Smalls is a relatively new cat food brand that specializes in fresh and premium cat food recipes. The brand first launched in 2017, making it one of the youngest brands in the industry.
Smalls is only available from their site and is not sold in large pet food stores like PetSmart or Petco. Smalls uses a similar model to many of the large fresh home-delivered dog food brands that have exploded in popularity over the last few years.
Users that are new to Smalls are prompted to enter their cat’s age, build, and other characteristics. Smalls then make a tailor-made suggestion on what food and in what quantities they should be provided.
This approach takes a lot of the guesswork away from the cat owner that they would typically have to wrap their head around. In addition, Smalls offers subscription services like many of the other new pet food brands do, which allows cat owners to save on cost and gain convenience.
The brand provides some information on where Smalls cat food recipes are produced. This includes mention of facilities in Chicago, Illinois, Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Brainerd, Minnesota. Each of these facilities produces a unique type of cat food (wet/dry/freeze-dried).
Also, Smalls utilizes USDA-certified humanely-harvested, sustainably sourced ingredients in its recipes which is a step above many other brands.
How Much Does Small Cat Food Cost?
Tailor-made cat food such as those provided Smalls are without a doubt more costly than traditional canned or dry cat food you would find in a grocery or pet food store. However, they may not be as costly as you imagine.
We’ve priced up the cost of Smalls cat food for a 2 year old, male, neutered cat, with an average build.
Based on this, Smalls sampler comes out to be $1.47 per meal or $33.75 in total for 23 meals. However, this price does include the 25% discount offer when first trialing their food.
Without this discount, each meal would be roughly just under $2 per meal.
If the introductory discount wasn’t enough, smalls do offer a 100% money-back guarantee which makes trialing their food almost risk-free.
Smalls Product Range
Smalls has a relatively broad product range when compared to some of its direct competitors. Many pet food brands in similar niches that could be compared to Smalls often have as few as three products.
Smalls, however, produce six unique cat food recipes. Three of these recipes are human-grade fresh cat food, and the latter three are freeze-dried raw.
Smalls does not produce any cat food products that are specifically aimed at certain age groups of cats, such as kittens or senior cats.
However, Smalls believes their products are suitable for all ages, which is the likely driver behind this absence of specialization.
You can check out Smalls’ product range on their Food Page.
The nutrition provided by Smalls recipes varies depending on the type of recipe. As one would imagine, the freeze-dried raw and the fresh/wet recipes provide superior nutrition when compared to the dry food recipes.
However, despite this, the nutrition provided by Smalls cat food is generally above-average to significantly above-average when compared to similar offerings.
Below is an example of the nutrition provided by a Smalls dry cat food recipe. As you can see, the bulk of the recipe’s nutrition is protein and fat content.
This significantly above-average nutrition includes a high proportion of animal-based protein and fat. These two nutrients should be at the core of every cat food recipe as they are obligate carnivores.
As an obligate carnivores, cats do not need to consume high levels of plant-based content like vegetables, grains, and starches. Instead, they thrive best on a diet high in animal or fish content.
Thankfully, the proportion of plant-based content, which is a dense source of carbohydrates, in Smalls recipes is modest and far below average, aligning well with their obligate carnivore nature.
If you’d like to learn more about feline nutrition, we’d highly recommend checking out our Cat Food Guide. In this guide, we perform an in-depth breakdown of the different components of a cat’s diet, different types of cat food and discuss some select and notable ingredients.
High-Quality Meat & Fish Ingredients
Smalls uses a relatively limited selection of meat and fish ingredients in its recipes. Regardless, these ingredients are all high-quality sources and can provide much-needed protein and fat. This selection includes many of the industry favorites, such as Chicken, Turkey, and Beef.
These ingredients are so popular among pet food manufacturers because they are relatively inexpensive and can provide excellent nutrition.
Some Smalls recipes include organ meat ingredients such as Chicken Liver. Chicken Liver and other organ meat ingredients are fantastic additions to cat food. They can provide additional protein and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals that are lacking from traditional meat cuts.
Other Notable Ingredients
Smalls dry cat food recipes include a noticeable portion of Sweet Potatoes. Sweet Potatoes are a starch ingredient and a very dense source of carbohydrates.
For this reason, the portion size mustn’t be too large. Many people believe that Sweet Potatoes are superior to White Potatoes as they can provide additional micronutrients.
Green Beans and Peas are both legumes and are regular additions to dog and cat food, especially grain-free food. They are included so frequently because they are relatively inexpensive and can provide a high level of plant-based protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.
However, in recent years, there have been growing concerns and links between the high use of legumes in dog food and an increased rate of Canine Heart Disease. While this does not affect cats, it is an interesting topic, and you can read more about it here.
