This paper presents a novel technique for performing SLAM along a continuous trajectory of appearance. Derived from components of FastSLAM and FAB-MAP, the new system dubbed Continuous Appearance-based Trajectory SLAM (CAT-SLAM) augments appearancebased place recognition with particle-filter based ‘pose filtering’ within a probabilistic framework, without calculating global feature geometry or performing 3D map construction. For loop closure detection CAT-SLAM updates in constant time regardless of map size. We evaluate the effectiveness of CAT-SLAM on a 16km outdoor road network and determine its loop closure performance relative to FAB-MAP. CAT-SLAM recognizes 3 times the number of loop closures for the case where no false positives occur, demonstrating its potential use for robust loop closure detection in large environments.