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Smalls Cat Food Review 2024: Pros, Cons & Final Verdict

Written by: Sara Seitz

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Smalls Cat Food

Smalls Cat Food Review 2024: Pros, Cons & Final Verdict

Our Final Verdict

We give Smalls Cat Food brand an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.

Quality: 5/5

Variety: 4.9/5

Ingredients: 4.9/5

Value: 4.8/5

Fresh, meat-based foods are all the rage in the dog world right now. But what about cats?

While dogs have adapted to eating a variety of plant and animal foods, cats remain obligate carnivores. This means they require a meat-based diet to survive.

Despite this, most commercial cat foods contain more grain fillers than meat. And the ones that do contain mostly meat are chock full of by-product meal and other questionable ingredients. Luckily, Smalls is here to deliver real fresh cat food made of human-grade meat.

This cat food subscription company works in much the same way Nom Nom works for dogs. They create a diet plan for your kitty based on their age, size, needs, and preferences. Once you’re set up, you’ll receive customized recipes delivered to your door so you never run out.

I had the chance to try Smalls Cat Food on my eight-month-old kitten, Makoa. He considers himself to be a bit of a foodie and was quite excited for the opportunity to taste some new, fresh fare. And I was excited to see if this cat food is really as high quality as it’s marketed to be.

Spoiler alert: Neither of us were disappointed!

Keep reading to see my full Smalls Cat Food brand review and to find out if this cat food subscription service is right for your kitty.

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At a Glance: The Most Popular Recipes

Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Fresh Ground Bird Fresh Ground Bird
  • Muscle and organ meat
  • Meat sourced in the USA
  • Chunky texture
  • Second place
    Fresh Smooth Fish Fresh Smooth Fish
  • Very high in protein
  • Great source of omega fatty acids
  • Highly palatable
  • Third place
    Fresh Smooth Cow Fresh Smooth Cow
  • USDA-certified beef and liver
  • Pleasing texture
  • Extra greens
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    About Smalls

    Smalls box and packing 1

    Smalls launched back in 2017 with a simple mission: provide an option for better cat food to cats everywhere. They’ve lived up to that promise by crafting fresh, healthy recipes that are packed with human-grade meats, organs, and just the right amount of vitamins and minerals to help cats thrive.

    Who Makes Smalls Cat Food and Where is it Produced?

    Smalls was founded by Matt Michaelson and Calvin Bohn, two cat lovers who wanted to bring the fresh food revolution from the dog world to the kitty kingdom.

    All the ingredients used in Smalls recipes are sourced in the USA and Canada, including the supplement blend that is added to each meal. The meals themselves are steamed and packaged in the company’s Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, facility.

    Which Types of Pets is Smalls Best Suited For?

    Because Smalls meals are highly customizable based on each cat’s needs, health issues, and goals, this subscription service is a great option for all cats.

    Kittens will benefit from meals tailored to their higher energy level and specific nutritional needs, while seniors will appreciate the different texture options and calorie considerations. And because these high-quality, meat-based meals are easy on the digestive tract, owners of cats everywhere will appreciate better-smelling litter boxes.

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    Smalls - Makoa on Box

    Smalls is nothing like your typical cat food. So let’s take a closer look at how this subscription service works, what options they have, and dive into what makes their ingredients different.

    How the Subscription Works

    To get started with Smalls, you first need to get on their website and fill out their questionnaire. This will help them to get to know your cat, including their age, body weight score, health conditions, and preferences.

    Based on your answers, Smalls will create a sampler pack for you to try. Once you receive your box, Smalls will give you about a week to test out the recipes. Based on your feedback, they’ll tailor-make a full box of meals and begin your subscription service.

    Shipping frequency will depend on how much your cat eats and how many cats you have. But you can be sure you’ll never run out of food.

    The subscription is highly customizable and can be canceled at any time.

    Package Contents

    Your Smalls sampler box will contain a variety of different recipes based on your cat’s preferences. They are packed in an insulated box with dry ice to keep them frozen throughout transit.

    Once you pick your recipe selections based on your sampler box, you’ll receive your first subscription box. This will contain enough meals to last your cat between 2 and 8 weeks, depending on your shipping preferences.

    Each of Small’s prepackaged meals is made to feed an adult 10-pound cat for one day. They can be divided up and fed as needed based on your cat’s age and weight.

    Smalls Cat Food - package contents

    Recipe Options

    All of Smalls’ recipes contain one of four primary meat ingredients: chicken, turkey, beef, or fish.

    Each of these recipes is available in either “smooth” (patte) or “ground.” Not only are these different textures a great option for picky eaters, but they help add variety for cats who aren’t so picky.

    All the recipes are designed to maximize protein, balance fat, and provide all the nutrition and moisture your cat needs to thrive.

