An experimental transient catalyst test rig has been developed and used to investigate the location and intensity of the reactions in a two-stroke oxidation catalyst as the inlet temperature is increased from ambient through light-off at a rate which is similar to that found in an engine exhaust after a cold start. The catalyst samples used in this apparatus are relatively large by plug flow reactor standards, (50mm diameter x 70mm long), which allows significant radial and axial variations in temperature and activity to occur. The gas and temperature readings recorded during these tests show that, even though the front face of the catalyst is hotter than the rear due to the transient temperature ramp, the highest reaction rate occurs in the rear half of the catalyst during the early stages of light-off. As the light-off process progresses, the reaction zone moves in a radial direction and migrates towards the front face. These effects are controlled by the dependence of the reaction rate on wall temperature, and the axial and radial temperature gradients throughout the catalyst.