Short-latency auditory-responsive units were found in the rostral thalamus of cats during performance of conditioned eyeblink responses (CRs) elicited discriminatively by a forward-paired, 70-dB-click conditioned stimulus (CS) as opposed to a backward-paired, 70-dB-hiss discriminative stimulus (DS). Discharges in response to the CS or DS were found in 57% of 138 units tested. Forty-one percent of units responding to the CS did so at latencies of less than 40 msec. After conditioning a discriminative CR to click CS, an increase in the ratio of CS-evoked activity to baseline activity was found relative to that before conditioning. This increase was attributable, in part, to a decrease in baseline activity and, in part, to an increase in the magnitude of response to the CS. These responses preceded early components of the electromyographically measured motor responses with latencies sufficient to contribute to initiation of the movement. After acquisition of the CR, the proportion of CS responsive units also increased. We conclude that this area of the thalamus, a region thought to support thalamocortical reverberatory activity, also functions to transmit short-latency auditory signals. Our evidence further suggests that this region may participate in the elicitation of conditioned responses by specific auditory stimuli and in discrimination between auditory stimuli of different significance.