Stella & Chewy’s is a leader in the frozen and freeze-dried raw cat food space, but is it a safe, healthy choice for your cat? Find out in our unbiased Stella & Chewy’s cat food review.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating Stella & Chewy’s on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Stella & Chewy’s and graded it according to the Cats.com standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, ingredient quality, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. Here’s how it rates in each of these six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 9/10
- Ingredient Quality – 8/10
- Product Variety – 8/10
- Price – 5/10
- Customer Experience – 5/10
- Recall History – 4/10
Overall Score: 6.5/10
We give Stella & Chewy’s cat food a 39 out of 60 rating or a B- grade.
About Stella & Chewy’s
The Stella & Chewy’s story starts in 2003, shortly after company founder Marie Moody adopted an Airedale-Shar-Pei mix named Chewy. After Chewy was diagnosed with distemper, Marie started preparing a raw diet for both Chewy and her other dog, Stella. In between jobs and inspired by the way her pups thrived on a fresh diet, she started delivering homemade raw food to pet guardians around New York City.
The raw food was a hit with New York pet people and soon Stella & Chewy’s was one of the best-known raw pet food companies in the industry.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Stella & Chewy’s foods are made in the company’s FDA-inspected facility located in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.
The company sources ingredients from countries including—but not limited to—North America, New Zealand, and Australia. All of their fruits and vegetables are certified organic and sourced from either North or South America, depending on availability. Stella & Chewy’s doesn’t source any ingredients from China.
All of their foods are made using a patented food safety process the company calls SecureByNature®. This process involves high-pressure processing, which is a low-temperature process that leaves the food’s color, texture, flavor, and nutrient value intact while destroying pathogenic organisms.
After production, all Stella & Chewy’s products are subjected to testing by an independent lab. If you’d like to see the results for yourself, you can enter your Stella & Chewy’s product lot code and find the specific product’s safety results.
Has Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food Been Recalled?
Stella & Chewy’s was recalled twice in 2015. Both recalls were due to potential listeria contamination and affected food for both dogs and cats.
What Kinds of Cat Food Does Stella & Chewy’s Offer?
Stella & Chewy’s cat food selection includes frozen raw morsels, frozen raw medallions, freeze-dried morsels, wet food morsels, and wet food paté.
- Perhaps the brand’s most popular offering is its freeze-dried dinner morsels. These are kibble-style chunks of freeze-dried meat that you rehydrate and serve. All of their freeze-dried foods are 98% muscle meat, organs, and bones.
- Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw morsels are chunks of frozen raw meat.
- Stella & Chewy’s mini medallions are patties of shredded raw meat. There are currently just two recipes—chicken and turkey.
- For those interested in a more traditional meal, Stella & Chewy’s offers two types of wet food. Their Marvelous Morsels feature morsels of meat in bone broth and are available in three flavors—chicken, chicken & salmon, and turkey. Purrfect Paté is a smooth food that’s also soaked in bone broth. It’s available in the same three flavors.
In addition to performing our own qualitative analysis of the brands reviewed here, we submitted samples for analysis at an ISO 17025 certified food testing and analysis lab.
We bought the products at full retail price, and the entire testing process was funded by Cats.com without direct input or influence from the companies involved.
Analytical testing in a food chemistry lab gives us the exact macronutrient and micronutrient content of each recipe. The tests also look at microbial content, yeast, mold, and heavy metals, helping you ensure that you’re only putting the best in your cat’s bowl.
To access the lab reports for each food reviewed here, click the “view lab report” link in the product review.
Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price||Our Grade|
|Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels||Freeze-Dried||$2.92 per oz||B|
|Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels||Freeze-Dried||$2.92 per oz||B|
|Stella & Chewy’s Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Dinner Morsels||Freeze-Dried||$2.92 per oz||B|
What Do Customers Think Of Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food?
Stella & Chewy’s cat food product listings receive almost exclusively positive reviews, with most customers saying their cats loved the food. Some say it helped to improve their cats’ health.
Excessive bone content is the top complaint about Stella & Chewy’s cat food. Like some other makers of raw and freeze-dried food, Stella & Chewy’s cat food contains ground bone. Some say they use too much. Too much bone increases the food’s mineral content, including magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
According to a guide on the Raw Feeding Community website, a whole chicken is about 27-32% bone, while a typical prey animal like a mouse or rabbit is closer to 5-10% bone. Stella & Chewy’s doesn’t disclose how much bone content is each of their recipes, but they do reveal the foods’ phosphorus content.
