Extracellular recordings were made in the C5 segment of the spinal cord of anaesthetised cats from 129 units which showed respiratory phased discharge. The majority of recordings (88%) were thought to arise from the somata of respiratory spinal interneurons. Inspiratory units and expiratory units comprised 42% and 52% of all recorded units. A small number of postinspiratory units were also found (n = 5). Most units did not respond to electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral superior laryngeal (SLN) and phrenic nerves (PN), but a few expiratory (n = 2) and postinspiratory units (n = 1) were excited by SLN stimulation, while 6 inspiratory units had their discharge suppresed by the same stimulus. PN stimulation evoked a long latency (2-7 ms) burst of firing in 2 inspiratory and 1 expiratory interneurons. It is concluded that these respiratory interneurons may provide a segmental input to phrenic motoneurons, in addition to synaptic drives mediated by bulbospinal pathways.