Sadly, some Smalls recipes contain a small portion of Pea Protein. Pea Protein is a vegetable by-product and is considered by many to be a low-quality ingredient in cat food. It is often used to increase the proportion of protein in a pet food recipe without adding additional meat or fish ingredients.
You can learn more about in our article Peas, Pea Protein, Pea Flour, and Pea Fiber in Dog Food.
Chicken Fat is extremely common minor ingredient in pet food and is added to many recipes to enhance flavor and boost the overall levels of animal-based fat.
Chicken Fat is chosen over alternatives, like Beef Fat, as it is the more cost-effective option and is easy to source, especially in high volumes. However, some brands do use alternatives like Beef Fat but this is far less common.
If you’d like to read more about Chicken Fat, including information on whether it can trigger an allergic reaction, you can in our article, Chicken Fat In Dog Food.
Smalls Animal Testing
At this time, we have no information on what type of animal testing, if any, that Smalls participates in.
Many cat food brands, especially smaller brands, avoid disclosing information on how their products are tested or what kind of feed trials they do. This lack of information is due to fears of customer backlash.
However, others in the industry are fearful of this lack of transparency among cat food producers and would like more information available on trials and testing, so they feel confident that recipes are nutritionally complete and appropriate.
Regardless, we strongly believe that invasive or laboratory-style testing of cats is a cruel and outdated practice and one which we hope will be eliminated.
While the brand is still in its infancy, this is an important trait, and we hope that Smalls continues to maintain a recall-free record. The quality and safety of the cat food manufacturing process are of the utmost importance.
While these practices are common and standard in the industry, Smalls mentions that their products are – “tested for e.coli, salmonella, listeria, and mold before we ever make it available for shipping, and we also perform regular spot checks on the nutritional content of our food“
Regardless of this, we always encourage cat owners to be vigilant of any future recalls of Smalls products or food from any other cat food brand.
Best of Smalls
Fresh Chicken Pate Review
Smalls Chicken pate recipe is a favorite of ours thanks to the large variety of Chicken ingredients it includes. Examples of this include Chicken Thigh, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver, and Chicken Heart.
This large variety is unique and is sure to provide an appealing taste on top of a large proportion of animal-based protein and fat it can provide.
Moreover, the organ meat ingredients, like Chicken Liver and Chicken Heart, can boost the levels of several beneficial vitamins and minerals that traditional meat cuts lack.
Thankfully the recipe only contains a tiny proportion of plant-based ingredients, which are a mix of Green Beans, Peas, and Kale. These vegetables provide a very modest proportion of carbohydrates that closely aligns this recipe with a cats natural diet.
Simply Cooked Fish Review
Smalls dry cat food range is the only one that includes a fish-based recipe. The above Simply Cooked Fish uses Whitefish and Whitefish meal as its primary ingredients.
Whitefish is a common ingredient in dog and cat food but can be made up of a variety of different fish ingredients. Some brands like Open Farm openly advertise that their Whitefish recipes will vary from month to month dependant on the catch.
The only other significant ingredients present are a mix of Sweet Potatoes, Peas, and Egg Product. While the portion of carbohydrates the plant-based ingredients provide is still above optimal, it is far lower than traditional dry cat food and should not be a significant concern.
Freeze-Dried Raw Duck Review
Freeze-dried raw cat food is thought by many to be a luxury cat food product that is out of reach. It tends to be very expensive compared to dry or wet cat food, with some recipes costing two or three times as much.
However, Smalls offers plans that provide a mix of dry, wet, and freeze-dried cat food, which allows your cat to be spoilt from time to time with freeze-dried food without breaking the bank.
As you can imagine, the only significant ingredients found in the recipe are Duck-based. This includes Ground Duck, Duck Heart, Duck Liver, Duck Gizzard, and Duck Egg.
This mix will provide a well-rounded flavor and vast proportions of animal-based protein and fat. As we mentioned earlier, organ meat ingredients like Heart and Liver can enhance the flavor of cat food recipes and provide a unique mix of vitamins and minerals.
Smalls Featured Articles
Best Chicken Free Cat Food – Chicken is a common allergy among cats, and given that it is extremely common in cat food, it can make the process of finding a chicken-free cat food recipe difficult.
In this article, we discuss why Chicken is such a common allergy, how to identify an allergy, some popular alternatives to Chicken, and a range of high-quality chicken-free recipes to trial.
Smalls Full Product Range
Fresh Cat Food
Fresh Chicken Minced
Fresh Turkey Minced
Fresh Beef Minced
Fresh Chicken Pate
Fresh Turkey Pate
Fresh Beef Pate
Dry Cat Food
Simply Cooked Chicken
Simply Cooked Turkey
Simply Cooked Fish
Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken
Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey
Freeze-Dried Raw Duck