Do Purebred Cats Have Papers?

Definition of a Purebred Cat

A purebred cat is defined as a cat whose ancestry contains only individuals of the same breed. Specifically, a cat is considered a purebred if both of its parents are registered as the same breed 1. This is verified through breed registration and pedigree papers that document the cat’s lineage. To qualify as purebred, a cat’s parents, grandparents, and earlier ancestors must all be documented members of the same breed going back multiple generations.

Purebred status is conferred through documented ancestry rather than appearance alone. Two cats may look very similar, but only the one with the verified pedigree meets the standard for being considered purebred. Pedigree papers serve as the defining proof that a cat descends entirely from registered members of a single breed. This ancestry record distinguishes purebred cats from mixed breed cats, which have uncertain or diverse heritage.

Cat Registries and Paperwork

Purebred cats can obtain registration paperwork and pedigrees from major cat registries like The International Cat Association (TICA) [1], Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) [2], and Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). These organizations maintain breed standards and pedigrees, sanction cat shows, and issue paperwork to document purebred cats.

To obtain paperwork from a cat registry, a cat’s parents must already be registered with the organization. Registries only recognize purebred cats that meet the breed standard and have a documented pedigree tracing back several generations. Kittens born from registered parents can be registered and issued paperwork documenting their purebred status.

Purpose of Registration Papers

Breed registration serves several key purposes for purebred cat owners and breeders. Most importantly, registration papers confirm a cat’s ancestry and pedigree lineage. Pedigree papers trace the ancestry of a cat back several generations to its great-grandparents or beyond (Smith, 2022). This allows breeders and buyers to verify that the cat is indeed a purebred from an established breed line. Registration also helps maintain breed purity, standards, and health by carefully tracking ancestry.

For prospective owners looking to purchase a purebred kitten, papers prove the cat’s pedigree and help determine if it meets a certain breed standard. Papers can provide insight into genetic health issues to watch for in a particular breed line. Registration organizations often have health and genetic testing requirements as well. For breeders, maintaining meticulous pedigree records is crucial for carefully managing their breeding program. Overall, cat registries aim to preserve the unique traits and qualities of individual breeds.


Pedigree Papers

A pedigree paper, also referred to as a pedigree certificate, documents a purebred cat’s ancestry for several generations. A certified pedigree is issued and certified by a cat breed registry like The International Cat Association (TICA) or Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Pedigree papers will trace a cat’s lineage back at least three generations, showing its parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and sometimes beyond (Source).

The primary purpose of a pedigree certificate is to validate that a cat is a purebred and not mixed breed. Having a documented pedigree is required for a cat to be shown or used for breeding purposes. Pedigrees will list the cat’s registered name, registration number, breed, date of birth, gender, and colors/patterns. It also contains the full registered names and registration numbers of its ancestors (Source).

Pedigree papers provide important information about inherited diseases and traits in a cat’s lineage. Reputable breeders study pedigrees carefully when making breeding selections. For owners, the papers serve as proof that the cat is a purebred and documentation of its background. Overall, pedigree certificates confirm and preserve the purity of cat breeds.

Registration Certificate

The registration certificate is an official document that shows the ancestral lineage of a purebred cat. This document is issued by cat registries like The International Cat Association (TICA) and The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) when a cat is registered with them.

The registration certificate records details like the cat’s registered name, registration number, breed, date of birth, gender, color, pattern, sire and dam. It also includes the cattery name and information about the breeder that the cat came from.

Having a registration certificate documents a cat’s ancestry and pedigree for several generations back. It serves as proof that the cat is considered a purebred by meeting the breed standard of a recognized cat registry (TICA, n.d.).

Registration also allows cats to compete at cat shows and be part of breeding programs. The papers state who the legal owner of the cat is, providing evidence of ownership.

Benefits of Registration

The primary benefit of obtaining registration papers for a purebred cat is that it proves the cat’s authentic purebred status and pedigree. Registration provides verifiable documentation that the cat is the offspring of two registered purebred parents of the same breed. Having registration papers is important for ethical breeders who want to ensure they are breeding purebred to purebred cats to maintain breed purity and quality over generations.

