Nutrition

Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food Review: Is This Brand Right For Your Cat?

Is Stella & Chewy's cat food a good fit for your kitty? This brand offers a variety of options including freeze-dried and raw nutrition. Learn more about the brand and it's recipes in our Stella & Chewy's cat food review.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: January 30, 2024 | 9 min read

A cat eating stella and chewy cat food on white background.

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Deciding on the best cat food is a big decision for feline owners. Finding the best food for each kitty is a challenge, primarily due to the sheer volume of options available. Many pet food brands seem healthy with cute pictures, bright packaging, and fun slogans, but are they the best choice? One option that stands out among many is Stella & Chewy’s. This company has been around for over 20 years, though many are just learning about them. We look deeper into the company and its cat foods in Stella & Chewy’s cat food review.

Stella & Chewy’s made a name for itself as a quality brand well before the human-grade and raw food boom hit the pet food scene. The brand began out of an owner’s concern for her sick pup and grew to become a well-known presence in the pet food industry.

Stella & Chewy’s makes several cat food varieties, including frozen and freeze-dried raw, dry, wet, toppers, and sides. They also offer kitten food and some unique formulas. But is Stella & Chewy’s good cat food? We discuss the brand’s history, current offerings, and more.

Key Features

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Family-owned brand focusing on raw pet nutrition
  • Raw nutrition
  • Species-specific recipes
  • The brand makes freeze-dried, frozen raw, wet, and dry cat foods
  • No artificial ingredients or additives
  • Made in the USA in company-owned facilities

Brand History

Pet owner Marie Moody started Stella & Chewy’s. Moody adopted a Shar-Pei mixed breed named Chewy, who unfortunately was sick. When Chewy was diagnosed with distemper, Maria’s vet advised her to feed him a raw diet. Thus began her journey into raw nutrition for Chewy and Stella, her other dog. As Moody became more experienced in the world of raw nutrition, she also started sharing her recipes with other pet owners in the New York City area. The company started in her own kitchen and became an official brand in 2003.

Originally based out of Marie Moody’s kitchen in Manhattan, the brand is now located in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Moody’s home state. Stella & Chewy’s uses premium ingredients, including responsibly sourced animal proteins, 100% organic fruits and vegetables, and no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

The brand offers 100% complete and balanced recipes fortified with vitamins and minerals to help support the feline’s nutritional needs. Along with that, the company dedicates itself to sustainability and giving back. In particular, the company commits to helping adult and senior pets find forever homes.

Has Stella & Chewy’s Been Recalled?

Pet nutrition brands experience recalls for many different reasons. In some cases, recalls can be due to safety concerns in the manufacturing process, including contamination by bacteria or subpar ingredients. Stella & Chewy’s has issued two voluntary recalls since its start in 2003.

Both recalls occurred in 2015. One was issued in July 2015, the second in December 2015. Both recalls were related to potential links to listeria in raw food products and affected both cat and dog foods. Thankfully, no reported pet or human illnesses were attached to either recall. There have been no further recalls.

Where Is Stella & Chewy’s Made?

Stella & Chewy’s is made in two locations in southeastern Wisconsin. The company is based in Oak Creek, where two production facilities are run. Currently, the company employs over 300 people in the local community.

Ingredients To Look For

Cats are what is known as obligate carnivores. They require a diet that primarily features high-quality animal proteins. While they can eat some plant material, felines need meat to survive. All cats require nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diets. Not only does this provide them with energy for activity and growth, but it’s also beneficial to keep them healthy and prevent common health concerns.

A healthy diet helps prevent obesity, urinary tract infections, and dental problems and promotes healthy bones, joints, and organs. Of course, all cats are individuals, and some may have specific dietary needs for food intolerances, allergies, or underlying health conditions. Here are a few ingredients to keep an eye out for.

Animal Protein

High-quality animal protein is the most critical ingredient in the feline diet. It provides essential elements that benefit their development and health. This includes the amino acid taurine, which is essential for cats to promote heart health, vision, reproductive health, healthy muscles, and proper development. Taurine deficiency is a serious issue in felines and can lead to very serious health issues that can affect their reproductive systems, heart health, and vision.

