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Photo of 3 bags of Smalls cat food freeze-dried raw

My Review of Smalls Cat Food (Plus, How to Try It for 25% Off, Risk Free!)

Photo of Dave Baker, publisher of Petful, with Smalls cat food illustrations

 

Hi. I’m Dave Baker, publisher of Petful.

I’ve been tracking cat food recalls (and dog food recalls) for more than 10 years, so pet food safety is my #1 concern.

Today, I want to introduce you to Smalls cat food. I’m a big fan of this premium cat food — and not just because Smalls got its start right here in Brooklyn, New York, where I live and work.

The biggest reason I love it is that it’s an easy way to give your cat wholesome food that’s just about as close to homemade as you can get without lifting a single pot or pan. These meat-based meals are delivered right to your door on a schedule that works for you.

Smalls is a newer company, but they’ve quickly become a popular option thanks to their high-quality ingredients and convenient subscription model of shipping. If you’ve been researching your cat food options, read through this Smalls cat food review to hear my thoughts on this brand.

DON’T MISS THIS OFFER!
Save 25% at checkout on a sample box of Smalls through this exclusive link. No promo code required.

 

For dogs, be sure to see my review of The Farmer’s Dog.

Photo of 3 bags of Smalls cat food freeze-dried raw
The ingredients in Smalls cat food all come from the United States and Canada, and the food meets or exceeds AAFCO nutrient standards.

Smalls Cat Food Review: Overview of the Brand

Smalls was created by longtime friends and cat lovers Matt Michaelson and Calvin Bohn. They wanted to create a fresh, simple cat food that was healthier than the average product on the market.

Although there are some standards in place to regulate cat food, many brands use questionable ingredients that aren’t great for our pets. When Matt and Calvin created the Smalls brand, their goal was to create a premium cat food that was held to the standards of human food.

No corners were cut. There are no fillers or grains, no preservatives or artificial flavors, and they’ve splurged on the highest-quality, responsibly sourced meats.

The result? Cat food that smells, looks and tastes like REAL food. Well, that’s because it is real food.

The Smalls team includes nutritionists and animal behaviorists. Food is an integral part of your cat’s health, so Smalls takes their expert input seriously. The ingredients all come from the United States and Canada, and the food meets or exceeds AAFCO nutrient standards.

Smalls is made in a human food processing plant that is inspected by the USDA. There have never been any Smalls cat food recalls — none. I appreciate the lengths that Smalls has gone to in order to maintain their quality. They aren’t required to hold themselves to these high standards, but it certainly puts my mind at ease.

This is a screenshot from the Smalls cat food website
This is another screenshot from the Smalls cat food website

How Does the Smalls Cat Food Ordering Process Work?

Getting started with your first order of Smalls is easy.

I answered some questions about my cat’s weight and dietary needs as well as my budget. If you have multiple cats, you can list them all when you sign up. Then, based on my answers, they suggested their top 3 plans for me.

Smalls has a few different cat food plans with varying ratios of wet to dry food. You choose the option that works best for you and your cats, and Smalls will send you a sample box for 25% off the usual price. This lets you see how your cats respond to the food before committing to a larger purchase.

Oh, and if your cats won’t eat the food, you can get your money back. I love that!

The brand uses a subscription-based business model, so they’ll regularly ship your order to your door. You can have the food shipped anywhere between once per week and once every 6 weeks. You can make adjustments to your shipment at any time if needed — including pausing or canceling your subscription whenever you want.

I find that regular shipments are a lifesaver. I don’t have to remind myself to pick up cat food at the supermarket or run to the grocery store at the last minute because I forgot to stock up. Once you set the shipping schedule, you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

The food comes in a box that’s chilled with dry ice, so it’s OK if your order is sitting on your doorstep for a while before you get home. Smalls uses eco-friendly packaging with biodegradable insulation, which minimizes the environmental impact of the shipment.

Smalls has really good customer service, and it’s easy to reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns.

