||Nine small cats, including one bobcat (Felis rufus), one Pallas cat (F. manul), one Canada lynx (F. lynx canadensis), two fishing cats (F. viverrina), two margays (F. wiedii), and two sand cats (F. margarita), necropsied between June 1995 and March 1997 had large numbers of gastric spiral bacteria, whereas five large cats, including one African lion (Panthera leo), two snow leopards (P. uncia), one Siberian tiger (P. tigris altaica), and one jaguar (P. onca), necropsied during the same period had none. All of the spiral organisms from the nine small cats were histologically and ultrastructurally similar. Histologically, the spiral bacteria were 5-14 mum long with five to nine coils per organism and were located both extracellularly within gastric glands and surface mucus, and intracellularly in parietal cells. Spiral bacteria in gastric mucosal scrapings from the Canada lynx, one fishing cat, and the two sand cats were gram negative and had corkscrew-like to tumbling motility when viewed with phase contrast microscopy. The bacteria were 0.5-0.7 mum wide, with a periodicity of 0.65-1.1 mum in all cats. Bipolar sheathed flagella were occasionally observed, and no periplasmic fibrils were seen. The bacteria were extracellular in parietal cell canaliculi and intracellular within parietal cells. Culture of mucosal scrapings from the Canada lynx and sand cats was unsuccessful. Based on morphology, motility, and cellular tropism, the bacteria were probably Helicobacter-like organisms. Although the two margays had moderate lymphoplasmacytic gastritis, the other cats lacked or had only mild gastric lymphoid infiltrates, suggesting that these organisms are either commensals or opportunistic pathogens.