Stella Chewy’s Cat Food Review
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The quality of your cat’s diet matters for his long-term health and wellness. Many cat owners are turning to raw food as a healthy option, but it often means making your own cat food at home. If you’re looking for more convenient alternative, freeze-dried or frozen might be the way to go.
Stella & Chewy’s began as a raw pet food company but has since expanded their offerings to include convenient alternatives like freeze-dried, frozen, and raw-coated cat foods.
Read on to see what we think of the brand and to see our reviews for their top products.
- Free of animal by-products
- Rich in real animal protein
- Free of potentially-harmful additives
- Expensive compared to the average cat food
- Free of animal by-products
- Rich in real animal protein
- Free of potentially-harmful additives
- Expensive compared to the average cat food
How We Review Cat Food Brands
If you were to pour two bowls of cat food – one from a grocery store brand and one from a top-shelf brand – would you be able to tell the difference just by looking at them?
The truth is most cat food brands are more alike than they are different. Many cat food companies use similar base recipes for their products and some even share the same manufacturer! That makes it difficult to sort through the options to find a cat food brand you can really trust.
The good news is you’re not alone in the search – we’re here to help! It’s our goal to provide you with the background you need on your cat’s nutritional needs along with objective evaluations of top pet food brands to help you choose. We always encourage you to do your own research, but we hope the information we provide gives you a little direction and some insight.
Our cat food recommendations are based on the nutritional requirements of cats. After all, that’s what’s most important – meeting your cat’s nutritional needs.
Here are some of the things we look for in a good cat food brand:
- High-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
- Rich in healthy animal fats (ex: chicken fat or salmon oil)
- Few to no carbohydrate ingredients (especially within the top 5)
- Limited number of main ingredients plus supplements
- No low-quality fillers, grains, or by-products
In addition to making sure any cat food brand we recommend is made with high-quality ingredients, we evaluate several other factors as well. We prefer brands that offer a wide variety of recipes and those that provide plenty of information about their ingredients and products. We also consider pricing and recalls as well as the availability of the brand as a whole.
Overview of the Stella & Chewy’s Brand
The story of Stella & Chewy’s goes back to 1997 when Marie Moody adopted a dog named Stella from a local animal shelter. Shortly after that, Marie realized that Stella could use a companion. So, back to the shelter she went, and came home with Chewy.
Unfortunately, Chewy had a number of health issues but Marie wasn’t one to be overwhelmed. Using the advice given by her veterinarian, Marie began feeding Chewy a raw diet. Chewy quickly recovered and both he and Stella were thriving on their new diet. The transformation inspired Marie to pursue her passion for pet nutrition and to start her own business – Stella & Chewy’s.
The company began in a small, 600-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, NY in 2003. Since then, it has grown exponentially and operations have been relocated to Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Though Stella & Chewy’s began as a raw brand, they’ve expanded their offerings to cater to pet parents with differing needs and budgets. Their current offerings include freeze-dried raw food and meal toppers in addition to their raw frozen meals.
These are the tenets of Stella & Chewy’s nutritional philosophy:
- Premium ingredients
- Responsibly sourced
- Complete and balanced
- None of the bad stuff
Simply put, Stella & Chewy’s is a brand committed to “providing the highest quality natural pet food with an emphasis on nutrition, palatability, safety, and convenience.”
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
Stella & Chewy’s began as a small exclusively raw pet food operation but has since grown to offer a much larger variety of products.
When it comes to cat food, Stella & Chewy’s offers raw frozen meals, frozen cooked meals, freeze-dried kibble, and wet food. They also offer a selection of raw coated kibble and kibble infused with freeze-dried raw pieces of meat.