When you make your first purchase, they’ll connect you with a “cat concierge” who will confirm your shipment and answer any questions you have via text message. I love that the concierge isn’t just there to answer shipping or pricing questions, but they also can address any concerns I have about the cat food itself.

A couple of reviewers online have mentioned experiencing shipping delays, but the problems were resolved immediately when they reached out to customer service.

I myself haven’t had any problems with deliveries. I would double-check your shipping confirmation and expected delivery date to make sure everything goes according to plan.

Photo of Smalls cat food chicken recipe
Fresh human-grade meat with a tiny bit of green vegetables, gently cooked to lock in nutrients and moisture.

So Many Flavors to Tempt Your Cat

Smalls offers fresh (wet) food, freeze-dried raw food, and kibble. The company cooks the food the same day it buys the ingredients, so all products are as fresh as possible.

Smalls uses human-grade food, so the cat food smells very similar to human meals. I like that it doesn’t stink up the kitchen with the typical cat food smell.

Here are some of the possible benefits for your cat that Smalls suggests its food can provide:

  • Softer fur
  • Healthier skin
  • Fresher breath
  • Less litter box odor
  • Stronger muscles
  • Higher energy levels

I wouldn’t expect to see these results right away, though. It usually takes at least a month to start noticing the results of a new cat food. You may need to feed your cat Smalls for 3 months or longer before you see the full difference.

“We’ve gotten some really amazing feedback, in terms of almost immediate impacts from eating the food,” Smalls co-founder Calvin Bohn told me in October 2017 when he and Matt Michaelson gave me a personal tour of the sparkling Smalls kitchen here in Brooklyn. (Today, Smalls is made in a human-grade, USDA-certified facility in Chicago.)

“The very best story,” Calvin told me, “is a cat who had lip ulcers and had been taking medication for months. Then within 2 weeks of eating our food, the lip ulcers had all cleared up, and the cat was able to stop taking the medication.”

“We’ve had cats that stopped taking naps during the day and instead were energetic all the way through,” he said.

“Cats sleeping through the night better!” added Matt, the other Smalls co-founder. “If you think about it, if you eat more nutritious food, you’re full for longer. People say, ‘My cat’s finally sleeping through the night.’”

“Yeah, they tell us, ‘I don’t get woken up by my kitty sitting, looking over, begging me for food at 5 in the morning,’" Calvin said.

Photo of hand holding up a bag of Smalls cat food treats
The packaging is so smartly designed.

Transitioning to Smalls

Transitioning to a new brand of food is difficult for some cats, so Smalls also offers bonito flakes — an irresistible treat that most cats can’t get enough of. I tried sprinkling some of these magic flakes into my cat’s food to help with the transition.

I noticed that Smalls cat food isn’t quite as customizable as they make it sound. The questionnaire is a great way to figure out which of their preexisting plans will work best for your cat, but Smalls doesn’t formulate their food or adjust their portions based on your specific cat’s dietary needs.

That doesn’t mean their food won’t be a good fit for your cat, but you should still do your own research into your cat’s needs and the ingredients in the different types of Smalls food. That will help you ensure you choose the best plan for your cat.

The food comes in 16-ounce containers, which means you portion it out yourself. The wet food packages are marked with 50-calorie increments to help you measure the right portion sizes for your cat.

[VIDEO] What’s in the Box … My Smalls Cat Food Review

Here is my quick video showing what’s in the box.

Smalls cat food reviews

What Kind of Cat Food Is Smalls?

Talk about variety! Now let’s explore the 4 main types of cat food and treats offered by Smalls.

1. Fresh Kills (Wet Food)

Fresh human-grade meat with a tiny bit of green vegetables, gently cooked to lock in nutrients and moisture. Super-high in moisture with zero starches.

Recipes include:

  • Chicken Mince*
  • Chicken Pate*
  • Turkey Mince
  • Turkey Pate
  • Beef Mince
  • Beef Pate

*Asterisk = my personal favorites

The above fresh food options all use a mixture of muscle meat and organs for protein. The food also includes oil, vitamins and minerals, as well as some low-glycemic vegetables like peas and sweet potatoes.

