Providencia stuartii, a frequent and persistent isolate from the urinary tract of chronically catheterized elderly patients, is multiply antibiotic resistant and may cause fatal bacteremia in those patients. We studied P. stuartii strains in rats and mice to determine differences in uropathogenicity. Strains studied varied in expression of factors which contribute to pathogenicity of other bacterial species. Urinary tract responses following challenge with P. stuartii strain HO (factors expressed) were similar to responses reported for uropathogenic E. coli strains both in bacterial persistence and histologic change. In animals similarly challenged with P. stuartii strain RO (factors not expressed), responses were similar to those reported for non-uropathogenic E. coli strains. Results indicate that: a) animal model studies may be useful in differentiating P. stuartii strains based on uropathogenicity, b) P. stuartii uropathogenicity may be related to identifiable factors associated with virulence in other species, and c) the CBA mouse model appears to be the most suitable for studies of P. stuartii uropathogenicity.