Every one of Stella & Chewy’s recipes starts with a real animal protein like chicken, meat, or fish. You won’t find any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in their recipes and they don’t use fillers.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Cup|
|Absolutely Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels||44||30||5||5||131/oz.|
|Chick, Chick Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels||45||25||5||5||182/oz.|
|Duck Duck Goose Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels||40||30||5||5||149/oz.|
|Sea-Licious Salmon & Cod Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels||45||28||5||5||126/oz.|
|Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels||40||38||5||5||208/oz.|
|Yummy Lickin’ Salmon & Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels||45||15||5||5||125/oz.|
|Stella’s Solutions Digestive Boost Freeze-Dried Raw||42||27||5||5||169|
|Stella’s Solutions Skin & Coat Boost Freeze-Dried Raw||35||35||5||5||209|
|Raw Blend Cage Free Recipe Kibble||39||15.5||5||12||445|
|Raw Blend Wild Caught Recipe Kibble||35||15||5||12||434|
|Raw Coated Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Kibble||38||16||5||12||438|
|Raw Coated Cage-Free Duck Recipe Kibble||34||15.5||5||12||442|
|Raw Coated Wild-Caught Salmon Recipe Kibble||35||14||5||12||430|
Wet Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Kg|
|Grain-Free Marvelous Morsels Cage-Free Chicken Recipe||9||3||1.5||82||881|
|Grain-Free Marvelous Morsels Cage-Free Turkey Recipe||9||4||1.5||82||888|
|Grain-Free Marvelous Morsels Chicken & Salmon Medley||9||3||1.5||82||885|
|Grain-Free Purrfect Pate Cage-Free Chicken Recipe||10||5||1.5||78||1,053|
|Grain-Free Purrfect Pate Cage-Free Turkey Recipe||10||5||1.5||78||1,100|
|Grain-Free Purrfect Pate Chicken & Salmon Medley||10||5||1.5||78||1,057|
|Carnivore Cravings Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe||10||2||1||84||915|
|Carnivore Cravings Chicken & Salmon Recipe||10||2||1.5||83||1,137|
|Carnivore Cravings Chicken & Tuna Recipe||10||2||1.5||83||1,023|
|Carnivore Cravings Duck & Chicken Recipe||10||2||1||84||1,089|
|Carnivore Cravings Salmon, Tuna, & Mackerel Recipe||10||2||1||84||928|
|Carnivore Cravings Tuna & Pumpkin Recipe||10||2||1||84||752|
Product Recall History
With so many cat food brands out there, it can be difficult to sift through the bad to find the good. You’ve already done the work to read the information on the pet food label, but is that enough to give you an overall impression of the brand? Maybe not.
In addition to evaluating individual products, it’s important to get a feel for the brand’s quality and trustworthiness as a whole.
Do some research into the brand to learn what you can about their ingredient sourcing and their manufacturing processes. It’s also a good idea to check the product recall history. A lack of product recalls alone isn’t enough to indicate a high-quality brand, just as having a recall or two isn’t enough to say a brand is poor-quality. It’s all about context.
Product recalls can be issued for things as minor as labeling errors or as serious as contamination with food-borne pathogens. Recalls can be issued by the FDA or by the manufacturer, so it’s important to look at the details to understand the context of the recall as well as the reason for it.
Here’s an overview of product recalls for Stella & Chewy’s:
- July 2015 (potential Listeria contamination) – The brand recalled 20 recipes of raw dog food due to potential Listeria contamination.
- December 2015 (potential Listeria contamination) – The brand recalled four recipes of dog and cat food due to potential Listeria contamination.
Though it’s never a good thing to see recalls in a brand’s history – especially one related to food-borne pathogens – we’re happy to see nothing has been recalled within the past 5 years.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Absolutely Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels||Dry||44||30||Rabbit with ground bone, rabbit liver, olive oil, pumpkin seed, potassium chloride|
|Sea-Licious Salmon & Cod Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels||Dry||45||28||Salmon with ground bone, cod with ground bone, cod liver oil, pumpkin seed, potassium chloride|
|Stella’s Solutions Digestive Boost Freeze-Dried Raw||Dry||42||27||Chicken, chicken liver, pumpkin, chicken heart, chicken gizzard|
|Grain-Free Purrfect Pate Cage-Free Turkey Recipe||Wet||10||5||Turkey, turkey bone broth, turkey liver, pumpkin, natural turkey flavor|
|Carnivore Cravings Duck & Chicken Recipe||Wet||10||2||Duck, chicken, duck broth, chicken broth, tapioca|
Stella & Chewy’s is one of relatively few pet food companies that offer a rabbit recipe. This is important to note because cats with food allergies may not be able to eat common proteins like chicken and beef. Absolutely Rabbit is made with rabbit meat (including ground bone) as a single source of protein.
In addition to rabbit, this recipe contains rabbit liver as a rich source of nutrition. You’ll see added fats from olive oil and pumpkin seed, but those are the only other main ingredients.
This recipe is supplemented with vitamin and minerals to ensure balanced nutrition, but it also contains probiotics in the form of dried fermentation products. Generally, we’re not sure whether probiotics can survive the cooking process for pet food but because these products are slowly freeze-dried rather than cooked at high heat, they might.
This Sea-Licious Salmon & Cod recipe is similar to the previous formula aside from the main ingredients. Rather than rabbit, it contains both salmon and cod with ground bone. Cod liver oil is the primary source of added fat with pumpkin seed to help balance the omega-3s and provide a little fiber.
Like the previous recipe, this formula is supplemented with synthetic vitamins and minerals along with probiotics to support healthy digestion.
