Lumbar spinal ganglia, L2,3,4 were ablated in four cats to determine the distribution of degenerating lumbar afferents in the urinary bladder. Bladders were collected at 7, 14, 21 and 35 days following ganglionectomy. Six regions of the urinary bladder were sampled bilaterally and examined ultrastructurally in each cat. Overall, 3,033 terminal axons were counted, of which 2.6% were degenerating; of these, 9% had synaptic vesicles and were interpreted as efferent axons of postganglionic neurons with cell bodies in spinal ganglia. Lumbar afferents were most numerous in the trigone region, followed next by the ventral neck region; regions cranial to the ureters had similar small populations of lumbar afferents. A similar distribution pattern was observed for terminal axons containing granular synaptic vesicles. The relative concentration of lumbar innervation caudal to the ureters seems to account for the increased density of terminal axons observed in this region. Lumbar afferents were distributed bilaterally to the bladder and were numerically similar within and outside muscle fascicles. Ultrastructural evidence supports the position that bladder receptors are free nerve endings except for sparse Pacinian corpuscles.