Smalls Cat Food | Our Honest Review + All the Info You Need Before You Buy

Why We Love It:

Cats are carnivores – it’s in their DNA. Your cat deserves a high-quality diet made with real poultry and meat like fresh chicken, turkey, and beef. Smalls offers an assortment of fresh cat food and freeze-dried raw recipes sent right to your door. Everything is made with human-grade ingredients and prepared with the highest standards of quality. If you’re thinking about upgrading your cat’s diet, try Smalls. 

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When it comes to cat food, you have a lot of options but it’s important to consider what’s best for your cat as well as your budget. Skimping on your cat’s diet just to save a few bucks could become a detriment to your cat’s health and could very well end up costing you more in the long run.

The quality of your cat’s diet is closely linked to his health. The food you feed him is his primary source of nutrition, so if it isn’t balanced, he could end up with nutritional gaps in his diet.

As you know from your own life, a few cheat meals may not have a significant impact on your long-term health, but a poor diet will eventually catch up to you. The same is true for your cat. A low-quality diet puts your cat at risk for malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies which may contribute to the development of chronic health issues. Not only is that bad for your cat, but those health issues could equate to expensive vet bills for you. In the end, it’s just better to feed your cat well.

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to high-quality cat food, but experts agree that fresh food is one of the most nutritious diets for cats. It is more biologically appropriate, and the quality of the ingredients is generally higher as well.

In this review, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Smalls, a fresh cat food delivery service, to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for your cat. It’s not our aim to convince you but to provide the insight you need to understand the brand and to make an informed decision for yourself.

Read on to learn more about the Smalls brand and what we think of it.

Overview of Smalls

The Smalls fresh cat food company follows a “cat’s first” philosophy with all they do. Not only are their products made from the highest-quality human-grade ingredients, but they even name their products the way cats would describe them. Choose from a variety of fresh, freeze-dried raw, and dry kibble recipes as well as freeze-dried treats, crocheted cat toys, and alternative litter options.

To get started with our review of Smalls we’ll jump into a quick history of the brand then take a closer look at their products while answering some important questions to help you decide whether Smalls might be the right choice for you and your cat.

A Quick History:

Fresh pet food has been growing in popularity over the last decade and Smalls was one of the early entries into the fresh cat food market. Founded by Matt Michaelson and Calvin Bohn in partnership with pet nutrition consultant Susan Lauten, Phd., Smalls was created in an East Village apartment in NYC. 

With the best interest of cats everywhere in mind, this trio set out to create a fresh cat food line that represents “the closest thing to nature your cat can eat.” The result was the Fresh Killz line of human-grade fresh cat food made with premium ingredients including real animal protein and fresh veggies, nutritionally complete and balanced with the help of Susan Lauten. 

Today, Smalls produces their wet foods in Chicago, Illinois but also offers a selection of freeze-dried raw and dry kibbles made in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Smalls is constantly improving their products to ensure the highest quality and optimal nutrition for cats. 

To help you get a better understanding of the brand, here are the answers to some common questions:

How Are the Products Made?

As part of their “cat’s first” philosophy, Smalls takes great care to ensure the quality and safety of their products. Their recipes are backed by scientific research, formulated and tested in partnership with animal nutritionists and behaviorists to provide for the nutritional needs of cats in all life stages.

Not only are Smalls’ recipes carefully formulated, but they are made with high-quality ingredients. Smalls uses human-grade ingredients in every recipe, sourcing their ingredients from the United States or Canada. Their custom nutrient mix is made in the United States as well.

All of Smalls’ recipes are made in the United States, though the location varies depending on the product line. Their wet food formulas are prepared in Chicago, Illinois while their freeze-dried raw formulas are made in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Smalls offers a limited selection of dry kibble as well which is made in Brainerd, Minnesota. Each batch is thoroughly tested for safety and regular spot checks are performed to ensure nutritional quality as well.

How Many Recipes Are There?

Smalls is primarily known as a fresh cat food delivery service, but they offer more than that. On top of their fresh cat food recipes, they also offer freeze-dried raw food for cats. Smalls makes it easy to customize your cat’s meal plan according to his preferences and your own, as well as your budgetary constraints. Check out the options in the next section.

