Seventeen commercial and research laboratories participated in two comparison tests under the auspices of the International Society for Animal Genetics to develop an internationally tested, microsatellite-based parentage and identification panel for the domestic cat (Felis catus). Genetic marker selection was based on the polymorphism information content and allele ranges from seven random-bred populations (n = 261) from the USA, Europe and Brazil and eight breeds (n = 200) from the USA. Nineteen microsatellite markers were included in the comparison test and genotyped across the samples. Based on robustness and efficiency, nine autosomal microsatellite markers were ultimately selected as a single multiplex 'core' panel for cat identification and parentage testing. Most markers contained dinucleotide repeats. In addition to the autosomal markers, the panel included two gender-specific markers, amelogenin and zinc-finger XY, which produced genotypes for both the X and Y chromosomes. This international cat parentage and identification panel has a power of exclusion comparable to panels used in other species, ranging from 90.08% to 99.79% across breeds and 99.47% to 99.87% in random-bred cat populations.