Catster.com Community Guidelines

These guidelines are inspired and refined by the Community, for the Community. Our sites are home to over 750,000 people and respecting these guidelines allows for everyone to have the best time possible. While we understand that not every last person may appreciate our civility requirements, if you want to enjoy all our sites have to offer you will need to adhere to them at all times.

We ask that you abide by the Community Guidelines, in all of your activities on Catster. Some areas, products or services may carry additional standards, and we also expect you to review and abide by the standards of the areas you frequent.

Subsection Links: Sitewide Guidelines, Pet Pages, Diaries, Communication Tools, Forums, Groups, Editorial, Community Policy Regarding Advertisers, Responses to Violations, Contacting HQ

The Spirit of Catster
The most important thing to familiarize yourself with is the "Spirit of Catster." This site is for the love of cats. It is about caring and support. It is about fun, friendly and informational sharing of our passion for our furry friends. There is no shortage of places on the Internet to fight, scratch and snarl and we thought it was high time to have a place that was all about the kindness and fun of sharing and communication. If you're used to the cat fighting that happens in other online communities, you can pull your claws in and stop growling. Catster is a fun, friendly place. Take the time to be nice here! It's well worth the effort.

Sitewide Community Guidelines
Participation in all areas of Catster must be kept within the "Spirit of Catster; fun, friendly and helpful," at all times.

Your participation on Catster needs to follow the laws of the area you in which you reside. You must not, in the use of Catster, violate any laws in your jurisdiction (including but not limited to copyright laws).

A member may not create more than one membership account without advance permission.

You are responsible for all activity on your Catster account.

As the human representative of your sweet, beloved pet, you are responsible for your interactions with other members. Please act maturely and kindly.

All you need is love! There is absolutely no flaming or personal name-calling allowed on Catster. Snarling, snapping, biting and other rough behavior is strictly forbidden. Please remember that it is not permissible to "respond in kind" if another member has been mean to you. Bad behavior is never justified. Instead of snapping back, report the problem to Catster and let us take care of the bad behavior.

Take care to avoid pack behavior including ganging up on another member. Never participate or encourage aggressive behavior that seeks to silence, humiliate or drive away another member.

Content that contains profanity; is sexually explicit; depicts the torture and abuse of animals; or contains graphic, descriptive and lengthy portrayals of serious violence against animals; blood, injury, and/or death are not allowed on Catster.

Profanity should never be bowdlerized by replacing letters in the word with dashes, asterisks, or other symbols. Profane acronyms are not allowed on Catster.

Although we love every dog and cat, there should never be activity related to studding, breeding or the sale of animals anywhere on Catster. The exception is for dogs or cats that are being adopted through an animal welfare or rescue organization and require an adoption fee to cover medical and general operating expenses.

We work hard on keeping our Community a safe place. Please use caution when sharing personal information and do not encourage others to post personal information publicly on Catster. This includes age, email addresses, instant messenger IDs, mailing addresses, phone numbers, or bank account information, etc.

We wish we could help everyone in the world, but for safety reasons, Catster cannot allow for the public solicitation of charity or donations unless verified and approved by Catster HQ. You may obtain a Fundraising Request form by sending an email to fundraisingrequest@dogster.com

Racism and hate-language are never acceptable - ever. Content intended to victimize, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation is not allowed.

Members should never discuss the status of another member's account, including their own, anywhere on Catster.

Please don't ever participate in discussions on the behalf of someone whose account is under review or has been asked to leave our Community. If you do feel as though you should comment, do so by way of the Contact Catster feature.

Leave the begging to the cats! Excessively begging for rewards such as Pup Pals/Feline Friends, bones/treats, Gifts and Rosettes, Zealies or Plus gift memberships is not allowed. NOTE: There are some groups which allow this as part of their group consensus, but this does not mean begging is allowed in the public forums. It is not.

Catster Terms of Service stipulates that, "The catster.com service is made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. Businesses, organizations or other legal entities may not use the catster.com service for any purpose," however, because we want to allow some flexibility to accommodate active members of the Community who wish to mention a product or service as part of their pet's life, our only caveat is that members don't use their Pet Page as a blatant sales and/or marketing tool. Including a link or photo of your pet related product or business or mentioning it in the context of your pet's life on your Pet Pages is fine, but we do not allow the product or service to be included in the pet's name or Forum Motto. In the public Forums, members are allowed to post about their product or service as it relates to the life of their cat in context of an existing Forum discussion, as long as they're not "pitching" the business or product.

Members should always respect the statements HQ. It is fine if you disagree with an HQ action, but never forget the correct way to share your grievance is to contact HQ directly. The incorrect action is to challenge, defy, debate or ignore HQ in the public areas of Catster.

If you have any concerns or problems with other members, the proper action is to contact Catster HQ. HQ will resolve any and all Community abuses and intervene and take action as appropriate.

