it!)
Follow the Trails Below…
- What is Hemp?
- History of Hemp in the U.S.
- The Legalization of Hemp
- Hemp Used For Cat Litter
- Using Hemp Litter for Mulch
- Hemp Litter Brands & Reviews
- More Litter Options
- Related Pages of Interest
- List of Sources
What is Hemp?
Hemp (a.k.a., industrial hemp) is a type of Cannabis sativa L that’s used for many things…
… Paper, clothing, CBD oil, biodegradable plastics, paint, rope, biofuel, food, animal feed, 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.
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 as cannabis that has no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This classification was established in the 2018 Farm Bill.
History of Hemp in the U.S.
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. By that time industrial hemp had become lumped in with its cousin, marijuana. Hemp was 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. 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.
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 In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Marihuana Tax Act in Leary v. United States, and repealed it the next year.1“Marihuana Tax Act of 1937”, Wikipedia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
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.
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. 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
Hemp Used For Cat Litter
Hemp stalks contain fiber that’s used to make a non-clumping crumble or pellet litter. The stalks are left over after the seeds and leaves are removed for other products.
Hemp cat litter is NOT clumping. It absorbs faster than pellets and 4-5 times more than clay. There are no chemicals or additives. 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.
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.
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
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
Below are listed some hemp litter brands sold in the U.S., along with their manufacturer claims. Other brands are available in Canada, Australia and other parts of the world. This list is for your convenience only… I make no money from it.
Happy Cat Hemp Kitty Litter (by Oley)
Happy Cat brand is made from 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.
Reviewers liked that it’s biodegradable and absorbs well. Some liked how lightweight it is. Others hated that because their cats stood on the side and flipped the box over, creating a mess and scaring the cats. They also liked the earthy aroma, natural not artificial. Happy Cat is soft so doesn’t scratch floors or hurt to walk on.
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.
One person was trying to get a refund and never heard back from the company. Another’s cat wouldn’t use it.
Everyone felt it’s too expensive for the small amount, although some felt it was still worth buying.
HempAlta Pets Premium Organic Hemp Cat Litter
Hempalta Pets Premium is made from made from 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.
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 litter is made into a 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 completely biodegradable and can be composted. It can only be ordered at their website (HempSenseUSA). I found no reviews of this litter.
More Litter Options
Follow these trails below if you’re curious about other litters…
Related Pages of Interest
Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary. Primary are always preferable and have the most reliable information because primary sources are 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. Thus, when I use secondary sources most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.
Please note that some of the sources listed below sell litter products or link to places that do. These are for your convenience only. I make no money from them.
List of Sources
“Best Cat Litter for Kittens”, by Mallory Crusta
“WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP AND MARIJUANA?”, weedmaps.com