Fats

Although fats are often promoted as bad, some fats are healthy and essential to a feline diet. Fats help provide energy and absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Fats are critical to body function and play a prominent role in skin and coat health. Healthy fats are also essential to support mental function and brain development.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are not essential in the feline diet, though they are a part of many commercial pet foods. Carbs often come from fruits and vegetables and have some benefits, including aiding digestion. Carbohydrates also offer energy, and fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants and plenty of vitamins.

Water

Water is an often-overlooked element of the feline diet. Hydration is critical to proper body function and overall survival. Cats can become dehydrated if they don’t have enough moisture in their diet. Hydration is particularly important for cats with a dry kibble-only diet. These foods are very low in moisture, and cats will need plenty of fresh water and broth added to their diet to ensure they do not become dehydrated.

Stella & Chewy’s Ingredients

Stella & Chewy’s makes a point to use top-quality, premium ingredients. This company sources all ingredients from suppliers the brand knows and trusts. Meats and animal proteins come from USDA-inspected facilities and are responsibly sourced. These include grass-fed, cage-free, farm-raised, and wild-caught proteins. The brand only works with farms that believe in the humane treatment of animals.

Proteins include cage-free chicken, turkey, and duck, responsibly sourced cod, salmon, mackerel, tuna, rabbit, and beef. Recipes include organ meats and ground bone. Additionally, recipes do have some fruits and vegetables like pumpkin. Other top ingredients include pumpkin seed, olive oil, sunflower oil, fish oil, cod liver oil, dandelion greens, sun-cured alfalfa, cranberries, and added elements like taurine and other vitamins and minerals.

None of the recipes contain artificial preservatives, colors, hormones, or antibiotics. All recipes are corn, wheat, and soy-free. Additionally, they do not use any by-products and only use all-natural, top-quality ingredients.

Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food Reviews

Stella & Chewy’s makes freeze-dried raw, raw coated dry kibble, frozen raw, wet food, toppers, and sides. We review some of the top recipes below.

Absolutely Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels Review

stella and chewy Absolutely Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels
  • Small batch recipe
  • Freeze-dried meat morsels
  • Offers 100% balanced nutrition
  • 98% rabbit, nutrient-rich organs, and bone
  • 44% crude protein (min)
  • Suitable for adults and kittens

Stella & Chewy’s makes each freeze-dried dinner morsel recipe in small batches. Farm-raised rabbit with ground bone is the first ingredient. Rabbits are high in protein, and cats love the taste. The recipe also includes rabbit liver, olive oil, pumpkin seed, and added vitamins and minerals. It is a simple recipe using just a few other ingredients like dandelion and dried kelp.

The freeze-dried nuggets are processed raw, offering a ton of flavor and nutrition. They are versatile and can be fed alone as a meal, as a topper, or even as treats. The single-source protein makes it easy to digest and could be good for kitties with food intolerances.

The Rabbit recipe offers 44% crude protein (min), 30% crude fat (min), and 5% crude fiber (max). This recipe provides 131 kcal/oz (metabolized energy, calculated). You should make sure to follow the feeding guidelines. Kittens may need to eat twice the amount of this food as adults.

Chicken Flavored Raw Coated Cage Free Dry Review

stella and chewy Chicken Flavored Raw Coated Cage Free Dry
  • Raw-coated kibble
  • Limited-ingredient recipe
  • Cage-free chicken and organ meats
  • Responsibly sourced ingredients
  • 39% crude protein (min)
  • No added antibiotics or hormones

Cats love the taste of this chicken, raw-coated kibble. This recipe features cage-free chicken, chicken meal, lentils, peas, chicken fat, chicken liver, natural chicken flavor, chicken gizzard, fenugreek seed, salmon oil, organic cranberries, sun-cured alfalfa, dandelion greens, and added vitamins and minerals. It’s a limited ingredient, very healthy kibble. It is far less processed than many and made from top-quality ingredients. Probiotics in the recipe support digestion.