The Fresh Killz fresh food line consists of the following recipes:

  • Fresh Ground Bird
  • Other Fresh Ground Bird
  • Fresh Smooth Bird
  • Other Fresh Smooth Bird
  • Fresh Ground Cow
  • Fresh Smooth Cow
  • Fresh Ground Fish
  • Fresh Smooth Fish

The freeze-dried raw line consists of the following recipes:

  • Freeze-Dried Raw Bird
  • Other Freeze-Dried Raw Bird
  • Freeze-Dried Raw Water Bird

In addition to these main product lines, Smalls offers an assortment of high-protein, filler-free kibble made with chicken, turkey, or fish as well as freeze-dried cat treats.

Smalls’ Fresh Killz fresh food is their signature product line. At the moment, it includes eight recipes from four different proteins: chicken, turkey, beef, and fish. All four proteins are available in a smooth pate-like texture or a minced texture with the primarily animal protein as the first ingredient.

Of their fresh cat food, Smalls says the following:

“Our fresh recipes are made in a USDA human-grade facility using only the best whole ingredients… Super high in moisture with zero starches, our fresh recipe gets as close to a cat’s natural nutrition needs as possible.” 

Though Smalls formulates their recipes in accordance with the high protein requirements of cats, they do include veggies as well. Smalls maintains that wild cats often consume small amounts of veggies in the stomach contents of their prey. They include veggies to mimic this natural diet and to provide natural sources for key nutrients, minimizing the need for synthetic supplementation.

How Much Does It Cost?

When it comes to the cost of cat food, it really comes down to the quality of the ingredients and the way they are prepared. Smalls offers fresh cat food as well as freeze-dried raw and high-quality kibble. Their ingredients are all human-grade and they take great care with their preparation, so you should know that their food is a little more expensive than the average dry cat food brand.

The good news is Smalls does their best to be affordable for all cat owners. Because they offer such a variety of products, they can customize your plan to suit your budget.

Here’s a list of all the meal plans Smalls offers:

  • Total Moisture – A complete 100% fresh food diet.
  • Healthiest + Convenience – A mainly fresh food diet with raw kibble.
  • Balanced Moisture – A mainly fresh food diet with essential kibble for busy cat parents.
  • Balanced Convenience – A balanced diet of fresh food and freeze-dried raw.
  • Premium Convenience – A balanced diet of fresh and freeze-dried raw food.
  • Premium Dry – A 100% freeze-dried dry food diet.

The price for your cat’s meal plan will vary depending on his calorie requirements. Cats require about 2% to 3% of their body weight in fresh food daily and Smalls packages their food with easy markings to indicate 50-calorie portions (about 1 ounce).

When you fill out the quiz for Smalls, you’ll be given the option to view the prices for different meal plans and make your choice. Using the example of a 2-year-old male cat (neutered) with a normal body type, the daily price ranges from about $2.95 to $3.25 per day with the 25% starter discount, regularly priced between $3.86 and $4.29 per day.

What’s the Subscription Process Like?

Like many fresh cat food companies, Smalls is only available by subscription. When you place your first order, you’ll receive 2 weeks of food at a 25% discount. As long as you don’t cancel, your order will renew on a monthly basis (every four weeks).

Here are the steps involved in creating a subscription plan:

  1. Click “Get Started” at the top of the Smalls home page
  2. Select how many cats you have and fill in their names
  3. Provide information about your cat’s current diet
  4. Share your thoughts on your cat food budget
  5. Provide basic information about your cat’s sex and age
  6. Indicate your cat’s alteration status and body type
  7. Choose from the recipe plans suggested or view them all
  8. Fill in your billing and shipping information then submit

What makes Smalls unique from other fresh cat food delivery companies is that they offer more than fresh food. When you fill out the quiz, you’ll indicate your preferences for your cat’s diet and for your budget so Smalls can present you with the different options covered in the previous section. You can adjust your plan or swap recipes at any time by logging into your account.

Now that you have a better understanding of what Smalls has to offer and how you order it, let’s take a closer look at their newest recipe:

Recipe Feature: Fresh Killz Fresh Smooth Fish

First 5 Ingredients Whitefish Mackerel Salmon Oil Peas Green Beans
Guaranteed Analysis 23% protein 8% fat 0.1% fiber 64% moisture
Calories About 50 kcal/oz.