    Primary Ingredients

    What really sets Smalls apart from other cat food companies is their ingredients. But even more than this, it’s the quality of their ingredients that makes them worth the purchase.

    Every recipe begins with a meat ingredient and liver. For instance, the “Smooth Bird” recipe contains chicken and chicken liver. These animal ingredients make up the majority of the bulk material in the food. You can clearly see this when you look at the meals.

    The fish recipe is the one exception to this. It contains whole salmon and cod as the first two ingredients.

    The next ingredient listed for all recipes is green beans. This, along with one or two other veggies, depending on the recipe, is included to replicate the vegetable matter your cat would get from the stomach of their prey if they were hunting in the wild.

    Lastly, all recipes include Smalls’ special supplement blend of essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

    More impressive than the types of ingredients included, in my opinion, is the quality of them. All the meat used is sourced in the US and is 100% human-grade.

    You won’t find any by-products or inedible cuts here. Only fresh, quality meat you’d find at the grocery store.

    High-quality meat is better for cats because it contains more nutrients. It’s also much less likely to contain dangerous compounds such as mold, bacteria, phenobarbital, and other toxins.

    Smalls Cat Food in a bowl with product packaging in the backgroun


    In addition to high-quality meals, Smalls also offers cat treats, catnip, and specialty cat toys that you can add to your order. In fact, signing up for a Smalls subscription gives you free cat treats for life!

    You’ll get the option to add a few of these extras to your sampler pack. After that, jump on your account before each subscription shipment to add all the goodies your cat needs.


    The cost of a Smalls subscription will vary based on how much your cat eats and how many cats you’re feeding. In general, you can expect to pay between $1.90 and $3 per meal.

    How often you opt to have the meals shipped to you and how much you have shipped can also play into the total cost. Small box shipments are subject to a $10 shipping fee while larger shipments typically qualify for free shipping.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Smalls Recipes

    Here, we break down three of the most popular Smalls recipes to give you a better idea of what to expect from this cat food subscription service.

    1. Fresh Ground Bird

    Smalls Cat Food - Fresh Ground Bird

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, green beans
    Calories: 200 kcal per 5 oz pack
    Protein: 15% (55% dry matter)
    Fat: 9% (33% dry matter)
    Fiber: 1.5% (6% dry matter)
    Texture: Ground/chunky
    Chicken is always a great option for pet food. It’s cheaper than other meats (and those savings are often passed on to the consumer) and it’s a healthy protein for just about everyone. I especially love Smalls’ Ground Bird recipe because it backs its chicken muscle meat with nutrient-packed chicken liver.

    With a high fat content and plenty of healthy protein, this recipe is also a great option for cats in need of a little extra. It’s a perfect recipe option for growing kittens and adults who need to plump up a bit. With 6% fiber, it’s a good option for senior cats who will also benefit from the added calories.

    My cat loved all the chicken-based recipes from Smalls, including their smooth and pulled texture options. I like that I can see how much meat is included just by looking at the food in the bowl.

    As with all other Smalls recipes, the fresh, human-grade meat in this one is backed by fiber-rich green beans and Smalls’ USA-made vitamin and mineral supplement.

    • High in fat and protein
    • Includes muscle and organ meat
    • Higher in fiber
    • Affordable
    • Might not entice picky cats

    2. Fresh Smooth Fish

    Smalls Cat Food - Fresh Smooth Fish

    Main Ingredients: Salmon, cod, green beans, pumpkin
    Calories: 220 kcal per 5 oz package
    Protein: 15% (62% dry matter)
    Fat: 5% (21% dry matter)
    Fiber: 1.5% (6% dry matter)
    Texture: Patte
    Smalls Fresh Smooth Fish is likely to be a hit in all households. Why? Because cats love fish, of course.

    It smells strong, is rich in healthy fats that taste great (to cats, anyway), and has a smooth texture most kitties can’t resist. Of course, the same smell that makes cats love fish is the same reason most owners don’t like it. Luckily, this recipe from Smalls isn’t nearly as stinky as other less-fresh options I’ve tried, but it still definitely has a scent.

    This recipe is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. Despite all those healthy fish fats, it isn’t overly calorie-dense and is actually lower in fat than the other two recipes featured here. That makes it a great option for cats needing to lose weight or maintain their current figure.

    The super-high protein content of this recipe also makes it a wonderfully healthy maintenance formula for cats.

    Because this food is highly aromatic, it’s a great option for picky cats and those transitioning from diets with a lot of fake flavors. Like the chicken recipe, it has a higher amount of fiber, which makes it a great option for older cats, as well.

    The fish in this recipe is sourced in the USA, though sustainability metrics are not provided on the website.

