What are cat registries and how can they help you?

This is the third article in our series of tips and tricks and the #1 Comprehensive Kitten Buying Guide. Today we will talk about cat registries, what they are, what they are not, and how they can help you when researching breeders who you consider buying from.

What is a purebred cat registry?

It’s actually quite simple. Purebred cat registries are organizations that keep and maintain ancestry records of purebred cats. The largest ones are:

  • The International Cat Association (TICA)
  • American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA)
  • Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
  • World Cat Federation (WCF)


All of these cat registries offer memberships, will register cattery names, and of course issue litter registrations as well as individual cat registrations (commonly referred to as papers). It should be noted that you do not have to have a current membership to get litter and individual cat registration papers processed.

Although a registered cattery name does not constitute an endorsement of the breeder by the registry, it can give you an idea of how committed a breeder is to promoting the cat fancy as a whole as well as their level of professionalism.

What are cat registries not?

Purebred cat registries are not a policing body. None of them get involved in contractual disputes nor will they vouch for any of their registered members.

Because a jaded pet buyer represents the potential of negative press for a cat fancy organization, most of them will get involved if a pet buyer does not receive papers or if they report very bad conditions at a breeder’s home.

Unfortunately, they also ask for a hefty fee for filing a complaint with no guarantee of producing the desired outcome. In our opinion, pet buyers are the single most important aspect of the cat fancy, and much more should be done by the various registries to ensure those pet buyers having run into trouble with their purebred cat are treated fairly. Nothing would get an unresponsive breeder going faster than the threat of a fine and/or temporary suspension if they fail to provide papers.

Just call them!

When you have narrowed your search for a breeder to buy a purebred cat to a couple of potential options, pick up the phone and call the purebred cat registry they claim to belong to. You can get the following information:

– Verify the registered cattery name
– Verify when the cattery was registered
– Verify if the breeder is an active member
– Verify if the breeder is currently a member or ever has been a member
– Verify if current membership is in good standing
– Verify if there has ever been a complaint against the breeder
– Verify if a breeder has continuously registered litters with the organization
– Verify if the kitten’s parents are in fact cats registered with the organization

What does this information mean to you?

Let’s use a couple of fictitious breeders to illustrate how this information would be beneficial to a pet buyer.

Breeder #1

Mary Smith claims to have a registered cattery by the name of FunkyCats with TICA and claims to have been a member for 15 years.

When you call TICA, you are told that the cattery name indeed is registered and that Mary Smith is the owner of record. You are told that the cattery name was registered 15 years ago.

You also find out that the breeder is no longer an active member and hasn’t been one in 5 years. Prior to that, she was a member in good standing and has never had a single complaint against her. Furthermore, she does own the registered cats that are the parents to the kitten you want to buy and she also regularly registers litters with TICA.

Breeder #2

Helen Miller claims to have a registered cattery by the name of TopCats with XYZ registry and has been a breeder for 4 years.

When you call XYZ registry, you are told that TopCats is a registered cattery name, that was issued 4 years ago and that Helen Miller is the owner.

purebred cat
Forest Hunter Mia

Upon further investigation, you find out that Helen has been a member in good standing for the entire 4 years. However; she only has two cats registered to her name and has not registered a single litter to this cattery name. Matter of fact, there is no record of the kitten’s parents being registered within the organization.

It should be noted that all you need to do to be a “member in good standing” is to pay your membership fees and not have had sanctions levied against you.

Although Mary Smith currently does not have an active membership with her registry, she would be considered a breeder you might want to buy from. Some breeders let their memberships laps because they might not agree with some of the politics within the organization or because they simply do not see a benefit.

Helen’s information on the other hand would represent a big red flag. It looks as though Helen is breeding unregistered cats and is using the registered cattery name to lend legitimacy to her backyard breeding ways.

We hope you enjoyed the third article in this series and consider subscribing so you receive our handy dandy reference guide for you to keep via email once this series concludes.