Both of these freeze-dried recipes need to be rehydrated before feeding. Though they only come in 8-ounce bags (some come in larger bags), the total volume is much larger when rehydrated. The average 10-pound cat needs about 1 cup of food per day.
If you’re interested in increasing the quality of your cat’s diet but you don’t want to make the financial commitment to raw food, a meal mixer like this could be a good option. Though it is marketed as a meal mixer, it is actually complete and balanced which means you can feed it as a full meal as well.
This formula features chicken and chicken organs as the primary ingredients and a single source of protein. Formulated for digestive health, this recipe also contains fiber-rich ingredients like pineapple. You’ll also find the standard vitamins and minerals as well as probiotics.
Freeze-dried raw food can be expensive, but a high-quality canned food is a healthy alternative. Canned food is rich in moisture and also tends to be higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than dry food.
Stella & Chewy’s offers several types of wet food for cats including canned food. This particular recipe features cage-free turkey with other human-grade ingredients, including protein-rich bone broth. Bone broth is easily digestible, high in moisture, and rich in collagen.
Other ingredients in this formula include turkey liver, pumpkin, and dandelion. You’ll see agar-agar used as a thickener – it is a seaweed derivative like carrageenan, but it doesn’t have quite as bad a reputation. There is still some controversy surrounding its use in pet food, however.
If your cat doesn’t like the texture of pate food, this recipe might be more to his liking. Made with fresh chicken and tuna as the primary ingredients, it is cooked in flavorful chicken broth and lightly thickened with tapioca. The only other main ingredient is sunflower oil.
This formula is packed with moisture and supplemented with synthetic vitamins and minerals as needed to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. It doesn’t contain the probiotics included in other Stella & Chewy’s recipes, however, nor does it contain bone broth like the previous recipe.
What Do Customers Think of Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food?
Because Stella & Chewy’s is widely available on Chewy and Amazon, it’s easy to find customer reviews. It’s always a good idea to see what current customers think of the brand before you buy it, just as an extra level of depth in your research.
Most of Stella & Chewy’s products have over 100 customer ratings and an average of 4/5 stars or higher. Customers seem to love the quality of the ingredients and their cats love the flavor. Negative comments are often related to rehydrating the food – some cats don’t like the texture – or the price of the food.
How Much Does Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food Cost?
Price will always be a concern when shopping for pet food, but it’s important that you don’t shop by price alone. Higher quality ingredients are often correlated with higher costs, but just because a cat food is pricy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. The opposite can be true as well.
Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried food is fairly expensive, averaging over $2.50 per ounce. What you need to remember with these recipes, however, is that because they are freeze-dried you need to rehydrate them before feeding. A 10-pound cat should be fed about 1 cup per day (1/2 cup per meal) which should be rehydrated with ½ cup water.
In regard to their canned food recipes, Stella & Chewy’s is around $0.50 per ounce. The price of the recipe depends on the formula and the main ingredients.
To give you a better idea how Stella & Chewy’s stacks up against other cat food brands, here is a quick chart to show you some average prices:
|Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Food||Dry||Low||X||$0.90/pound|
|Friskies Classic Pate Mixed Grill Canned Food||Wet||Low||$0.07/ounce||$1.16/pound|
|Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Dry Cat Food||Dry||Moderate||X||$2.53/pound|
|Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Chicken Pate Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||Moderate||$0.36/ounce||X|
|Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken||Dry||High||X||$3.45/pound|
|Ziwi Peak New Zealand Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||High||$1.21/ounce||X|
Where Can You Buy Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food?
Stella & Chewy’s has become a very popular brand, so you won’t have any trouble finding their products. If you prefer to shop in-store, you are most likely to find the brand at independent local retailers and specialty pet food stores. You may be able to find some products in big box stores like Petco as well. Online, shop for Stella & Chewy’s at Amazon, Chewy, PetFlow, and Only Natural Pet.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Stella & Chewy’s a Good Brand?
Overall, we’re big fans of Stella & Chewy’s. Raw food is objectively one of the healthiest options and one of the most biologically appropriate diets for felines, but it simply isn’t affordable or practical for many cat owners. Brands like Stella & Chewy’s offer a convenient alternative in freeze-dried food.
If you’re looking to increase the quality of your cat’s diet but you’re not sure you’re ready to upgrade all the way to raw, we heartily recommend Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried morsels or raw-coated kibble. Keep in mind freeze-dried food needs to be rehydrated before feeding, so you may prefer to go with a canned option that is ready to use right away.
Stella & Chewy’s is certainly one of the more expensive brands out there, but the quality of their ingredients is high and they have a long history of being a trustworthy brand. It would be an excellent choice for any cat.