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Pet Pages
Please note that Sitewide Community Guidelines are still in effect.

Since they're so special, we believe every dog or cat deserves to have their own page. The primary photo on your Pet Page must be of your pet and no more than 25% of your pet page should be about things other than your pet.

Dogster is for dogs. Catster is for cats. Please do not post your other animals, stuffed animals, cars, etc. on either site!

You may have one secondary photo that is not of your dog/cat. The picture can be of one of your other pets (even a bird, horse, or other non-dog/cat pet), a location such as a favorite dog park, or a human member of the family. It is helpful to add info in one of the Bio fields that explains the one picture that is not of your dog/cat.

No profane or obscene content, names or nicknames can be used on your page no matter how cute or apropos the name might be. Dogs and cats don't like having their mouths washed out with soap!

Links to music videos and other media content which are located on websites other than Catster must still follow the same family-friendly guidelines.

All photos and videos that you upload through Catster must be of your pets, family, etc. Please take care not to post any content that isn't yours.

Since we want to help all of our furry friends find forever homes, Adoptable Pet Pages can be posted through viable rescue or foster operations but must be updated when the dog/cat is adopted. We can even transfer the page to the new owner!

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Diaries
Please note that Sitewide Community Guidelines are still in effect.

Diaries are a place to express yourself and your cat's feelings and talk about what's important to both of you. They are a place to delve further into your stories, feelings and funny thoughts as long as you adhere to Catster's overall Community Guidelines.

It's ok to talk respectfully about other Community members but Diary entries should never contain disrespectful postings about other Catster community members. It's not what diaries are for.

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Catster Communication Tools (Paw Mail, Pup Pal Requests, Instant Messaging, Gifts and Rosettes, Answers, Comments)
Please note that Sitewide Community Guidelines are still in effect.

Catster Messaging is a fun, positive way for Catster members to connect on the site.

Messaging should never be used to convey any statements that are not fun, friendly or helpful.

Messaging is only acceptable between two happily engaged Catster members. If a user does not reply, or requests to terminate communications, it must be respected at all times.

Messaging should be unique. No repetitive or 'bulk' style messages are permitted.

No unsolicited advertisements for goods or services are permitted.

Members should be aware that Catster does retain archives of all Catster Communication Tools, which can be accessed if needed to review activity on a member's account.

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Forums
Please note that Sitewide Community Guidelines are still in effect.

Remember that you are receiving advice from other cat lovers. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a professional.

Forum discussions are to be fun, friendly and informative at all times.

It is never appropriate to personally attack anyone. Snarling, snapping, biting and other rough behavior is strictly forbidden. Posts that are not considered friendly, civil and open to all will likely be Community moderated within minutes.

While the Forums are great for sharing information, they are lousy for gaining consensus or debating emotional issues. Please do not engage in arguments. Always take a breath and count to ten if you find a forum thread is making you feel emotional. Consider that text on a page is easy to misinterpret. Consider how easily your words may be misinterpreted, as well. Ending a rant with a smiley face does not make it fun or validate as 'only joking'. Starting an entry with "I don't mean to be rude, but..." does not mean one can be rude. In public forums the best and easiest way to respond to a person that is behaving inappropriately is to simply ignore them and that topic.

Assume good will and allow that the poster may not have intended for the message to be interpreted the way it came across to you. Before responding always consider how you would feel if someone else had written the same thing to you. Civility is always required while on Catster.

Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice.

New forum threads should only be posted in one topic area.

Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions.

The Community has requested that members do not post non-dog/cat related political and religious statements in the forums, including Forum Mottos, and we agree. While no one forgets there is a big world out there, there are so few places we are free from the pains of the non-pet world, which we like to keep the public forums that way.

If you feel that a forum post is against our guidelines, please use the "Notify" link at the bottom of the message. When notifying on a post you should always give an explanation so our moderators can clearly understand your reasoning. The Moderators are diligent about reviewing flagged posts and taking appropriate action within a reasonable amount of time.

Please note that misusing the notification link is a very serious offense. If you purposefully pull a forum entry because of any reason other than inappropriate content in that post you risk losing your rights to participate in the forums.

Members should always respect the statements of forum moderators and HQ. It is fine if you disagree with HQ or a moderator action, but never forget the correct way to share your grievance is to directly contact HQ. The incorrect action is to challenge, defy, debate or ignore the moderator or HQ action in any of the public forums.

CatsterPlus subscribers should never use the Plus Forums to post about non-Plus subscribers.

Note that there is a 2-week waiting period for new members to post in the Social Funs Forums. This policy was created for the safety of our members - we want you to take time to get to know each other! It is not appropriate to try to circumvent this policy by posting social fun requests in other forum topics on the site.

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Groups
Please note that Sitewide Community Guidelines are still in effect.

Catster Groups are a place to hang out with like-minded Community members. Membership is voluntary and at your discretion.

