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Smalls Review 2023: Is Human-Grade Cat Food Worth It?

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Author Mirela Niculae
Mirela Niculae
Updated on Nov 21st, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh


Finding high-quality cat food online can sometimes be difficult. Many companies offer your basic kibble and canned wet food, but these are not the best options for Her/His Majesty

Luckily, there are companies, like Smalls, that focus on creating healthy cat food recipes. Smalls’s cat food is top-tier when it comes to quality and nutrition levels. The company offers 4 recipes of fresh human-grade cat food, available in 2 textures (ground and smooth).

Most kitties who try Smalls' food fall in love on the spot – even the picky ones. Plus, the owners are happy they managed to find recipes that are free from preservatives and fillers.



A good range of recipes
High prices
High-quality ingredients
Has had 2 recalls
Excellent nutrition
Meals aren't pre-portioned

Current deal – 25% off your first order + free treats for life. Code: DELIVERY5

Smalls Meals

Plans and Recipes

Smalls offers 4 recipes, available in 2 types of texture – smooth and ground. All the recipes are made fresh with human-grade ingredients. Each formula was designed in collaboration with animal nutritionists, so all the meals are rich in protein and picky-cat-friendly.

The proteins offered are fish (70% salmon and 30% cod), bird (chicken), cow (beef), and other bird (turkey). The bird and other bird meals both come in smooth and ground forms. The cow and fish recipes are only available in smooth form (which is similar to a paté).

Smalls' 4 Smooth recipes
Smalls' 4 Smooth recipes are great for young and old kittens who can't chew that well

Smalls doesn’t have any special plans for cats with allergies or seniors. The recipes are formulated to offer the necessary amount of protein and nutrients for cats of all ages. So whether your Ms. Whiskers is a sleep champion with years of experience or an energetic kitten, Smalls is for them.

Moreover, the recipes are low in carbs and high in protein. This makes Smalls a great option for cats of all shapes and sizes (even if you have a real chonk on your hands). However, if your cat has a specific health concern, you should still check with your vet to make sure the food is okay for him/her.

Smalls' 2 Ground recipes
Made from freshly minced, human-grade proteins and veggies, the Ground recipes are great for cats of all ages

When placing your first order, Smalls will ask you a couple of questions. It doesn’t take long – you’ll only have to talk about your cat’s age, whether it’s neutered or not, and its general size (slender, average, or large). 

Your answers will determine the content of your Sampler box. So, if you want your fluff ball to try everything, choose All Proteins and All Textures when asked.

Smalls also offers a reward for all the good cats – Catnip N Chill Treats. These are crunchy, bite-sized treats that include chicken, sweet potatoes, and catnip. It doesn’t matter how picky, you can be sure that your cat(s) will go bonkers for them!

Smalls' Catnip N Chill treats
The Catnip N Chill treats include chicken, sweet potato, and catnip


All the ingredients come entirely from the U.S. and Canada. Also, all the ingredients are human-grade, meaning the chicken, beef, turkey, and fish are the same as you’d buy at a grocery store for your own foods.

Each recipe contains meat and liver, plus a few veggies. These veggies are green beans, peas, kale, spinach, and pumpkin, and their role is to mimic what cats would eat in their natural environment. However, the added quantity is small (under 10%), and they deliver important vitamins and minerals.

The list of ingredients for each recipe is available on the packaging or on the Smalls website. Overall, the main things that differ from one recipe to another are the animal protein and the veggies. The rest of the ingredients are a mix of vitamins and minerals designed to keep your kitty happy and healthy.

Let’s take the chicken recipe as an example (since it’s the most popular). The formula includes chicken meat (thighs with skin on and breast), liver, and hearts, plus veggies (green beans, peas, and kale). The rest of the ingredients are Smalls’ Supplement Mix of vitamins and minerals and Canola Oil.

Smalls' Fresh Chicken recipe with list of ingredients
The list of ingredients for Smalls' Fresh Chicken (Bird) recipe for both Smooth and Ground textures

As you can see, the recipe offers a large number of critical nutrients for cats. For example, the ingredient list includes taurine (enough to exceed AAFCO standards), a nutrient that helps cats’ vision, digestion, and even heart muscle function. It’s also beneficial to pregnant and nursing cats.

