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About Bombay Cats

The Bombay cat breed is a medium-sized, muscular cat that should be neither cobby nor rangy in type. They are surprisingly heavy for their size. Everything about this animal is coal-black, from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail and to the pads of its large round paws. The Bombay was developed to resemble an Indian leopard or panther, known in most other places as a jaguar. The most dramatic characteristics of this cat are its glossy black coat and its big, brilliant golden eyes. It has aptly been called the “patent-leather kid with new-penny eyes.”

There is nothing sharp or angular in any aspect of the Bombay’s appearance. Its head is large, rounded and pleasing, tapering to a strong, short muzzle. The Bombay’s ears are broad, slightly curve and medium in size. Like its eyes, its ears are set widely apart, giving it an alert expression. The tail of this breed is straight and should never be kinked. Bombays have short, dense, extremely fine coats that lay flat and close to the body. They require little grooming. Many Bombay kittens are born with subtle tabby striping, which disappears as they develop. Like most kittens, the eyes of baby Bombays are often blue at first, and later turn grayish. When fully mature, their eyes are a striking gold or deep copper in color.


The Bombay was developed in the United States. In the mid-1950s, a prominent American cat breeder took it upon herself to develop a copper-eyed, shorthaired, jet-black domesticated cat that resembled a miniature wild panther and would reliably breed true to type. To accomplish this, Ms. Nikki Horner of the Shawnee Cattery in Louisville, Kentucky, crossed an outstanding Black American Shorthair male with deep copper eyes to a lovely Grand Champion Sable Burmese female. Through disciplined line-breeding, in-breeding and out-crossing, Ms. Horner eventually was successful in producing a domestic black cat unlike any other. The offspring of her breeding program consistently resembled the Indian black panther. The breed was named after the Indian city of Bombay, which is now called Mumbai, for this reason.

The Bombay was fully recognized and given championship status by the American Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1976. It is still acceptable to occasionally outcross a Bombay with either a Black American Shorthair or a Sable Burmese under the American breed standard. In 1989, a breeding pair of Bombays (named Opium and Bagheera) was exported to France, where they founded the European line of the breed. The American and continental European Bombays remain extremely similar in temperament and type to this day.

This is not as true with the Bombay cats in the United Kingdom. There, Burmese were crossed with black British Shorthairs, rather than with American Shorthairs. In Great Britain, the Bombay is judged with the other self-colored cats in the Asian Group. Another difference between the British and American Bombays is that in Britain their eyes can be golden or green, while the American cats must have gold, orange or copper-colored eyes. In fact, green eyes are a breed disqualification under the American Cat Fanciers’ Association standard for the Bombay.

Health Predispositions

There are no well-reported breed health problems in the Bombay. Overall, this is a hearty, healthy domestic cat breed.


Bombay cats on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean have distinctive personalities that are similar to those of the Burmese, as they are genetically quite closely related. As a breed, Bombays generally are even-tempered, gentle, outgoing, fun-loving and playful. They are especially tolerant of young children, dogs and other household cats, making them ideal family companions. Bombays are highly intelligent and unusually affectionate. They crave - and they need – a great deal of attention from their human family members. Nonetheless, they are quite adept at inventing any number of ways to amuse themselves (and others), should the need arise. Both the American Bombay and the British Bombay purr a great deal, more so than many other breeds. Some Bombays are particularly vocal, while others typically are quieter. This is a normal characteristic of the breed and simply reflects the particular personalities of individual cats.

Activity Level

Bombays are strong, athletic, agile animals. However, they are not considered an especially active or high-energy breed. They tend to be more sedate than many other breeds of domestic cats.

Behavioral Traits

Bombays are among the handful or two of companion cat breeds that are fairly easy to leash-train. They seem to thoroughly enjoy accompanying their owners on walks and other outdoor outings. Many are fond of playing fetch, chase or other games with their people and other family pets. Their friendly, sociable nature often makes them first to the front door to greet arriving visitors. Bombays are heat-seekers and love to be warm. They usually sleep with their owners either under the covers or on top of them. They also love to sit on laps, purring all the while. The breed is fairly slow to reach maturity.

Bombay Cat Breed - Pictures

The saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Check out the many different Bombay Cat Breed Pictures and Bombay Cat Breed images.

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