Smalls cat food review: high-quality healthy wet food and kibble


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Smalls makes nutritionally balanced wet and dry cat food.

Smalls/Facebook

Smalls is a high-quality, on-demand cat food company that delivers human-grade wet and freeze-dried food to your door.Smalls’ recipes come in multiple flavors and their “enticements,” which include chicken liver powder and bonito flakes, help pickier cats enjoy their meal.Smalls offers a discounted, fully customizable two-week sample from nine different plans, with prices ranging from $1 to $4.29 a day.After the sampler, shipments arrive automatically each month — you only have to return to the website if you want to make changes to your order.Five years ago, after a run-in with a neighborhood raccoon, my sweet, shy cat Phoebe began to spray. A veterinary behaviorist diagnosed her with high anxiety, and to manage her fear, she prescribed a compounded medication to mix nightly with wet food. Ever since that day, I’ve been on the hunt for a cat food that doesn’t just cover the taste of her medication but that she actually enjoys eating, too.In the beginning, I cycled through every high-quality, grain-free brand I could find. But just when I thought we’d found one she liked, she’d change her mind and refuse to eat it. Last month, we turned to the internet for something new when my editor asked me to test Smalls, an online cat food company. The company’s wet and dry foods are made in partnership with animal nutritionists and behaviorists to address specific feline dietary needs using ingredients sourced from the US and Canada. The foods are complete and balanced, which means they are formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient trials and then verified by lab analysis. Smalls’ two-week editorial review sampler box was fully customizable and would last long enough for Phoebe to make up her mind. I was eager to give it a shot.Account setup and orderingSmalls’ website is extremely user-friendly. There are a few basic questions about your cat’s needs, including their weight and build and your preferred price range. Next, you can choose from nine plans, each with a different ratio of wet-to-dry food.Depending on the plan you choose, the two-week sampler box costs $1 to $4.29 per day and comes with a money-back guarantee for picky cats.Smalls offers six options for wet food: minced chicken, chicken pate, minced turkey, turkey pate, minced beef, and beef pate. They also have three flavors of freeze-dried raw food (chicken, turkey, and duck) and three flavors of “simply cooked” kibble (turkey, chicken, and fish). The ingredients for every recipe are listed online along with their nutritional breakdown.Smalls describes the benefits that cats on its high-quality diet are likely to experience, including fresher breath and less stinky litter within a month, a shinier coat and fewer hairballs within two months, and more energy within three months.Once you’ve signed up, Smalls automatically sends food monthly without you having to return to the website. If you want to make changes to your original order — for instance, if your kitty disliked one of the flavors you initially chose — it’s quick and easy to make adjustments.

For cats who need help transitioning to a new food, Smalls offers cat food toppers called “enticements.”

Shoshi Parks

The Smalls arrives, and Phoebe (slowly) chows downOur shipment arrived with multiple packages of frozen pate and minced meat nestled in dissolvable corn insulation. For reviewing purposes, the company sent me a complimentary full month’s sample instead of the typical two-week offering.It included each of the six wet food options and the chicken and lamb flavored freeze-dried food. We also received a bag of freeze-dried chicken giblet treats and a bag of Smalls’ natural millet cat litter. The packaging was bright, simple, and branded adorably.The most exciting part of the shipment, though, were the “enticements.” These are kitty condiments that, when mixed with the wet and dry food, can help a cat to transition from standard cat food brands.My “cat concierge” Alex, who texted to make sure my shipment arrived and my cat was enjoying the food, explained that some cats are skeptical of Smalls at first. The enticements, which include “gold leaf” (bonito flakes), “diamond dust” (chicken liver powder), and “liquid gold” (chicken broth), can encourage them to give it a try. Heating the wet food for 15 seconds with a little water can also appeal to some cats, Alex said.We started out with the beef pate, medicine-free. Phoebe gave it a taste, ate a few bites, then walked away. I added the chicken liver powder and offered it to her again. She gingerly ate the top layer of the pate covered in the “diamond dust.” Progress. I mixed what was left with the bonito flakes. More success. 

The toppers helped my picky cat warm up to her new food.

Shoshi Parks

The next day I added Phoebe’s anxiety medication to her beef pate mixed with both bonito flakes and chicken liver powder and held my breath. She approached, sniffed and ate … slowly. We tried the minced chicken next, followed by the turkey pate. Her favorite by far was the turkey pate, made with turkey thigh, chicken liver, green beans, peas, kale and vegetable oil along with several added vitamins and supplements. She barely needed any “enticement” to complete her meal. The freeze-dried food was a different story. On our first day, I offered both her and my other cat, Osito, a few pieces of the chicken-style which is a concoction made with ground chicken, chicken heart, liver and gizzard, egg, and goat’s milk. Neither cat would touch it.Assuming they were being picky, I offered a friend some to try with her cat. I was right. “Nyx lost her mind over it,” my friend informed me. Nyx was a willing taste-tester for the beef pate that Phoebe was lukewarm about, too. “She loves it,” my friend confirmed.The freeze-dried raw duck recipe got a better response from my cats. Phoebe turned up her nose, but Osito inhaled the small dish I’d offered as if they were treats. I texted my cat concierge Alex to see if there was anything besides adding the enticements that might change Phoebe’s mind. Alex told me that sometimes that’s just the way it goes: “The freeze-dried raw food isn’t for every cat.”

You can choose from six wet food recipes, three kinds of freeze-dried raw food, and three flavors of simply cooked kibble.

Shoshi Parks

The bottom lineI fell for Smalls the moment I landed on their website. The simple user-friendly design, high-quality nutrition they offer, and transparent recipes made me excited to try them out. Offering wet and dry foods made from whole ingredients and formulated in partnership with animal nutritionists, this brand is an excellent option made all the better thanks to convenient automatic home delivery. Phoebe, though not quite as enthusiastic as I was, slowly warmed up to Smalls, too, with the help of kitty condiments like chicken liver powder and bonito flakes. She still disapproves of the freeze-dried food, but Osito loved the duck recipe. A third cat I tested the food on went crazy for both the beef pate and the freeze-dried chicken. If your cat doesn’t warm up to Smalls, there are other fresh cat food companies to try, too. Pros: Human-grade wet and dry food, automatic monthly delivery, many recipe options, money-back guarantee, excellent customer service, easy-to-navigate website, treats and cat litter available, nine different plans and price pointsCons: Takes some cats time to transition to the food, picky cats may not enjoy the freeze-dried food



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