Abstract Copper catalysts supported on ceria, zirconia and niobia were prepared by combustion method with urea, containing a CuO loading of 6 wt.%, and tested on selective oxidation of CO. The characterization of the samples by X-ray diffraction (XRD) presented the formation of solid solution on CuO–CeO 2 catalyst and a change in crystalline structure of the support with copper insertion on ZrO 2 and Nb 2O 5 catalysts. The analysis of temperature-programmed reduction (TPR) revealed different interaction degrees of copper with the supports, with reduction peaks between 222 and 390 °C. The temperature-programmed desorption of CO (TPD-CO) profiles showed formation of CO 2 and H 2 only for the ceria and zirconia catalysts. In relation to the catalytic tests, the CuO–CeO 2 catalyst presented the best performance, with CO conversion of 95% at 150 °C up to 45 h on stream, and CO 2 selectivity of 55%.