During the past decade, the sintering of model supported metal catalysts, i.e. catalysts consisting of metal deposited on very thin and flat oxide films, has been intensively investigated by transmission electron microscopy. In the current paper, a mathematical model, based on an atomic migration mechanism, for the sintering of these catalysts is presented. The predictions of the model, based on Monte Carlo simulations, are in very good agreement with the experimental observations, i.e. phenomena such as ‘apparent’ particle migration, splitting and neck formation between particles are predicated by the model.