Cats are known to be the main reservoir for Bartonella henselae and Bartonella clarridgeiae, which are the agents of ‘cat-scratch disease’ in humans. In the present study, we investigated the prevalence of the two Bartonella species on 1754 cat bloods collected from all prefectures in Japan during 2007–2008 by a nested-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the 16S–23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer region. Overall, Bartonella DNA was detected in 4·6% (80/1754) of the cats examined. The nested-PCR showed that 48·8% (39/80) of the positive cats were infected with B. henselae mono-infection, 33·8% (27/80) with B. clarridgeiae mono-infection and 17·5% (14/80) were infected with both species. The prevalence (5·9%; 65/1103) of Bartonella infection in the western part of Japan was significantly higher than that (2·3%; 15/651) of eastern Japan (P < 0·001). Statistical analysis of the cats examined suggested a significant association between Bartonella infection and FeLV infection (OR = 1·9; 95% CI = 1·1–3·4), but not with FIV infection (OR = 1·6; 95% CI = 1·0–2·6).