1. We measured the variability of neural responses in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) of the anesthetized, paralyzed cat during repeated visual stimulation with sinusoidal grating patterns. Results are reported for 11 X-cells and 16 Y-cells recorded in laminae A and A1. 2. The responses of most X- and Y-cells varied markedly from trial to trial. The standard deviations of prestimulus, base-line discharge rate. In contrast, the standard deviations of poststimulus responses increased only slightly or not at all with increases in mean discharge rate. 3. Standard deviations of poststimulus responses to optimal stimuli were about one-third the size of mean discharge rates. Relative variability (standard deviation/mean) increased markedly and in nonlinear fashion with decreases in response amplitude, which resulted in considerable overlap of base-line and poststimulus response distributions when stimuli were less than optimal.