The Chicken Flavored Raw Coated dry kibble offers 131 kcal/oz (metabolized energy, calculated). The recipe provides 39% crude protein (min), 16% crude fat (min), and 5% crude fiber (max). It is suitable for all life stages.

Carnivore Cravings Purrfect Pate Grain-Free Tuna & Pumpkin Review

Stella and Chewy Carnivore Cravings Purrfect Pate Grain-Free Tuna & Pumpkin
  • Grain-free pate
  • Rich in animal protein
  • Meaty, hydrating broth
  • It can be a complete meal or a topper
  • Best for adults and seniors
  • 10% crude protein (min)

This smooth, meat-filled paté offers substantial flavor in a meaty, hydrating broth. The recipe is rich in animal protein, high in moisture, and low in carbohydrates. The paté is free from potatoes, grains, legumes, carrageenan, wheat, meat by-products, and soy. It can be a complete meal or a topper. This paté is better for adults and seniors.

The grain-free paté has 95% protein from animal sources. The recipe starts with cage-free chicken, chicken broth, wild-caught salmon, dried egg, sunflower oil, tapioca, salt, dandelion greens, and other ingredients such as taurine and vitamins and minerals. It contains 10% crude protein (min), 3.5% crude fat (min), and 2% crude fiber (max). The recipe has 105 kcal/2.8 oz can and 196 kcal/5.2 oz can.

Carnivore Cravings Savory Shreds Cans Cage-Free Chicken & Salmon Review

stella and chewy Carnivore Cravings Savory Shreds Cans Cage-Free Chicken & Salmon
  • Shredded muscle meat in a light broth
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • It can be a complete meal or a topper
  • Cage-free chicken and wild-caught fish
  • 8% crude protein (min)
  • Limited-ingredient recipe

The Savory Shreds recipe features shredded muscle meat in a light, meaty broth. The canned recipe is high in protein, low in carbs, and easy to digest. The shredded recipe uses no corn, wheat, or soy. It works as both a complete meal and a topper and is suitable for all life stages.

The recipe starts with cage-free chicken, chicken broth, tuna broth, pumpkin, wild-caught salmon, sunflower oil, and tapioca. Along with that are plenty of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. The recipe offers 8% crude protein (min), 1.5% crude fat (min), and 2.5% crude fiber (max). This shredded recipe contains 56 kcal/2.8oz can and 105 kcal/5.2oz can.

Raw Coated Kibble Cage-Free Chicken Kitten Recipe Review

  • Formulated for kittens 0 – 1 year
  • Probiotics for healthy digestion
  • DHA to support brain and eye development
  • 40% crude protein (min)
  • Cage-free chicken
  • Contains organ meats

The tasty, raw-coated kibble formula is specifically for the developmental needs of growing kittens. It has added probiotics to support healthy digestion, DHA to support brain and eye development, and omega fatty acids to boost healthy skin and coats. The kibble starts with cage-free chicken, chicken meal, lentils, peas, chicken fat, chicken liver, natural chicken flavor, chicken gizzard, fenugreek seed, salmon oil, sunflower oil, sun-cured alfalfa meal, taurine, dandelion greens, organic cranberries, as well as added vitamins and minerals.

The recipe has 40% crude protein (min), 18% crude fat (min), and 5% crude fiber (max). This raw-coated kitten kibble recipe contains 40 kcal/cup.

Stella's Solutions Digestive Support Review

stella and chewy Stella's Solutions Digestive Support
  • Grain-free
  • Healthy digestion support
  • Probiotics, prebiotics, and natural digestive enzymes
  • Natural fiber for healthy digestion
  • Cage-free chicken and organ meats
  • 42% crude protein (min)

Along with kitty chow, Stella & Chewy’s offers freeze-dried and wet meal toppers to boost a cat’s nutrition. Freeze-dried toppers include Marie’s Magical Dinner Dust, Stella’s Solutions Skin & Coat Support, and Stella’s Digestive Support. Wet mixers include shredded and paté options.

