The Scoop:

If you want to do better for your cat, start with his diet. Your cat’s diet provides the building blocks for optimal wellness, so it’s the biggest predictor in his long-term health. Fresh cat food made with high-quality ingredients delivers uncompromised nutrition that nourishes your cat’s body and feeds his health, helping him look and feel his best for years to come. If you’re looking for a fresh cat food delivery service to make your job easier and your cat’s life better, consider Smalls.


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From the moment you brought home your fluffy little ball of fur, you were in love. Your cat is more than just a pet to you – he’s family.

If you’re like many cat owners, you consider your cat the equivalent of your child and you want what’s best for him. In addition to giving him all the latest toys and the tastiest treats, you should be thinking about the quality of his diet. After all, your cat’s food is what provides the nutrients he needs to stay health and well. If his cat food isn’t cutting it, your cat simply won’t be at his best.

Unfortunately, reading pet food labels can be tough and it’s not always easy to tell a good product from a bad one. When you’re ordering online or considering a fresh cat food delivery service, it’s even harder to make a direct comparison between products.

The key is to start with high-quality, natural ingredients and go from there. Find a company that takes its job seriously in providing appropriate nutrition for pets then check and double-check to make sure they are true to their word.

You have a lot of choices when it comes to your cat’s diet and we’re not here to convince you what to feed him. It’s our goal to educate you on the basics of feline nutrition and to provide some insight into the top brands on the market so you can make a smart choice for yourself and for your cat.

Read on to learn more about the Smalls fresh cat food brand and what you need to know.

Smalls Fresh Cat Food

Smalls is a fresh cat food delivery service that offers human-grade fresh cat food, freeze-dried raw cat food, and high-protein cat kibble as well as an assortment of natural cat litters and toys.

The Smalls brand was founded by Matt Michaelson and Calvin Bohn out of their East Village apartment in New York City. The pair joined with Susan Lauten, Phd., who owns a pet nutrition consulting firm to create a fresh cat food brand utilizing human-grade, natural ingredients.

All of Smalls’ cat food recipes are made in the United States. Their wet food is prepared in Chicago, Illinois while freeze-dried foods are made in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Smalls kibble is prepared in Brainerd, Minnesota. Each batch of cat food is thoroughly tested for food-borne pathogens and the nutritional content is spot-checked frequently as well.

There’s no denying that Smalls takes feline nutrition seriously, but we know you need to make a decision for yourself. We’ve done our best to provide you with the details you need to know about the brand to understand who they are and what they have to offer.

Top 5 things you’ll love about Smalls fresh cat food:

  1. All products made with natural, human-grade ingredients
  2. Recipes high in protein, designed for obligate carnivores like your cat
  3. Formulas designed by animal nutritionists and behaviorists
  4. Customized meal plans, several product choices to consider
  5. Start with a sample box before you commit to a subscription

Now that you know a little more about Smalls and what we like about the brand, let’s take a closer look. Once you have an understanding of Smalls food for cats, we think you’ll love it too!

All products made with natural, human-grade ingredients

When it comes to high-quality nutrition, Smalls doesn’t make any compromises. This company uses human-grade ingredients which are of the same quality you’d eat yourself. Cheap pet food is often made with questionable ingredients including low-quality meat, so it’s good to know that Smalls doesn’t take those short-cuts and that they’re open and honest about how their proteins are sourced.

Of their ingredients, Smalls says the following:

“At Smalls, all of our fresh ingredients come from the United States or Canada. Our custom supplement mix is also made right here in the U.S.!”

Smalls fresh cat food recipes are all made with a real source of animal protein. The chicken and beef recipes are both single-source protein recipes, but the turkey formula contains chicken liver. Other than the protein, Smalls cat food only contains a few fresh veggies like green beans or kale, some vegetable oil, and synthetic vitamins and minerals.

The thing to remember here is that there’s a difference between an end product that is labeled human-grade and one made with human-grade ingredients, at least according to the FDA.

The term human-grade has only been somewhat recently defined in any official way. What it really comes down to is whether the product would technically be considered edible for humans or not. If the product is made with human-edible ingredients and manufactured and packaged in accordance with FDA regulations for human food (i.e. not in a facility that processes pet food), it can be considered human-grade. If the food is still made in a pet food facility, it is labeled “made with human-grade ingredients” instead.

