Renal tissues from 15 cats naturally infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) were examined histologically, immunohistochemically and ultrastructurally. Renal function and urinary proteins were also studied. Kidney abnormalities were found in 12 cats and were characterized by mesangial widening with segmental to diffuse glomerulosclerosis and presence of IgM and C3, and scanty IgG deposits in the mesangium. Tubulointerstitial lesions were also present. In 6 cats the lesions were severe enough to cause marked increase in blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, and heavy glomerular nonselective proteinuria. These findings suggest that a renal involvement is a frequent occurrence in FIV-infected cats. As the histopathological features observed were similar to those described in HIV-infected patients, FIV-infected cats may represent a valuable model for a better understanding of HIV-associated nephropathy in humans.