Interstitial fluid pressure (IFP), i.e., the pressure in a saline-filled tube brought into contact with the interstitium, has been measured in cats with two "acute" [micropipettes and wick-in-needle (WIN)] and two chronic (perforated and porous capsules) methods. In a control situation, similar pressures of -1.5 and -1.6 mm Hg were recorded in skin with micropipettes and both types of capsules, respectively, while WIN pressure in subcutis was -1.2 mm Hg. IFP in skeletal muscle was -0.5, -0.5, and -1.1 mm Hg as recorded with micropipettes, WIN, and porous capsules, respectively. During infusion of Ringer's solution, pressures in both types of capsules rose by 4 to 6 mm Hg, while pressure recorded with the acute methods increased by 1 to 1.5 mm Hg only. Two hours after infusion all techniques gave similar pressures. Peritoneal dialysis for 2 hours reduced micropipette and WIN pressures by 3 to 4 mm Hg. Pressure in perforated capsules fell by 10 mm Hg during dialysis and remained low for an additional 2 hours, while porous capsule pressure fell by 7 mm Hg during dialysis but thereafter increased and reached the pressure recorded with micropipettes and WIN 2 hours after ended dialysis. In both overhydration and dehydration, capsules probably react to changes in interstitial fluid colloid osmotic pressure; in overhydration the capsules react also to changes in capillary pressure, resulting in the discrepancy between chronic and acute methods during non-steady-state conditions. In conclusion, acute and chronic methods record similar pressures during steady-state conditions, but the chronic methods are sensitive to changes in vascular pressure and interstitial fluid colloid osmotic pressure and are therefore not suitable for measuring the changes that occur in IFP within a few hours.