Another critical ingredient you’ll find in the recipe is salt. Salt helps your cat stay healthy in a number of ways, including by helping move nutrients and waste about, as well as helping in the development of stomach acid. In the correct amount, it’s critical for your cat’s overall health.

Canola oil is also an ingredient in 3 of the 4 available recipes (chicken, turkey, and fish). This is a healthy source of fatty acids (omega-9, omega-6, and omega-3 linolenic acid) that help with your kitty’s cardiovascular health.

The Fresh Fish recipe also includes cod liver oil, which is great for joint health. Cod liver oil is a source of omega-3 fatty acids (has anti-inflammatory properties) and Vitamins A and D, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin, coat, and bones and supporting immune function.

Smalls' Fresh Fish recipe list of ingredients
The Fresh Fish recipe is loaded with healthy nutrients, including cod liver oil

You’ll find a dash of nutritional yeast in all Smalls recipes. This gives them extra protein, vitamins (such as B12), and extra flavor. Nutritional yeast is also great for cats’ skin and can help to make their coats softer and shinier.


Smalls also provides information on the nutritional content of each recipe. You get a detailed view of the caloric content, nutrients in mg/100 kcal, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus, and a detailed Guaranteed Analysis.

For instance, the fresh chicken recipe has 200 calories per 5oz. package. Also, the Guaranteed Analysis shows the recipe contains a minimum of 15.5% protein, at least 8.5% fat, no more than 1.5% fiber, and a minimum of 0.08% taurine.

Various analyses for Smalls Fresh Chicken recipe
Based on the analyses provided by Smalls, the Fresh Chicken recipe has 200 calories per 5oz. package

The Guaranteed Analysis of each recipe is in a similar range. Fish, for example, has 14.5% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 74% Moisture, and 0.08% Taurine. Those numbers are pretty close to the ones listed above.

Every batch of food undergoes certain safety measures. It’s checked to make sure there’s no E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and/or mold in the food. Additionally, the company does spot checks on a regular basis to make sure the nutritional content is what it should be.

All the fresh recipes, regardless of texture, are gently cooked. No fillers or preservatives will ever make their way into these recipes. This way of cooking locks in the nutrients and prolongs the food’s shelf life. To keep them fresh for longer, the food is frozen right after cooking.

What Makes It Different

The fresh cat food market isn’t as developed as I’d like it to be. While there are plenty of brands that offer wet food and canned food recipes, the quality of ingredients is, at best, questionable.

This is why Smalls is truly a game-changer. But facts are better than praise, so here are the 3 main reasons why Smalls stands out from the multitude of cat food brands out there:

Human-Grade Ingredients

The ingredients that go into your cat’s food meet the same safety and quality standards as the food on your plate. Since the quality of ingredients directly impacts the freshness, taste, and nutritional value of the meals, this is a crucial aspect when looking for what to feed your fur baby.

Good Recipe Variety

Even though they’re picky eaters, cats need variety in their diet. Smalls offers 4 different fresh food recipes, available in 2 distinct textures (smooth and ground). This variety also helps cater to different preferences and dietary needs, which makes it a convenient option if you have more than 1 Fluffy Master at home.

Gently Cooked Recipes

The way food is cooked can significantly affect its nutritional value. Smalls chose the safest way to ensure their fresh food is safe to eat and chock full of nutrients. All Smalls fresh food recipes are gently cooked and then frozen. This method helps preserve the essential nutrients in the food, providing your cat with meals that are as close to their natural diet as possible.


Your cat food arrives at your door in a box with dry ice and insulators. The food is frozen before transport and should, ideally, arrive frozen with a little bit of dry ice still present, keeping the package cool.

On occasion, the dry ice may be gone by the time you open the package. When this happens, the cat food should be fine, provided it’s still frozen or at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. 

If the package is warm or hot, it can’t be refrozen and is no longer safe to eat. You’re encouraged to dispose of the food and then contact Smalls’ Cat Concierge team by email or text.

The meals aren’t pre-portioned to fit Mrs. Whiskers' daily needs. Each recipe comes in 5oz. packages. But you do get a handy feeding guide on Smalls website, where you can get an idea of the serving size depending on your cat’s weight (0.4 packets for a 4 lb. cat, 1 packet for a 10 lb. cat, and so on).

Smalls food packages in the freezer
Smalls' fresh food must be kept in the freezer until it's time to thaw and serve.

