A variable response following ductal ligation of feline salivary glands corresponds to the human condition but contrasts with a predictable atrophy in obstructed salivary glands of rodents popularly used as a model for human salivary problems. The present investigation is concerned with a possible reason for the variable response, namely the preservation of the innervation. Ducts of feline submandibular and sublingual salivary glands were ligated with or without the inclusion of the chorda tympani. Inclusion led to a delayed initial response followed by progressive atrophy until the parenchyma was extremely atrophic, whereas avoidance of the chorda led to the variable response in which variable numbers of acini of a similar form to normal persisted. The results establish the atrophic effect of inclusion of the chorda tympani in ductal ligation and indicate the caution that should be exercised in the extrapolation of the rodent model to the human condition.