Recipes high in protein, designed for obligate carnivores like your cat

Every one of Smalls’ cat food recipes features a high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient. Smalls currently offers a selection of fresh wet food, freeze-dried food, and kibble. Other of their recipes utilize the same three primary proteins: chicken, turkey, and beef.

Here’s a list of Smalls fresh cat food recipes:

  • Fresh Smooth Bird – A chicken-based wet food with a smooth pate texture.
  • Fresh Ground Bird – The original Smalls’ chicken recipe in a meatier ground texture.
  • Other Fresh Smooth Bird – A smooth-textured pate featuring turkey with a wild, gamey flavor.
  • Other Fresh Ground Bird – The original turkey recipe in a hearty minced texture.
  • Fresh Ground Cow – A hearty, ground-textured wet food made from North American beef.
  • Fresh Smooth Cow – Smooth-textured pate-style wet food made from North American beef.

Here’s a list of Smalls freeze-dried cat food recipes:

  • Freeze-Dried Raw Bird – Whole chicken meat, bones, and organs.
  • Other Freeze-Dried Raw Bird – Whole turkey meat, bones, and organs.
  • Freeze-Dried Raw Water Bird – Whole duck meat, bones, and organs.

Here’s a list of Smalls kibble recipes:

  • Chicken Kibble – High protein chicken-based kibble free from fillers.
  • Turkey Kibble – High protein turkey-based kibble free from fillers.

What really makes Smalls fresh cat food worth it is the fact that it’s designed to accommodate your cat’s natural evolutionary diet. Cats are obligate carnivores which means their bodies are evolved to process and derive nutrition from animal sources, not plants.

Smalls cat food is made with a protein-first philosophy, so meat is the first ingredient in every recipe. Most recipes contain secondary sources of protein like beef heart or chicken liver, with small amounts of green vegetables thrown in for nutrition. Smalls says they, “Add veggies to mimic what cats would naturally be eating if they were in the wild… instead of adding some pre-digested plant matter to our wet food, we just add in a few vegetables (under 10%) to deliver important vitamins and minerals.”

We appreciate that Smalls makes an effort to include natural sources for key nutrients but still keeps the total volume of those ingredients under 10%. The focus is always on the protein.

Formulas designed by animal nutritionists and behaviorists

Not only does Smalls use high-quality and natural ingredients, but their recipes are formulated by animal experts. Smalls says the following of their cat food formulation process:

“Cats need a lot more than tasty food. We believe decisions about their health starts with you – the cat parents and cat nutrition experts. Because of you, we listen more, we learn more, and we get closer to what cats actually need AND want.”

Though Smalls states their recipes are formulated in partnership with leading animal nutritionists and behaviorists, they don’t provide specific information about the process. They simply say their products are “backed by scientific research” and designed in accordance with biologically appropriate nutrition.

Smalls is confident in the quality of their products, but they understand cats can be picky. If your cat doesn’t like the food, you can simply let them know and they’ll be happy to discuss a refund.

Customized meal plans, several product choices to consider

What makes Smalls different from a typical pet food brand is that they offer customized meal plan suggestions based on your cat’s age and activity level. You simply answer a few questions about your cat and Smalls offers suggestions for meal plans based on your preferences for food type and cost.

Here are the three basic meal plans you can choose from as a starting option:

  • Essential Kibble – A kibble-only, budget-friendly option as a first step.
  • Essential + Raw Kibble – A kibble-based diet with added freeze-dried raw food.
  • Fresh Food Starter – A mainly essential kibble diet with fresh food as a topper.

Smalls makes suggestions for a custom meal plan based on your answers in their questionnaire. Your results may differ from the above if your cat is already on a fresh food diet or if you’re not concerned about budget. You can view the full list of options as well.

Here is a complete list of meal plans:

  • 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 cost of Smalls varies greatly depending which plan you choose and how much food your cat needs.

Using the example of a male 2-year-old neutered cat of 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. These prices are averaged, considering the food is not portioned specifically for your cat.

