Cattle welfare is hindered by several factors such as lack of feed, water, shelter, rest and comfortable transportation facilities; the aim of this study was to assess the effect of marketing system on cattle welfare. The majority age of respondents was range from 31-45 (47.5%) and the analysis for educational status disclosed that 45% of the respondents were illiterates and majority of households owned cattle in the range between 1-3 (42.5%) cattle. Most of the market actors in the study area were farmers which covered 47.5% and 45% of total sellers and buyers respectively. The majority of households owned cattle in the range between 1-3 (42.5%) cattle per head. About 72.5% of the respondents confirmed that price of cattle is set by negotiation between buyers and sellers. Abusive handling by stakeholders was the most frequently observed behavior (48% and 45%) at Mersa and Woldia markets respectively. Highest expressed abusive behaviors by stakeholders were beating of body by stick 45% and 48% at Mersa and Woldia markets respectively. The aggressive behavior of the animals due to human intervention at Woldia and Mersa accounts about 37% and 42% respectively. Transportation system of cattle in the study area was mostly by foot 96% and 94% in Mersa and Woldia respectively. Hunger and thrust was leading welfare problem whereas naturalness is not the main problem. Generally the welfare of cattle at markets was very poor and animal transport conditions are inadequate which implies awareness creation is vital.