Smalls instructs you to place the wet food in the freezer immediately, where it can last for up to 12 months. Only get it out 24 hours prior to when you want to serve it to give it time to thaw. Also, keep in mind that the food will last around 5-7 days in the refrigerator if placed in a sealed container or bag.

Smalls makes efforts to curb its environmental impact. The packaging (excluding the food container) is 100% recyclable. The insulators are made from corn-based styrofoam, so they are biodegradable. The green bags that hold the insulators can be recycled with the cardboard in your usual recycling receptacle.

Lastly, Smalls’ meals don’t need any cooking or preparing. Just thaw and serve. If your cat can’t eat an entire package in one serving, place the leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container.


Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$4 per 5oz. package for all recipes

2 weeks' worth of food

Free for Sampler, then $10

According to Smalls, the average single-cat household would spend about $4 per day. However, depending on your cat’s appetite and size, the price per serving can vary drastically. To put it simply, if your cat eats more, it’ll cost more to keep her/him happy.

Smalls also offers one type of treat – the Catnip N Chill Treats. These are available for free for life once you place your first order. This means that with each order you’ll place in the future, you’ll have free treats – neat, isn’t it?

Shipping prices at Smalls are reasonable. There’s free shipping on the initial Sampler. Otherwise, depending on the box size, the shipping fee can be as much as $10.

Subscriptions typically start with a free Sampler trial for $40 (plus whatever discounts may be available) that usually lasts 2 weeks. At the time of this writing, there’s a special deal available on Smalls: 25% off your first order + free treats for life. Code: DELIVERY5.

The Sampler includes 10 5oz. fresh food packages of various flavors. The Sampler is the same, regardless of the number of kittens you have to feed, so if you only have 1 Fluffy Master, you’re at an advantage.

Smalls Sampler box order
Smalls is  transparent when it comes to what goes into your order and delivery frequency

Your trial package can include all the recipes in all the textures. However, if you want to test out only specific recipe(s), you do have the option to customize your Sampler box during the quiz.

Smalls has a 100% Money-Back Guarantee policy. This means that if your cat doesn’t like the food and/or isn’t transitioning to the new food at all, the company will give you a refund for the Sampler box.

To get the refund, you have to submit your request within a specific time span. It should be after 2 weeks of receiving the Sampler and within 30 days of the initial purchase. That gives you roughly a 2-week window in which you can get a refund. Note, though, that the company doesn’t refund individual trial items (like this flavor or that flavor – that kind of thing).

Shipping & Delivery

Deliveries of Smalls’ cat food arrive every 2-8 weeks or so. You have the freedom to decide the delivery schedule based on your needs. Orders are always processed on Fridays and shipped the following week.

Moreover, the subscription is quite flexible. For instance, you can change how frequently the meals are shipped (i.e., once every 2 weeks versus every 4, etc.). However, you can’t choose the days of the week your order will be processed or shipped.

Smalls delivers to the contiguous 48 states of the United States. If needed, orders can easily be postponed for as many as 8 weeks at a time. Just send a text or email to the Cat Concierge team.

All deliveries are packed with 2 to 3 days' worth of dry ice. This is normally sufficient to get your food to you. If, for some unknown reason, your package arrives late and the ice has all sublimated, contact the Cat Concierge team for assistance.

How Smalls Works

Smalls’s sign-up process lets you create an account while placing your first order. You can later use your online account to keep track of orders and manage your subscription. 

How to Sign Up

Signing up on the Smalls site isn’t particularly difficult. There’s a short questionnaire about your cat(s), plus you’ll also need to provide info about your shipping address and payment method. When you are ready to begin, just follow these 9 steps:

1. Choose recipes: Click Get Started

2. Provide Info: Number of Cats and names

Smalls beginning survey question
One of the first questions on the Smalls beginning survey.

