The goals of our study were to review the ultrasonographic features of spontaneous extrahepatic biliary obstruction in cats and to determine whether these features can assist in differentiating tumor, inflammation, and choleliths as the cause of obstruction. Thirty cats with a presurgical ultrasound examination an dconfirmed extrahepatic biliary obstruction were studied. A common bile duct diameter over 5 mm was present in 97% of the cats with extrahepatic biliary obstruction. Gallbladder dilation was seen in < 50% of the cats. Ultrasound identified all obstructive choleliths (calculus or plugs) in the common bile duct. However, neither common bile duct diameter nor appearance or any other ultrasonographic feature allowed differentiation between tumor and inflammation as the cause of obstruction. A short duration of clinical signs (10 days or less) seemed to be associated with obstructive cholelithiasis.