Abstract Immunohistochemical and neuronal tracing methods were used in cats to determine which type of postganglionic sympathetic neuron is innervated by preganglionic neurons which contain corticotropin releasing factor-like immunoreactivity (CRF-LI). Preganglionic neurons with CRF-LI have their cell bodies at two restricted levels of the spinal cord and terminate in the stellate and lower lumbar ganglia. CRF-LI terminal baskets in stellate and lumbar ganglia surrounded cell bodies, 96–99% of which showed no tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-LI (presumptive cholinergic neurons). Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-LI was used to label the cholinergic ganglion cells which innervate sweat glands: 96–99% of those were confirmed as lacking TH-LI, while the remainder showed weak staining. Every one of over 6000 CRF-LI terminal baskets counted in 4 stellate and 6 lumbar ganglia was found to surround a cell body with CGRP-LI; conversely, 81–86% of the cell bodies showing CGRP-LI were surrounded by CRF-LI terminal baskets. In 3 cats, the retrograde tracer fluorogold was used to label postganglionic neurons projecting to the paw pads (a population which includes both cholinergic sudomotor neurons and noradrenergic vasoconstrictor neurons). Between 26 and 38% of the retrogradely labelled ganlion cells were surrounded by CRF-LI terminal baskets. We conclude that in cats, preganglionic sympathetic neurons with CRF-LI are sudomotor in function.