A cross-sectional survey of a convenience-sample of 740 cats was undertaken to obtain an estimate of the prevalence of Bordetella bronchiseptica infection, and to identify risk factors that might predispose them to the infection. Data on individual cats and household variables, including disease status and animal contacts were obtained by questionnaire. B bronchiseptica was isolated from 82 (11 per cent) of the cats sampled. The prevalence of B bronchiseptica varied with the type of household sampled, being 19.5 per cent in rescue catteries, 9 per cent in breeding catteries, 13.5 per cent in research colonies, and 0 per cent in household pets. On the basis of a univariable analysis, 19 of 29 predictor variables were found to be significantly associated with the isolation of B bronchiseptica, including an association with cats in rescue catteries, and with cats from premises with larger numbers of animals. Separate analysis of the rescue cattery subpopulation showed a highly significant association on multivariable analysis with current respiratory disease, suggesting that different risk fadors may operate in this type of environment. In the whole sample there was also a strong association with cats from households containing a dog with recent respiratory tract disease. The clinical signs observed in the B bronchiseptica-positive cats included sneezing, ocular and nasal discharges and coughing, although only the association with sneezing was statistically significant. There was no significant association between the isolation of B bronchiseptica and the isolation of respiratory viruses, suggesting that in some circumstances B bronchiseptica may be able to cause disease independently.