Code of Ethics for CFA Cat Show Exhibitors

effective May 2023 

Advancing the welfare of all cats sits at the core of CFA’s mission. CFA’s activities include breed registration, pedigree archives, and the maintenance of breed standards. CFA supports clubs and club members and promotes the interests of breeders and exhibitors of pedigreed and non-pedigreed cats.

Cat shows are an integral tool in achieving CFA’s mission. Cats are evaluated with respect to written breed standards, helping breeders improve each breed. Shows provide a venue for communication among breeders and offer opportunities for the public to view our cats and benefit from our combined experience. Shows are produced by clubs that have the necessary resources to provide a quality experience for everyone involved. Exhibited cats demonstrate the very best of health, care, and grooming.

This Code of Ethics is divided into four separate Standards of Behavior, which are meant to guide members of the cat fancy toward stated goals. They remind us of the things we share in common and of our need to always act in the best interest of the cats in our care and the organization we represent.

Each standard is defined by an overarching goal, followed by a list of criteria through which we gauge our achievement of that goal. Exhibitors are advised to read these standards, reflect on the criteria, and think about ways in which they may improve the cat fancy experience.


Standard 1: Health, Safety and Wellbeing of the Cats in our Care

Exhibitors’ common interest in and love for cats drives their behavior not just on show days, but throughout their lives. We recognize that the wellbeing of the cats in our care is of paramount importance in all that we do.


  1. Every cat in each exhibitors’ care receives the best possible care at all times. All decisions made regarding our cats are made with the best interest of the individual cat foremost in our minds.
  2. Each cat is maintained to the highest possible health, hygiene and nutritional standards.
  3. Veterinary care is made available as required for each cat’s wellbeing.
  4. Every cat brought to a show is cared for in accordance with the above stated criteria, and meets every requirement listed in the CFA show rules.
  5. Under no circumstances will a cat exhibiting signs of a communicable disease, internal or external parasites, or any condition that would endanger the wellbeing of this cat or others, enter a show hall.
  6. We hold the wellbeing of all cats in the show hall in the same regard as the wellbeing of our own cats. We never behave in a manner that endangers any cat.

Standard 2: Competition that Promotes the Betterment of our Breeds and Advancement of the Cat Fancy

Exhibitors recognize that fair, honest comparison of all show cats to their individual breed standards enables breeders to improve the quality of their breed, and present to the public the very best cats their breed can offer.


  1. Exhibitors recognize that it is the degree to which individual cats meet the breed standards that is being judged, not the character of the breeder or owner of the cats. We improve the cat fancy by keeping the judging focused on this goal.
  2. Exhibitors do not engage in any activity which shifts the focus from comparing cats to the standard. This includes altering entry counts to manipulate scoring, simultaneously entering multiple shows with the intent to influence others’ decisions regarding which shows to enter, or coercing, bullying or harassing others to enter or withhold cats from shows or rings to impact competition.
  3. Exhibitors will not habitually withhold entered cats from rings with the goal of shifting points to other cats. Withholding a cat from a ring(s) when that cat may be experiencing excessive stress, compromising its behavior, health or grooming is not only allowed but supported by these standards.
  4. Exhibitors show respect for the cat on the judging stand by refraining from anything that might distract or upset the cat such as the waving of toys, quick movements, or loud sounds.
  5. Exhibitors do not distract judges from the cat being judged by making comments about the cat, engaging the judge in conversation, or commenting to others about the cat on the judging stand.

Standard 3: Support and Camaraderie Among Cat Fanciers

Exhibitors accept that all in the cat fancy come together out of common interest in cats regardless of Division, Class, or Breed. While we recognize that our opinions on a variety of topics may differ, exhibitors unite in our devotion to cats and the betterment of the cat fancy.


  1. Exhibitors accept that we are all present at shows out of common interest in the cats, betterment of our breeds and advancement of the cat fancy.
  2. Exhibitors are supportive of each other in the interest of our common goals. Under no circumstances will exhibitors engage in harassing, bullying or menacing behaviors.
  3. Exhibitors do not engage in unsportsmanlike behaviors before, during or after shows which may detract from fair and honest judging of cats. Social media is considered an extension of the physical public space and respectful conduct is expected there, as well.
  4. Exhibitors are respectful of others by keeping conversation during finals to a minimum, and not disparaging the decisions of the judge or the
    cats being honored.

Standard 4: Outreach and Education to Promote the Welfare of all Cats

Exhibitors acknowledge that not everyone in our society values cats to the extent that we do. We know that education of the public can improve the lives of cats. We also believe that bringing more members into the cat fancy will enrich their lives and strengthen our common interests.


  1. Exhibitors only present cats of exemplary health and grooming. The cats’ wellbeing is most important. The public’s perception of the cat fancy should never be negatively impacted by an exhibitor’s actions.
  2. In all activities related to showing cats including travel to and from shows, overnight accommodations, and presentation while in the show hall, exhibitors recognize that they are representatives of the cat fancy.
  3. Exhibitors demonstrate exemplary behavior and a welcoming atmosphere in the show hall. This influences spectators’ attitude toward cats and may improve cats’ lives.
  4. Exhibitors encourage others to become interested in the cat fancy and join us in our endeavors.