Smalls’ wet food is high in protein and very low in carbohydrates, which is a good balance for cats. It also has lots of moisture, which is critical for your cat’s health.

Smalls cat food reviews: Fresh Kills Chicken Mince

Featured Recipe

Let’s take a closer look at one of the fresh food recipes:

  • Type: Fresh Kills
  • Recipe: Chicken Mince
  • Description provided by Smalls: “Get back to nature with this human-grade, high-protein, high-moisture fresh recipe, formulated to be the healthiest food your cat can eat. Real, fresh chicken meat and a small bit of green veg means more energy, a softer coat and a less fragrant litter box.”

2. Dry Food

Most cats adore kibble, and the Smalls brand of dry food is no exception.

Recipes include:

  • Chicken Kibble
  • Turkey Kibble
  • Fish Kibble*

*Asterisk = my personal favorites

Kibble isn’t the best food for your cat in general because it doesn’t provide any moisture. Most cats don’t drink enough water, so feeding them exclusively dry food can cause dehydration. It’s better to find a balance of wet and dry food or feed them mostly wet food with kibble as an occasional treat.

That being said, the Smalls kibble is definitely of a higher quality than most store brands.

Meat is the first ingredient followed by a few vegetable ingredients for optimal nutrition. The food is well-balanced, high-protein and fairly low-carb with around 20% of the calories coming from carbohydrates.

Smalls cat food reviews: Fish Kibble dry food

Featured Recipe

Let’s take a closer look at one of the dry food recipes:

  • Type: Kibble
  • Recipe: Fish Kibble
  • Description provided by Smalls: “All the convenience of a standard kibble, without the nutritional sacrifice. We’ve used whitefish as the main ingredient, with an optimal balance of vital nutrients to ensure a crunch that fish-loving cats adore.”

3. Freeze-Dried Raw Food

Smalls’ freeze-dried raw food is frozen at its peak freshness, which helps it retain its nutritional benefits. It comes in pellet form and can be eaten dry.

Recipes include:

  • Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken*
  • Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey*
  • Freeze-Dried Raw Duck*

*Asterisk = my personal favorites

The recipes above are fantastic nutritionally. There are no synthetic supplements, and crude protein is the most plentiful ingredient. It uses oil derived from animals, which is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

However, freeze-dried food is hit-or-miss when it comes to cats’ preferences. Some cats will devour it, and some have a complete distaste for it.

Therefore, I’d recommend buying a small amount of the Smalls freeze-dried cat food at first to see whether or not your cat will like it. If they’re not a fan, don’t waste your money on any more.

Smalls cat food reviews: Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey (bird)

Featured Recipe

Let’s take a closer look at one of the freeze-dried recipes:

  • Type: Freeze-Dried Raw
  • Recipe: Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey
  • Description provided by Smalls: This recipe “retains the nutritional benefits of a raw, high-protein diet, but with the added crunch sometimes preferred by cats and the convenience needed by busy cat parents.”

4. Treats

I love, love, love that Smalls offers single-source cat treats. No byproducts, no grains or fillers, no added antibiotics. I can’t wait to see how their line of treats continues to expand over time, but right now there’s just one recipe:

Recipes include:

  • Chicken Giblets Freeze-Dried Treats*

*Asterisk = my personal favorites

Smalls cat food reviews: Chicken Giblets cat treats

Featured Recipe

Let’s take a closer look at these treats:

  • Type: Treats
  • Recipe: Chicken Giblets
  • Description provided by Smalls: “Whole, freeze-dried chunks of chicken heart and liver. Tasty morsels of single-source chicken heart and liver have been freeze-dried for a satisfying crunch. It’s the ultimate little extra for kitties who prefer a high-value treat. Try it out in training or as a special reward for playtime with a hunting toy.”

There are just 2 ingredients in every tasty bag of these treats: chicken liver and chicken heart. That’s it.

Even if you aren’t ready yet to switch to feeding Smalls cat food, do yourself a favor and buy a bag of the Chicken Giblets Freeze-Dried Treats now. The price of these treats is just $10 per bag. (Your cat thanks you in advance.)

