Buccal administration of buprenorphine is commonly used to treat pain in cats. It has been argued that absorption of buprenorphine through the buccal mucosa is high, in part due to its pKa of 8.24. Morphine, methadone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone have a pKa between 8 and 9. This study characterized the bioavailability of these drugs following buccal administration to cats. Six healthy adult female spayed cats were used. Buccal pH was measured prior to drug administration. Morphine sulfate, 0.2 mg/kg IV or 0.5 mg/kg buccal; methadone hydrochloride, 0.3 mg/kg IV or 0.75 mg/kg buccal; hydromorphone hydrochloride, 0.1 mg/kg IV or 0.25 mg/kg buccal; or oxymorphone hydrochloride, 0.1 mg/kg IV or 0.25 mg/kg buccal were administered. All cats received all treatments. Arterial blood was sampled immediately prior to drug administration and at various times up to 8 h thereafter. Bioavailability was calculated as the ratio of the area under the time–concentration curve following buccal administration to that following IV administration, each indexed to the administered dose. Mean ± SE (range) bioavailability was 36.6 ± 5.2 (12.7–49.5), 44.2 ± 7.9 (18.7–70.5), 22.4 ± 6.9 (6.4–43.4), and 18.8 ± 2.0 (12.9–23.5)% for buccal administration of morphine, methadone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone, respectively. Bioavailability of methadone was significantly higher than that of oxymorphone.