Group Administrators are responsible for managing a Group, including the monitoring of member participation within the Group for adherence to Community Guidelines, moderating Group Forums and Messaging and responding to Group member questions and concerns.

Group Administrators determine the policy for fundraising in their Groups and are responsible for managing fundraising efforts within the Group. All fundraising requests must be submitted to a Group Administrator for approval. Group Administrators are responsible for verifying the validity of fundraising requests in their Group.

A list of a Group's Administrators is available at the bottom of the Group's main page.

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Editorial
Catster's editors take it upon themselves to cover the important cat issues of the day - and often the stories we relay require a mature audience. On some days we'll have articles that will have readers reaching for tissue or outraged at a sad event in which our favorite four-legged creatures were involved. Our editorial team does not shy away from taking the abusers of our feline friends to task, and sometimes the message we have for these subpar members of society is not for children.

All editorial sections of the site follow a different set of rules from the Community sections of the site. Our editorial items are for adults who can agree to disagree on occasion, but are respectful of each other's opinions regardless.

Since our content is for adults, we expect readers to act like adults. While we do not have the resources for constant comment moderation, we will remove comments that are abusive (and contain personal attacks or racist epithets) at our discretion.

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Catster.com Community Policy Regarding Advertisers

Catster goes to great lengths to only allow community-appropriate advertising on our sites. We do not allow advertisements for pet sales, breeding or studding. We do not allow advertisements for liquor, gambling, adult or mature categories. We do not allow ads that are deceptive or for harvesting contact info.

We do allow ads for all products that are approved by the US FDA and/or sold in supermarkets, big box stores, vet clinics, amazon.com and other popular stores. In general we allow advertisers of any product that is popular with a great number of pet owners.

Our approved advertisers are very important and we appreciate them all. Without them, running and operating these sites would simply not be possible. They make these wonderful communities possible and we are lucky to have them. We sincerely hope you will always be open to considering their offerings.

Because of our advertisers' important role in facilitating what we all value so much, we do not allow for anyone to write things that slander, berate or attack the advertiser (as determined by Dogster Inc and our moderators) in any public places on our sites. We also do not allow statements that will insult, belittle or discourage other users who may use or be considering that advertiser's product or service. We do allow civil discussion (as determined by Dogster Inc and our moderators) as long as it is helpful, informational and kind. Public spaces include forums, public groups, diaries, pet pages and anywhere else that isn't limited to restricted private access. If you do not like an advertiser on one of our sites, that is your prerogative, but if you like our sites and like using them, it's our term of our service that you publicly treat advertisers, their customers and an advertiser's presence here with civility and respect.

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Responses to Violations
Catster HQ has the right to take action if you disregard the Community Guidelines. Violators risk having their content edited or removed. Furthermore Catster reserves the right to revoke any abusive user's privileges on the site altogether, up to and including the deletion of all pet pages, photos, diary entries, messages and other user created content. Due to the nature of the site, it's unlikely that warnings can be given to all violators in advance.

At times, Catster HQ might place an account under temporary review. If your account is under review by Catster HQ, under no circumstances should you try to create a new account, login using another person's account or try and circumvent the review process in any way. You should respect the hard work and tried and true practices and policies of HQ, which are designed to err on the side of caution. Attempting to circumvent a timeout, kenneling or temporary review could result in losing permanent rights of membership.

If you have done anything so extreme as to lose your membership rights, you will lose all rights to create an account, pet pages or participate in community features. Any attempt to circumvent this ban will guarantee that your membership status can never be reconsidered.

If you are unsure of the exact meaning of any of these terms simply seek clarification from HQ before risking an abuse.

Also note, that while we profoundly value your privacy and as a rule ignore all private conversations and actions, please remember that if we need to research any abuse of our community terms we retain the right to review all private messaging, Forum posts, Rosettes, Group messaging, IM conversation, Comments or any other communication done through the site. Also note that such information is for our eyes only and is never shared beyond our immediate team.

Out of respect for our members' privacy, Catster will not discuss a member's account with other members of the Community.

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Contacting HQ
Catster depends on the Community to help us moderate the site for violations of Community Guidelines. The 'Notify' features Catster has in place are for the benefit and safety of the entire Community. If you feel that there are members abusing a policy, please use one of the many "Notify" or "Tell Catster" links located throughout the site or visit Catster Community Site Support. Community violations are taken very seriously. We take care to review and address every concern.

We strive to respond to any Community issue within 24 hours, but please note that it can take up to 72 hours, especially on weekends, to have adequate time to respond. It's very important to remember that on occasions when we cannot respond as quickly as desired, this in no way allows for terms of the Community Guidelines to be ignored.

Never forget two wrongs never make a right. If someone behaves badly, no one else is ever justified in breaking any of our terms in response. Ever.

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Always Room for Improvement
If you have ideas for the Community Guidelines please share them with us. The community is always changing and the guidelines should always stay up-to-date.

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