Smalls Cat Food Pricing Information

Smalls cat food pricing varies depending on which plan you choose.

  • Most meal plans cost about $3 to $4 per day per cat, but Smalls offers more budget-friendly options, too.
  • The least expensive plan, Essential Kibble, costs around $1 per day (a great price, considering the high quality of the kibble)

You could lower the cost even further by feeding your cat a combination of Smalls and a less expensive brand to find a compromise between your cat’s needs and your wallet. Give this a try and see how your cat responds.

OK, so yes, Smalls is definitely on the more expensive side for cat food, but it’s by no means the most expensive food on the market.

I’ve learned over the years that you get what you pay for in terms of quality. The cat food that’s a fraction of the price also seems to offer a fraction of the nutritional value. For me, Smalls’ mid-range plans are the best balance between cost and quality.

Photo showing a look inside the bag of chicken giblet cat treats.
A look inside the bag of chicken giblet cat treats.

Pros and Cons of Smalls Cat Food

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a cat food brand. To summarize my Smalls cat food review, here are my most important pros and cons:

Pros:

  • High-quality ingredients and nutrition
  • High standards for quality control
  • Discounted sample pack for new customers (25% discount appears at checkout)
  • Wide variety of food types and flavors
  • Convenient shipping schedule
  • Great customer service

Cons:

  • Comes in large container and needs to be portioned out
  • Can be pricey depending on the plan you choose (but as stated above, there are a few ways around this)

Before I end this Smalls cat food review, I want to reiterate one of the pros above, “great customer service.” I don’t just mean they respond to emails or text messages — I mean the team at Smalls goes above and beyond. They truly care about their customers’ pets.

Back in 2017, during my tour of the Smalls kitchen, Calvin told me: “I think our big philosophy around this is that we want to be as open and transparent as possible.”

There were some bumps along the way during those early days, he said, explaining that “we know along the way it’s going to be hard to figure out lots of things. What’s the most palatable to cats? What is the best packaging? What’s the best delivery method?”

“What we’re really hoping for,” Calvin told me, “is that people can just tell that we are on the right side and trying to do this right, and stick with us and give us that feedback so we can grow together. I think we already are at a pretty incredibly place. The product, I think, is already close to the best on the market.”

And today? Smalls has only gotten better.

Smalls Cat Food Review: My Final Thoughts, and Why You Should Care

Overall, this is an excellent option for cat food. Nutrition should be your priority when choosing a cat food brand, and Smalls offers high-quality, well-balanced meals.

Your choice of cat food is a personal decision based on your pet’s dietary needs and preferences, but I can confidently recommend Smalls cat food.

Give Smalls a try today and get your cat thriving on a healthy, wholesome diet. Your cat will feel the difference — and you’ll see it.

For a limited time, you can get an amazing 25% off your first sample box of Smalls. No promo code required. Discounted price appears at checkout.

Learn More

Cartoon cat spinning around and around

P.S. Give it a try and see what you think! Worried it won’t work out? If your cat doesn’t absolutely LOVE it, Smalls can either send you some different recipes to try or give you a full refund, your choice. No nonsense. (That’s another reason I love this company.)

You have nothing to lose — so let’s do this. Do your cat a favor and go claim your 25% discount trial now before time runs out.

 

 


 

Disclosure: Petful was provided a few free samples for the purposes of publishing Smalls cat food reviews like this one, which contains affiliate links. Disclaimer: This review was my own personal opinion; I am not a vet. Please consult your veterinarian — especially if your pet has an existing health condition. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Learn more about Smalls here.

Written by Dave Baker

Dave Baker, founder and publisher of Petful, is a journalist and editor who has worked at The New York Times and The Nation magazine. He was also part of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize–winning team at The Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Petful is now based. A longtime advocate for pet food safety, Dave has been passionately tracking pet food recalls for the past 10-plus years, and more than 30,000 pet parents are subscribed to his recall alerts — which often arrive faster than even the recall alerts put out by the FDA.
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