The company claims that all of their freeze-dried and frozen foods have the same phosphorus content. That’s 0.45% to 0.67% on an as-fed basis. Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey frozen raw food, for example, is 0.61% phosphorus on an as-fed basis. This translates to roughly 3.9g per 1000 calories. That’s twice the AAFCO’s recommended amount for growing kittens.
Stella & Chewy’s has another problem—a lack of transparency and an unwillingness to provide valuable information to their customers.
As a cat food reviewer, I’ve contacted numerous companies asking for typical values of certain nutrients—protein, fat, carbohydrates, ash, and moisture. So far, every company has been more or less willing to share these values. When I contacted Stella & Chewy’s, the customer support representative refused to share this basic information.
I’m not alone in this experience. These Feline Diabetes forum users are also frustrated by Stella & Chewy’s refusal to share important nutritional information.
Dr. Lisa Pierson, DVM has spent hundreds of hours gathering this type of information to add to her extensive cat food chart. Cat food brands from Tiki Cat to Fancy Feast have willingly provided typical nutrient data, helping people around the world understand what’s in their cat’s food. When Dr. Pierson contacted Stella & Chewy’s requesting typical nutrient analysis data for her cat food chart, they demanded that she sign a confidentiality agreement before providing it.
Regardless of what Stella & Chewy’s tells customers, the typical nutrient analysis is not a trade secret. Many companies share it on their website for anyone to read. It’s the same information that we expect from every “Nutrition Facts” label on our own food.
“I have struggled to find a food that doesn’t cause my cat intestinal discomfort. I recently found Stella and Chewys and made the switch, and I’m so glad we did. My cat hasn’t had a single problem since. Not only is the food much easier on her digestive system, but she loves it. She’s yelling for her dinner the minute I get home. It’s well-worth the price for us to see her so much more comfortable and happy.” – Jenna, reviewing Stella & Chewy’s Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Dinner Morsels
“My bengal cat loves the duck! We give him 11 morsels in the morning and 11 morsels in the evening with dry kibble in between. It is easier to prepare when we crush them up before adding water. Takes just a minute and it’s ready to go! I like the fact that it is a raw diet but is also convenient.” – Pwhited813, reviewing Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels
“I keep reading about the benefits of raw, and this freeze-dried product seemed like a good idea. It’s competitively priced considering the quality of the ingredients, so I figured I’d give it a try as a topper. My guys, all 3 of them, seem to love it. But then I realized that the phosphorous count is more than double their regular canned food! The phosphorous comes from a natural source — bone meal and yes cats need phosphorous in their diet and would naturally eat the bones of prey, but I’m afraid the amount is not balanced. Bone meal is high up on the ingredients list. I don’t really feel like this is safe for my cats’kidneys long term. I would consider it if they changed the formula and had a lower phosphorous count. Just because something is natural, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.” – Marioninnyc, reviewing Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels
“This food is reliable, but not predictable – huh? My cat has eaten this food for several years, but I can never trust the formula – in one bag, the little pellets will be firm and well formed; but in the next bag, the pellets will be nothing more than petfood “chaf / dust”. very frustrating.” – Patricia, reviewing Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels
How Much Does Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food Cost?
Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried cat food costs between $2 and $3 per ounce, but since the food is so light, it’s misleading to use price per ounce as your only measurement. Instead, let’s think in terms of cost per day. By evaluating the food’s cost by price per day, we can compare it to other products.
According to the company’s feeding instructions for a 10-lb cat, it would cost approximately $2.53 per day to feed your cat Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried cat food.
Overall, Is Stella & Chewy’s A Good Choice?
Stella & Chewy’s is a leading option for those interested in feeding a raw or freeze-dried diet. Their recipes deliver straightforward, meat-first nutrition without unnecessary additives or carbohydrate content.
However, their frozen and freeze-dried raw foods appear to contain too much bone. Because they contain so much bone, Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried and frozen raw foods tend to be high in phosphorus and may not be a good choice for cats with kidney disease or those trying to minimize their cats’ phosphorus intake for any other reason.
This issue, combined with the company’s lack of transparency, are things to consider before choosing Stella & Chewy’s as your cat’s new food.
Where To Buy Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food?
While most of their selection is sold online, you can only buy Stella & Chewy’s frozen and wet foods at local pet stores—they’re not available through any online retailers. The rest of the Stella & Chewy’s lineup is available on Amazon, Chewy, PetFlow, and Only Natural Pet.