Whitefish (Alaska Pollock), Mackerel, Salmon Oil, Peas, Green Beans, Pumpkin, Parsley, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Bitartrate, Salt, Taurine, Magnesium Gluconate, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Gluconate, Ascorbic Acid, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Gluconate, Ferrous Gluconate, Niacin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Selenium, Dried Kelp, Biotin, Vitamin B12.

In-Depth Look:

Until recently, Smalls only offered three different animal proteins: chicken, turkey, and beef. This fish recipe is their newest addition and while it contains several different fish ingredients, it doesn’t contain any poultry or beef. This is good news for cats with chicken or beef allergies.

Smalls describes this recipe as follows:

“Packed with sustainably-sourced Alaska Pollock, our Fresh Fish recipe is perfect for cats who prefer fishy flavors. Fresh Fish will help improve your cat’s energy, joint health, muscle development, and coat condition.”

We’re happy to see this recipe starts strong with two fresh sources of fish as the main ingredients and salmon oil is a healthy inclusion as well. The next four ingredients are fresh veggies included as natural sources for key nutrients, supplemented with synthetic vitamins and minerals as needed for balance.

Overall, this recipe appears to deliver high-quality nutrition and we don’t see any red flag ingredients. If your cat is allergic to fish it wouldn’t be a good choice, but otherwise we have no issues with it.

Smalls Pros and Cons

Shopping for pet food can be tough because there are so many options and because it’s often difficult to interpret the information on the pet food label. We’re not here to convince you that Smalls is the best option for everyone, but we do want to give you the information you need to make your own decision. Before you ultimately decide, it’s a good idea to consider the good and the bad.

Here are some of the pros for Smalls:

  • High-protein recipes made with human-grade ingredients
  • Recipes formulated by animal nutritionists and behaviorists
  • Fresh or freeze-dried raw food for cats sent right to your door
  • Customizable meal plans with options for every budget

Here are some of the cons for Smalls:

  • Fresh and freeze-dried food may be more expensive than kibble
  • Food is not portioned in individual packages by calorie content
  • Recipes contain up to 10% vegetable content

If you’re thinking about making the switch to a fresh cat food diet, Smalls should definitely be on your list of brands to consider. They make it easy to feed your cat well and send the food right to your door. It may not be the best choice for everyone, but we love Smalls and hope you’ll think about the brand.

Our Conclusion

Overall, we’re fans of Smalls. We love that Smalls offers fresh cat food recipes as well as freeze-dried raw food and dry kibble – this makes it easy to find a combination plan that suits your budget. Everything is made from human-grade ingredients as well. Unfortunately, the food isn’t portioned according to your cat’s calorie needs but the packages are clearly marked for convenience. Until recently, Smalls only offered three protein choices but we’re glad to see them expanding their offerings with fish.

Smalls FAQs

Does Smalls offer any grain-free options?

Yes, all Smalls cat food is grain-free and gluten-free. Every recipe starts with a quality source of real animal protein and is supplemented by fresh, grain-free vegetables for a nutritional boost.

Can you get samples of Smalls cat food?

Smalls doesn’t offer samples of their fresh food, but you can receive 25% your first order which will include two weeks’ worth of food. If you like it, simply allow your order to renew. If not, you can cancel at any time after your first order ships.

Is the packaging environmentally friendly?

Yes! Smalls makes an effort to use environmentally friendly packaging and practices wherever possible. Here’s what they have to say: “We’re proud to say that all of our packaging is 100% recyclable. The insulators we use to keep everything nice and cold are actually made of corn Styrofoam that is completely biodegradable. In fact, you can wash it right down your sink!”

Can I change or cancel my subscription?

Yes, Smalls makes it easy to change your subscription at any time simply by logging into your account. You’ll receive an email before each order so you can adjust your delivery schedule or swap recipes. You can also update your profile or cancel your account entirely online.

Is Smalls a good option for cats with food allergies?

Cats can develop allergies to a wide variety of food ingredients, so it’s difficult to say whether one brand is better for allergies than another. That being said, proteins like chicken and beef are some of the most common food allergens for cats which makes Smalls a less-than-ideal option if your cat is allergic to one of these. Smalls did recently release a fish-based recipe, however, and their formulas are all free from fillers and artificial additives. If your cat isn’t allergic to the proteins used, Smalls is a good choice.


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