Can Kittens Eat Prawns? (Safety First)

By Mittens •  Updated: 10/04/23 •  8 min read

As humans we love a variety of flavours, textures and aromas when it comes to eating. We adore spicy dressings, rich stews, and creamy sauces to liven up a dish. We love to mix it up on a daily basis, having different options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and different options on different days of the week. Restaurants can be heaven for the variety of dishes you get to choose between.

The reason humans love to eat so much variety is that we have evolved as omnivores who need a mix of different food types to stay healthy. We can survive on meat or plant based foods, as long as we mix it up and get all our essential vitamins and minerals.

It makes sense that the pleasure we get from eating should be something we share with our closest companions. A lot of people love to use food show their cat love and gratitude and to strengthen their bond with their pet. Cats, like us, are fussy by nature but for different reasons.

Cats can taste a much wider range of flavors when it comes to protein based energy sources. They can pick up if a food is slightly stale, off, or just lacks in nutrition. This can cause cats to suddenly stop eating food they were really enjoying. Cats dont need a variety of flavors and textures like we do but they do need a fresh and balanced diet otherwise they will succumb to various illnesses from nutrient deficiencies.

This leads us on to the subject of treats and whether or not your cat will benefit from a tasty morsel from time to time. The focus of today will be kittens and whether or not they can eat prawns.

The short answer is, yes, kittens can eat cooked prawns as a tasty treat as long as there are no other added ingredients, especially garlic. They should be fed alongside a complete, balanced kitten food, and no more than one or two small-sized prawns should be given at one time.

Prawns can be a tasty treat for your kitten but there are some words of caution when it comes to adding these into your cats diet so if in doubt, just stick to kitten food as the safest option.

A cat dreaming of prawns

Nutritional Benefits of Prawns

Prawns are a good source of nutrition for humans and cats alike, the main issue is they do not constitute a balanced diet. In this section we will look at all the benefits of prawns but always bear in mind that prawns alone will not grow a strong and healthy cat.

Prawns are very high in protein with around 80% of the calories in prawns attributed to protein. As its an animal based, this means it’s a complete source of protein so contains all the amino acids your cat needs. Prawns contain healthy fats as well such as omega 3s and other nutrients like selenium.

Prawns also contain vitamin D, calcium and iron which are all needed to keep your cat fit and healthy. There’s a lot of good stuff in prawns but the downside is that if you feed your cat prawns alone then they will be deficient in various other vitamins and minerals that they need.

Calories in Prawns

Prawns are celebrated by human dieticians for being low in calories despite packing in a lot of protein. Cats need far fewer calories than we do with an adult cat requiring roughly 200 calories per day (this can vary with body size, activity levels and different metabolic states).

100g of prawns contains 120 calories so 240g of prawns would give your cat all the calories they need in a day. Again, it’s important to stress that prawns are not a healthy balanced diet for a cat or kitten. It’s ok to allow your kitten to have 1 or 2 prawns as a relatively healthy treat but if they eat too many this will fill them up and they wont want to eat their kittten food.

Prawns vs Shrimp

some shrimp on ice

So far in this article we have only looked at prawns but what about shrimp for your kitten? It’s not an uncommonly asked question so here’s the lowdown. Shrimp is just the word most commonly used to describe this kind of shellfish in the USA whereas they’re called prawns in the UK. There is no difference at all between prawns and shrimp so use whichever word you prefer!

Feeding Your Kitten a Balanced Diet

It’s really important to ensure your kitten is fed a complete and balanced diet so they have everything they need to grow into a healthy adult cat. Once weaned, kittens need to eat 3-4 meals a day to ensure optimal growth. This can be several meals of dry kibble or wet pouches. The most important consideration is that the food chosen is labelled as a complete diet for their particular growth stage (often labeled as ‘complete kitten food’ or similar).

Some people prefer to leave kibble available ad lib throughout the day. This is a reasonable option as long as any uneaten kibble is discarded regularly so that it doesn’t go off. Combining ad lib kibble with set meals in the form of wet food can be really beneficial to help them get used to different textures and flavours of food so avoids fussiness in later life. Wet food is good to help keep your kitten hydrated and dry food is good for their teeth so the two in combination can be the best compromise.

Kittens need a whole host of nutrients to support healthy growth. These range from vitamins and minerals to fats, fibre and the all important protein. Cats have evolved to survive off killing and eating other species. This means they gain a lot of energy from protein that has already be ‘processed’ by the smaller animal and turned into body tissue. This gives them a rapid and easily digestible source of energy but, most importantly, they also get all the essential amino acids they need to survive. If your cat is missing any of these essential elements of animal protein then they can end up going blind or may even die from the nutritional deficiency.

It’s a scary thought and it can be a complex game putting together a diet that’s well balanced for your beloved pet. The strong recommendation is always feed your kitten a manufatctured, good quality, complete kitten diet, ideally one that’s recommended by your veterinarian.

Can Kittens Eat Uncooked Prawns?

A Kitten Sleeping Beside Someones Foot

Kittens have very delicate immune systems compared to adult cats and are much more prone to picking up infections and viruses as a result. Uncooked prawns run a high risk of containing dangerous pathogens that can make your kitten very unwell.

As an added risk, if your kitten eats uncooked prawns and then licks you, they could pass on these nasty bacteria to you or someone else in your home and subsequently make you or them very unwell. It’s just not worth the risk and if you’re really keen to give your kitten a prawn, make sure it’s well cooked and fresh/well within the use by date on the packet.

Can Kittens Eat Other Kinds of Shellfish?

It’s a bit of a risky game feeding your kitten shellfish. Mussels and oysters contain a certain compound that some cats can be allergic to. Shellfish can be high in heavy metal contaminants as well which can accumulate in your cat and cause illness.

Some cats can tolerate shellfish very well and do enjoy this as a treat but unfortunately, this is not the case with every individual.

With all the uncertainty surrounding other kinds of shellfish it’s best to avoid giving these to cats and kittens and just stick to their usual kitten food.

Does Kitten Food Contain Prawns?

Some brands of cat and kitten food does contain prawns as an element of the protein source or to add palatability to the food (make it taste nice). If you’re really keen on feeding your kitten prawns then this can be the best compromise as they get the delicious taste but also end up consuming a complete, balanced meal as well.

Can Kittens Eat Flavoured Prawns?

Be very cautious of feeding your cat prawns that have been flavoured with added ingredients. Garlic is toxic to cats and can cause life threatening anaemia. Chilli can be very irritating to your cats stomach and is also best avoided. To play it safe, only offer your cat prawns that are natural and unflavoured and this will avoid any accidental poisoning.

The Final Verdict

Kittens can enjoy 1-2 cooked prawns as a tasty treat. Any more than this can cause them to fill up and avoid eating their regular diet. Prawns alone do not make up a healthy balanced diet so always make sure most of your cats calories come from a complete, balanced food that’s formulated for their lifestage. If in doubt, speak to your veterinarian for advice on feeding your kitten.

Bon Appetite and meow!


Meow. Meow! My name is Mittens and I am a proud feline writer. It's not easy taking over the keyboard from my purrson, but I am determined to share my cat tales with the world. I may spend most of my days napping in the sun and playing with my toys, but when inspiration strikes, I am ready to pounce on the opportunity to write about all things cat. From the joys of catnip to the struggles of hairballs, I am here to provide a cat's perspective on life. Scratch my chin and give me some pets, and I'll keep on writing like the purr-fessional I am.

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