Bombay Cat Breed: A Comprehensive Guide


The Bombay cat, a striking breed with a sleek black coat and copper eyes, is often likened to a miniature panther. This guide delves into the breed’s history, characteristics, and care needs, making it a valuable resource for cat enthusiasts and potential Bombay cat owners.

History of the Bombay Cat

The Bombay breed was developed in the 1950s by Nikki Horner, an American breeder. Her goal was to create a cat with the Burmese’s conformation but with a sleek black coat and copper eyes, resembling a pint-sized panther. Named after Bombay (now Mumbai), India, known for its black leopards, the breed was developed by crossing a female Burmese with a black American Shorthair. The initial attempts were unsuccessful, but with selective breeding, Horner eventually achieved the desired results: a cat with the Burmese’s body structure and the American Shorthair’s eye color and black coat.

Despite the breed’s striking appearance, gaining acceptance in the cat fancy world was challenging. It wasn’t until 1970 that the breed was accepted for registration by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). The breed reached Championship status in 1976, after Horner formed breed clubs and registered numerous examples of the breed. Though still rare, the Bombay has a dedicated following and continues to be cherished by many.

Physical Characteristics

Bombay cats are medium-sized with a muscular, well-proportioned body. Their most notable feature is their short, jet-black coat, which has a satin-like texture and a patent leather sheen. The coat is black to the roots, and their copper or gold eyes stand out vividly against the dark fur. Bombay kittens develop their full eye color and coat sheen after four months, with some maturing later.

Personality and Temperament

Bombay cats are known for their affectionate and social nature. They form strong bonds with their families and are particularly good with children. Unlike some independent cat breeds, Bombays crave attention and companionship. They are gentle, polite in their demands for attention, and often follow their owners around the house. While they enjoy playtime, they are not as high-energy or vocal as some other breeds, making them ideal for those who prefer a quieter pet.

Care and Grooming

Bombay cats have relatively low grooming needs due to their short coats. Regular brushing helps maintain their coat’s sheen and reduces shedding. They enjoy interactive play, which helps them stay physically and mentally stimulated. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor their health, as with all cat breeds.

Health and Lifespan

Bombay cats are generally healthy but can be prone to certain genetic conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and craniofacial defects. Responsible breeders test for these conditions to ensure the health of their kittens. With proper care, Bombays can live between 12 to 16 years.


The Bombay cat is a unique and captivating breed that offers the beauty of a panther in a domesticated feline. Their affectionate nature, coupled with their striking appearance, makes them an excellent choice for families and individuals alike. By understanding their history, characteristics, and care needs, potential owners can ensure a happy and healthy life for their Bombay cat.

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