The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of acquired antimicrobial resistance in the resident intestinal microbiota of cats and to identify significant differences between various cat populations. Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, E. faecium and Streptococcus canis were isolated as faecal indicator bacteria from rectal swabs of 47 individually owned cats, 47 cattery cats and 18 hospitalised cats, and submitted through antimicrobial sensitivity tests. The results revealed that bacteria isolated from hospitalised and/or cattery cats were more frequently resistant than those from individually owned cats. E. coli isolates from hospitalised cats were particularly resistant to ampicillin, tetracycline and sulfonamide. Both enterococci and streptococci showed high resistance to tetracycline and in somewhat lesser extent to erythromycin and tylosin. Most E. faecium isolates were resistant to lincomycin and penicillin. One E. faecalis as well as one E. faecium isolate from hospitalised cats showed 'high-level resistance' (MIC > 500 microg/ml) against gentamicin, a commonly used antimicrobial agent in case of human enterococcal infections. The results of this research demonstrate that the extent of acquired antimicrobial resistance in the intestinal microbiota of cats depends on the social environment of the investigated population. It is obvious that the flora of healthy cats may act as a reservoir of resistance genes.