Sixty cats which underwent an ovariohysterectomy were randomly allocated into four treatment groups. One group (controls) received no analgesics postoperatively, and the others received either a single dose of buprenorphine (0.006mg/kg) intramuscularly, or pethidine (5 mg/kg) intramuscularly, or ketoprofen (2 mg/kg) subcutaneously. The analgesia obtained after each treatment was assessed by three measures. There were significant differences between the groups both for the requirement for intervention analgesia (P=0.0008) and for the overall clinical assessment (P=0.0003) with ketoprofen requiring least intervention analgesia and having the best overall clinical assessment, followed by buprenorphine then pethidine. The control group required the most intervention analgesia and had the worst overall clinical assessment. Visual analogue scale scoring for pain produced significant differences between the groups from one hour after the operation, with the cats which were given ketoprofen tending to have lower pain scores than the other groups.