3. Provide Info: Sex, Age, and whether the cat is fixed or not

Smalls asks about age, sex, and whether you cat has been spayed/neutered
Smalls will ask you the name of your pet as well as their age and whether they've been neutered/spayed

4. Select build: Slender, Average, or Extra Cuddly

Smalls question about the size of your cat
Tell Smalls about the size of your cat

5. Select the proteins your cat loves (fish, chicken, turkey, beef)

Choice of proteins for your cat
You can select 1 to 4 proteins or just select "All Proteins: if your cat likes all the options

6. Select your cat’s favorite texture (smooth or ground)

Choose from ground and smooth textures
If your cat is happy with both grounds and smooth textures then select "All Textures"

7. Click Checkout Now

Payment and shipping info screen
Enter you shipping and payment details at checkout

8. Provide shipping and payment Info

If you have any questions or difficulties, contact the Cat Concierge team. Smalls pledges to answer all requests within 1 business day, so you won’t have to wait long.

Managing Your Subscription

Managing your subscription isn’t particularly difficult either. In your account, you can see your order history and the status of your current order. You can use the account to make changes, like pause, edit, cancel, or edit your subscription in any way. If you encounter any difficulties, the Cat Concierge team is at your disposal.

The cut-off date is Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Smalls processes all orders on Fridays, so you must contact the company before that.

Customer Service

The methods for contacting the company are somewhat limited. You can try texting or emailing and wait for a reply (it should arrive in 1 business day maximum). The hours of operation are Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 7 pm EST, Friday, 10 am to 6 pm EST, and Saturday to Sunday, 1 pm to 6 pm EST.

There is also a comprehensive FAQ section you can consult. Plus, Smalls is active on several social media channels, so you can always try reaching out this way.

To test the system, I sent an email asking for the credentials of some of the staff. The message went out on a Friday and, as promised, was answered on Saturday.

An email inquiry I sent to Smalls
An inquiry I sent to Smalls Cat Concierge team via email.

Here’s the reply I received:

The email response I got back from Smalls
The Smalls Concierge team replied in one day via email

Overall, the Cat Concierge team was quick to reply and friendly. I also noticed that other customers had the same pleasant experience. So whether you want information or have some difficulty related to their product, just reach out.

Smalls Recalls

Since it started, Smalls has had 2 recalls:

  1. 2019: The “Diamond Dust” chicken liver powder shipped to customers between October 9, 2018, and March 25, 2019.

  2. 2021: The following human-grade fresh cat food recipes were recalled in June 2021: smooth bird, ground bird, smooth other-bird, and ground other-bird.

How Smalls Compares to Other Pet Food Services

  • Smalls vs. Raised Right: Raised Right offers gently-cooked, fresh food made with human-grade, US-based ingredients for cats and dogs. Both companies offer 4 recipes in 2 textures (smooth and ground) and use ingredients mainly sourced from the US. Overall, Smalls and Raised Right are closely matched, so they’re a tie.
  • Smalls vs. We Feed Raw: We Feed Raw specializes in fresh, human-grade, raw meals for dogs. Its protein-rich recipes also suit the dietary needs of cats. Moreover, We Feed Raw features 6 types of protein, while Smalls only has 4 on the menu. So, if you want to give raw food a try, We Feed Raw is a great starter. However, the price is a bit higher.
  • Smalls vs. JustFoodForDogs: Just like Smalls, JustFoodForDogs offers gently-cooked, human-grade meals. However, unlike Smalls, JFFD’s meals are designed for dogs. The company tries to branch out into cat food territory, but for now, it only has  1 fresh cat food recipe and 1 treat on the menu.

The Bottom Line: Is Smalls Worth It?

By my estimation, Smalls is a good service that’s worth taking a look at. It uses  high-quality ingredients to make nutritious cat meals that should help the health of most cats. It also has a lot of options in terms of flavors to satisfy the pickiest of eaters.

However, it is a little pricey at <$2 per meal per day. But that’s to be expected when dealing with human-grade cat food. Additionally, it has had 2 recalls, as I mentioned above. Of course, no company is perfect and recalls do happen. Smalls can be commended for responding appropriately and taking care of the issues in each case.


Is Smalls Cat Food Raw?

No, Smalls only offers gently cooked, human-grade, fresh recipes. The recipes are available in 4 different proteins (chicken, turkey, beef, and fish) and in 2 textures (smooth and ground).

What is Smalls Cat Concierge?

Smalls Cat Concierge is the company’s customer service department. The Cat Concierge name is just a fun and fancy way of addressing the support team.  

Are Cat Food and Dog Food the Same?

Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs. Therefore, cat food and dog food aren’t the same thing. Although both cats and dogs are carnivores, foods designed for cats won’t be suitable for dogs, and vice versa.

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