Stella’s Digestive Support uses cage-free chicken, natural fiber, natural enzymes, and pre and probiotics to support healthy digestion and intestinal health. The topper uses 90 – 98% meat, organs, and bones. The recipe is grain-free and has no corn, wheat, or soy.

The Digestive Support formula contains cage-free chicken, chicken liver, pumpkin, chicken heart, chicken gizzard, pineapple stem, salmon oil, dandelion, papaya, dried kelp, and more to create a tasty, healthy topper. The freeze-dried topper has 42% crude protein (min), 27% crude fat (min), and 5% crude fiber (max). The raw-coated kitten kibble recipe contains 40 kcal/cup.

Is Stella & Chewy’s Good Cat Food?

Yes, Stella & Chewy’s cat food is excellent. It is above average when it comes to ingredient quality and nutritional content. The low processing and raw nutrition offer top-level taste and nutritional value. The company has been in business for many years and with a solid dedication to top-quality feline nutrition.

Though some products, like frozen patties and morsels, can be tricky to find, they are well worth the extra investment. The meals have a meaty flavor and texture that cats love and offer species-specific nutrition. We highly recommend this brand for any kitty. Just be sure that the recipe you pick is suitable for your kitty’s life stage.

Our Personal Experience With Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food

I discovered Stella & Chewy’s when looking for a meal topper for my cats. I had just switched to a simple yet cost-effective food, and I wanted to supplement their everyday recipes with a meal topper for added nutrition. Marie’s Magical Dinner Dust caught my eye for several reasons.

First, it is a freeze-dried raw formula with 95 percent meat, organs, and bones for bioavailable nutrients. Second, it includes probiotics for digestive and immune support. I also like that it contains select land and sea plants for additional support. For example, fenugreek seeds support digestion and reduce inflammation. Finally, it is free of all the not-so-good stuff: artificial preservatives and colorings, hormones, antibiotics, and by-products.

The verdict? My cats loved it. Unlike other toppers, they quickly gobbled it down, and I didn’t notice any adverse digestive reactions. I was surprised at how long the package lasted—all you need is a little sprinkle each day.

-Tara Maurer, Cat Parent & Nutrition Expert

How Much Is Stella & Chewy’s? Is It Worth The Price?

Stella & Chewy’s has a higher price than many other options on the pet store shelf. We find this food to be well worth the higher price due to the top-notch quality of ingredients and careful processing. Prices vary by retailer, as well as by recipe. For example, for a 10-pound bag of raw coated kibble, the cage-free chicken recipe starts at about $36.00. Canned is a little pricier, as are the frozen options. While the prices are higher than traditional cat food, they are very reasonable and comparable to other premium foods.

Stella & Chewy’s offers some fantastic and healthy feline nutrition options. Although they have a higher price than some options, they are comparable to many other premium kitty brands. We love that the company makes species-specific recipes and has kitten options. Overall, this is a very well-made brand that takes great care with its food. We also love that they support the environment and help pets in need.

Pros & Cons Of Stella & Chewy’s

ProsCons
Raw, freeze-dried, and traditional wet and dry foodHigher price

Top-quality animal proteinsHard to find some products
Responsibly sourced natural ingredientsSmaller packaging
Limited-ingredient recipes with low-processing
Grain-free recipes
Soy, gluten, and corn free
Made in the USA
Small business
Balanced nutrition

Are You Still Looking For Top-Quality Cat Food?

We understand if you are still determining if this brand is right for you. Selecting the best nutrition for your pet takes time and depends on your fur baby’s unique needs. Fortunately, we have reviewed several other options for top-quality cat food.

If you love the idea of fresh, human-grade meals for your purr baby, Smalls may be a good fit. If you prefer more traditional options, look at Open Farm, The Honest Kitchen, and Applaws. Be sure to contact your vet to discuss any dietary concerns and significant changes to your cat’s diet.

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