Within 4 weeks, five cats with skin lesions affecting the hindlimbs and mainly consisting of oedema, hyperaemia and plaque-like alterations were presented to the same veterinary clinic. The cats were suffering from lameness, trauma, renal insufficiency or complicated tail amputation. Although the lesions seemed unusual for a poxvirus infection, microscopical examination of biopsy samples or specimens taken during necropsy examination revealed ballooning degeneration of keratinocytes with eosinophilic, cytoplasmic inclusion bodies indicative of an orthopoxvirus infection. Cowpox virus infection was verified using immunohistochemistry and virus isolation. Molecular analysis revealed identical haemagglutinin gene sequences in four cases and spatiotemporal circumstances in some cases pointed to hospital-acquired transmission. Unusual manifestations of feline cowpox may have an unexpected risk for human infection.