Start with a sample box before you commit to a subscription

Fresh cat food can be expensive, especially if you’re making the switch from a cheap brand. It’s well worth the improvement in your cat’s nutrition, but we can’t blame you for wanting to make sure your cat will actually eat the food before you make the commitment. You’ll be glad to know that Smalls offers a discount on your first order so you can sample the product before placing a full order.

When you sign up for Smalls, you’ll create your pet’s profile and choose between the different meal plans: kibble only, kibble and raw kibble, or fresh food.

Your first order will be discounted 25% off the regular subscription price and you’ll be sent two weeks’ worth of food. You’ll also receive instructions on how to transition your cat onto Smalls as well as a few treats. After your sampler is finished, you can choose to upgrade to a full subscription. If you want to change your subscription at any time, you can do so by logging onto your online account.

Is Fresh Cat Food Really Worth the Cost?

The quality of your cat’s diet is one of the biggest predictors of his short-term and long-term health. Your cat depends almost entirely on the diet you choose for him to provide for his nutritional needs. A poor-quality diet leaves nutritional gaps that can contribute to serious health problems. Your cat requires certain nutrients in a specific combination to achieve and maintain optimal health.

The simple message is this: it may save you some money now to buy cheap cat food, but it will end up costing your cat in terms of his health and quality of life, not to mention the potential for expensive vet bills down the line to deal with all those health problems.

Though many pet experts agree a raw food diet is the closest thing to your cat’s natural evolutionary diet, it isn’t the most practical choice for everyone. Fortunately, fresh cat food is fairly easy to come by and it provides similar nutritional benefits. Better yet, you can have it delivered right to your door using a fresh cat food delivery service like Smalls.

Here are some of the benefits your cat may enjoy on a fresh food diet:

  • Better skin and coat health, fewer skin issues
  • Improved healing and higher energy levels
  • Increased immunity and better protection from illness
  • Improved digestion and efficient absorption of nutrients
  • Longer lifespan and healthy body weight
  • Smaller, firmer stools and less litter box odor

To help you decide whether Smalls is really the right choice for your feline friend, consider some of the pros and cons of the brand. It’s always a good idea to look at both sides of the story.

Here are some of the pros for Smalls:

  • Fresh human-grade cat food made with natural ingredients high in protein.
  • Formulated by animal nutritionists and behaviorists to meet your cat’s nutritional needs.
  • Customizable meal plans designed specifically for your cat, easy to alter as needed.
  • High-protein recipes designed specifically for obligate carnivores like cats

Here are some of the cons for Smalls:

  • Fresh cat food is often more expensive than kibble or the typical canned food.
  • Meals are not portioned according to your cat’s calorie needs, some measuring required.
  • Limited number of protein choices, not ideal for cats allergic to chicken.

By now we hope you understand the potential benefits of switching your cat to a fresh cat food diet and we also hope you’ll consider Smalls. Every cat food brand has its pros and cons, so it’s really your job to determine whether the positives outweigh the negatives in this case. Good luck!

Smalls Fresh Food FAQs

Is fresh food really safe for cats?

Yes, fresh cat food recipes from Smalls are cooked to kill pathogens but not overcooked to the point that it compromises the nutritional integrity. Smalls cat food is frozen while fresh and shipped frozen – all you have to do is put it in your freezer and thaw a package or two at a time.

Has Smalls ever been recalled?

No, Smalls cat food has never been recalled.

How many recipes do they offer?

Smalls changes their recipe offerings from time to time, but they currently have six options in fresh human-grade cat food – three minced-style recipes and three pates. The three recipe choices are chicken, turkey, and beef.

How many calories does Smalls fresh cat food contain?

The calorie content may vary from one Smalls recipe to another, but the company suggests each package contains about 550 calories. Smalls says their wet food packages are designed to be portioned in 50-calorie increments according to your cat’s body weight. Their freeze-dried food is about 123 kcal/ounce or per ½ cup.

Is Smalls a good choice for cats with allergies?

It really depends what your cat is allergic to. Many cat food allergies are triggered by common proteins like chicken and beef, so Smalls may not be the ideal choice if your cat is allergic to one of those. If you know your cat tolerates chicken, turkey, and/or beef well, however, it could be a good option. Smalls is grain-free and contains a limited number of ingredients other than animal proteins.

 

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