    • High in protein
    • High in omega fatty acids
    • Good maintenance recipe
    • Great for picky eaters
    • A little smelly

    3. Fresh Smooth Cow

    Smalls Cat Food - Fresh Smooth Cow

    Main Ingredients: Beef, beef liver, green beans, spinach
    Calories: 244 kcal per 5 oz package
    Protein: 16.5% (55% dry matter)
    Fat: 8% (27% dry matter)
    Fiber: 1.5% (5% dry matter)
    Texture: Patte
    Beef is featured less frequently in cat food than in dog food, but not really for any good reason. Beef, especially when combined with cow liver, such as you’ll find in Smalls Fresh Smooth Cow, is a great meat option for cats.

    This protein source provides plenty of necessary nutrients, a good amount of fat, and all that healthy protein cats need to power their day. It has less fat than the chicken recipe and slightly less fiber than most recipes. This makes it a great maintenance diet option for cats young and old.

    This recipe contains an extra boost of antioxidants and fiber thanks to the addition of spinach, which is high on the ingredients list. But like all the other Smalls options, it’s clear when you look at this food that it’s made almost entirely of meat.

    One thing you do have to be cautious with when it comes to beef is the quality of the meat. Luckily, with Smalls, you know you’re getting human-grade cuts that are fresh, safe, and free of scary chemicals.

    • Novel protein for most cats
    • Good maintenance formula
    • Smooth, palatable texture
    • Lower fiber content

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    What is “human-grade” meat?

    All the meat used in Smalls meals is certified human-grade. This means that the meat comes from strictly monitored manufacturing facilities with high quality-control measures. This meat is suitable for human consumption and could be sold in grocery stores.

    How should Smalls food be stored?

    Smalls meals should be stored in the freezer until you’re ready to feed them, at which point they should be thawed in the fridge overnight. Each sealed meal packet will last up to 12 months in the freezer and up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

    Do I need to transition my cat to Smalls?

    Yes. Whenever you switch diets, it’s a good idea to slowly transition your cat to the new food. Smalls recommends replacing a small portion of your cat’s regular food with Smalls to start. Slowly increase the ratio of new to old food over the course of one to two weeks until you’re feeding only Smalls.

    What if my cat won’t eat Smalls?

    Believe it or not, cats can become addicted to the additives, chemicals, and synthetic flavors in low-quality commercial cat food. As such, they may not be interested in the authentic fresh flavors of Smalls at first. Adding a little fish oil or tuna juice, or warming up Smalls can help entice them until their pallet changes.

    Smalls Cat Food - food packaging and bowl

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    Our Experience With Smalls Fresh Cat Food

    I am big on fresh, protein-packed food for my pets. My dogs benefitted from my homemade, raw meals for nearly a decade before my daughter was born and I ran out of time for that kind of hobby. My kitten, Makoa, never got to experience those fresh meals.

    That’s one reason I was very excited to try Smalls.

    This subscription company offers many of the same benefits as home-prepared meals without any of the work. Since Makoa suffers from a sensitive stomach and lingering health issues from a rough kittenhood, I was especially excited to see how these meals would affect him.

    The first test was, of course, the taste test. I wasn’t too worried about this since Makoa will eat just about anything. (Literally! He has been known to chomp on styrofoam and can’t left alone around anything string-like.)

    Still, it was evident how much he liked this food from the first recipe I put in his bowl. He devoured it and immediately asked for more. I tried a variety of recipes from my Smalls sample box, including fish, turkey, and beef of all textures.

    He gave all the options a big tails up!

    From my end, I really appreciate the thought that went into these recipes. And I love that I can see how much meat they each contain just by looking at them. This isn’t just a testament to their recipe quality, but also to how minimally processed these diets are.

    Despite transitioning Makoa to Smalls rather quickly, he had no digestive problems during the switch. And after the switch, I was relieved to find his litter box almost immediately became less stinky. I also haven’t noticed any gassiness since he started Smalls, which is saying something for a cat that was once the gassiest feline in the world.

    I’m excited to continue Makoa on the Smalls journey to see what other benefits come out of a full fresh diet packed with quality meat.

    While this food may cost more than other cat food options out there, I believe you more than get what you pay for. Finding pet diets that use human-grade meat is tough. Finding ones that use this much human-grade meat in each recipe is nearly impossible.

    Smalls Cat Food - makoa eating from the bowl

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    Given the high-quality ingredients, the high amount of meat used, and the variety offered by Smalls, I highly recommend it to every cat owner out there.

    For too long, our kitties have suffered through subpar cat food that doesn’t come close to fulfilling the needs of these obligate carnivores. By offering recipes that include only high amounts of human-grade meat, Smalls is here to change that. Each recipe is packed with plenty of protein, energizing fat, and the nutrients cats need, all while remaining filler-free.

    Best of all, their simple subscription service makes it easier than ever to feed your kittie the way nature intended.

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