Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 10

10 | www.PetfoodIndustry.com

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SMALLS TAKES CAT-FIRST APPROACH TO CUSTOMIZED PET FOOD

possible, and that starts with abundant high-quality protein.
Each of our recipes has fresh meat as the first ingredient and
dried meat as the second, and we pushed our formulator to
the brink in terms of how much protein is in the kibble."

Educating cat owners - and the market

following the pack. We believe that if we accomplish this,
not only will we live in a better world but we'll live in a
world that's better for cats."

The future of Smalls

Cats will continue to be Smalls' focus for the foreseeable
According to Michaelson, there is a significant educafuture, according to Michaelson, and the trends shaping
tional drive behind Smalls' business strategy, as the
the industry will maintain at the forefront of the company's
company has made a point to try to bring cats out of the
growth.
"crazy cat lady" shadows and into the limelight alongside
"We're seeing a lot of the same things that most compadogs.
nies are seeing," says Michaelson. "A shift to online, premi"Most cat owners don't understand what their cats need
umization and more care and attention placed on ingredinutritionally or behaviorally," he says. "The science is dense
ents. Beyond those, we expect that modern branding and
and hard to understand. The
design will be key to grabbing
more we can teach people
the attention of millenabout cats and their needs and
The company offers wet, freeze-dried raw and kibble
nials. We also expect to see a
in turn design innovative and
cat food options for all breeds and life stages.
stronger push toward transelegant solutions, the faster
Courtesy Smalls
parency. Pet owners, and
we'll grow." 
in particular the naturally
Many of the challenges
skeptical cat owners we speak
the business is facing have to
to most, are distrustful of the
do with this lack of education
industry."
and Smalls' determination to
Smalls hopes that
bridge the gap.
staying the course and even
"At a product level, let's just
expanding to other areas
say that cats have preferences,"
of cat care will continue to
says Michaelson. "While most
engender trust between its
folks chalk this up to cats
products and the cat owners it
being irrationally fussy, the
wants to reach.
truth is that cats are cautious about what they consume.
"Continuing to innovate our food products to be as catTheir need to get comfortable with what they're eating needs
first as possible [is our main opportunity]," says Michaelson.
to be better understood. Cats also appreciate variety and
"One example is we are developing a version of our humannewness in what they're eating. This, again, is not fussiness
grade wet food recipes to work as kibble. We are also excited
but an evolutionary trait to ensure a balanced diet. All of
to consider the holistic well-being of cats and apply the same
these eating behaviors make for a tricky cat customer, but
cat-first approach to other areas such as care and play. We
our job is to help our human customers understand these
are forming a team of cat behaviorists to join the team of cat
traits and design products that ensure cats are getting the
nutritionists as part of this process.
nutrition they need." 
"Cats have important needs beyond just nutrition," he
says. "We are looking across all areas of cat health and wellAt a cultural level, Smalls is on a mission to elevate
being, and considering expanding into other categories such
as litter, grooming, toys and durable goods."
cats and cat people.
"Being a cat person comes with a set of social stigmas
Mostly, Michaelson wants to get the message out that
that usually amount to being a weirdo," says Michaelson.
cats and their owners deserve the same respect and consid"We think the world would be a little better if more people
eration that dogs and their owners have always received.
were embracing their inner weirdos and fewer people were
"Cats are weird, but weird is wonderful," he says.■
January 2020

Industry


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Petfood Industry - January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Petfood Industry - January 2020

Petfood Industry - January 2020
Contents
DCM and grain-free pet food: What will 2020 bring?
Speaking of…
News and Calendar
Smalls takes cat-first approach to customized pet food
Quality, sustainability to dominate 2020 pet food trends
Dissecting DCM: How genetics can impact canine nutrition
China’s 2019 urban pets consumer market hits 202.4B yuan
Combination feeding a popular option for pet parents
Petfood Forum Asia highlights pet food sustainability
CBD in pet foods: Has anything changed with legal status?
Onions and garlic offer flavor in the right amounts
Cat owners want first-class citizenship for their pets
New Products
Marketplace
Advertiser’s Index
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - CT1
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - CT2
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Petfood Industry - January 2020
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Cover2
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 1
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Contents
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 3
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - DCM and grain-free pet food: What will 2020 bring?
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 5
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Speaking of…
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - CT3
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - CT4
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - News and Calendar
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Smalls takes cat-first approach to customized pet food
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 9
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 10
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 11
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Quality, sustainability to dominate 2020 pet food trends
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 13
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 14
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 15
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Dissecting DCM: How genetics can impact canine nutrition
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 17
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 18
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 19
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - China’s 2019 urban pets consumer market hits 202.4B yuan
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 21
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Combination feeding a popular option for pet parents
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 23
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 24
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 25
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 26
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 27
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Petfood Forum Asia highlights pet food sustainability
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 29
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - CBD in pet foods: Has anything changed with legal status?
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 31
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 32
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 33
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Onions and garlic offer flavor in the right amounts
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 35
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 36
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 37
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Cat owners want first-class citizenship for their pets
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 39
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 40
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 41
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - New Products
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 43
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 44
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 45
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 46
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 47
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 48
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 49
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Marketplace
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - 51
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Advertiser’s Index
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Cover3
Petfood Industry - January 2020 - Cover4
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