Registration also allows breeders and owners to trace a cat’s lineage back through its parents, grandparents, and beyond. Pedigree papers contain a family tree showing the ancestry and help identify good breeding candidates that are not too closely related. This prevents inbreeding and associated health problems.

For owners showing cats in competitions like cat shows, registration papers may be required for a cat to compete in its breed class and be eligible for titles. Having documented purebred status gives the cat credibility in the show ring.

Overall, registration papers provide proof of a cat’s background and serve as a certificate of authenticity for purebred cats. For breeders and owners who value purebred integrity, obtaining proper registration and pedigree documentation is essential.

Limitations of Papers

While registration papers provide proof of pedigree lineage for purebred cats, they do not guarantee the health or temperament of an individual cat ( Papers only trace ancestral bloodlines and conformance to breed standards based on appearance. The cat’s parents or ancestors may have genetic diseases that could be passed down, regardless of papers. Temperament can also vary among cats of the same breed or lineage.

Registration organizations do not evaluate cats for genetic testing or temperament screening prior to registration and pedigree certification. Papers focus solely on documenting ancestry rather than conducting health checks. Some diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are quite prevalent in certain breeds like Maine Coons, despite extensive ancestral records. Papers cannot prevent health conditions from arising in future generations.

While reputable breeders screen for health and temperament before breeding, registration papers alone provide no assurances. Buyers should still independently verify health testing and meet both parents when acquiring a purebred kitten. Papers simply record lineage, not suitability as a pet. Caution must be exercised when placing too much stock in registration certificates.

Alternatives to Paperwork

Many pet owners are interested in knowing their cat’s breed ancestry but do not have registration paperwork. Breed DNA tests offer an alternative way to verify breed ancestry without papers. Companies like Basepaws provide cat DNA testing kits that analyze a cat’s genetic markers to identify breed composition and traits. The Basepaws Breed + Health DNA Test screens for over 70 genetic markers to pinpoint your cat’s breeds with a high degree of accuracy.

According to the Basepaws website, their DNA tests are “the most advanced cat DNA tests available” and go beyond basic breed identification to provide unique insights into your cat’s wildcat ancestry, personality, health traits, and more. The tests can verify if your cat is indeed a purebred even without papers. Basepaws tests start at around $95-$150 for a basic breed identification kit. While not a replacement for traditional paperwork, consumer DNA tests provide cat owners with more accessible breed verification and genetic screening.

Exhibiting Purebred Cats

Purebred cats can be shown at cat shows sanctioned by major cat registries like The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA). To be eligible for competition, the cat must be registered with the association sponsoring the show and meet breed standards.

The CFA outlines specific breed standards that each cat is judged against. Standards cover physical features, coat, color, and temperament. For example, Persian cats are expected to have a round head, snub nose, compact body, and long, flowing coat. Judges evaluate how closely each cat conforms to the standard.

In addition to meeting breed criteria, the cat must be healthy, clean, and well-groomed to compete. Kittens as young as 4 months can enter kitten classes. Adult cats usually start competing around 8 months old. There are different competitive classes based on age, championship status, and whether a cat is neutered/spayed.

Exhibitors prepare their cats at home before each show. At the show, judges physically handle each cat, assess condition, and compare to the breed standard. The cat’s temperament is also judged. Winning cats earn points toward championships and regional/national rankings.

Owning an Unpapered Purebred

Many purebred cats are sold without registration papers for various reasons. This limits the options for owners of unpapered purebreds. One major restriction is that cats without papers cannot be shown in pedigreed cat competitions and contests. Most cat associations require registration paperwork to enter a cat into a show and compete in conformation competitions ( This is done to verify the cat’s breed, pedigree, and ancestry.

Breeding possibilities are also limited for unpapered purebred cats. Reputable breeders want paperwork to ensure they are breeding purebred to purebred. Without verified ancestry, purebred cats cannot guarantee they meet breed standards when reproducing. Some registries allow registering offspring if one parent has papers, but two unpapered parents still produces unregistered kittens (

Scroll to Top