An algebraic quantum field theory (AQFT) may be expressed as a functor from a category of spacetimes to a category of algebras of observables. However, a generic category C whose objects admit interpretation as spacetimes is not necessarily viable as the domain of an AQFT functor; often, additional constraints on the morphisms of C must be imposed. We introduce disjointness relations, a generalisation of the orthogonality relations of Benini et al. (Commun Contemp Math 23(2):2050007, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1142/s0219199720500078. arXiv:1709.08657 [math-ph]). In any category C equipped with a disjointness relation, we identify a subcategory DC which is suitable as the domain of an AQFT. We verify that when C is the category of all globally hyperbolic spacetimes of dimension d +1 and all local isometries, equipped with the disjointness relation of spacelike separation, the specified subcategory DC is the commonly-used domain Locd +1 of relativistic AQFTs. By identifying appropriate chiral disjointness relations, we construct a category χ Loc suitable as domain for chiral conformal field theories (CFTs) in two dimensions. We compare this to an established AQFT formulation of chiral CFTs, and show that any chiral CFT expressed in the established formulation induces one defined on χ Loc.