Cat Breeds


Isabel Hartley

The Bombay cat is known for its striking appearance, reminiscent of a mini panther. With a sleek black coat and captivating golden eyes, the breed has a distinctive charm that has garnered a devoted following.

These medium-sized cats boast a muscular frame that belies their moderate weight—their surprising heft becomes apparent only when they are picked up.

Bombays came to be through the deliberate breeding of sable Burmese and black American Shorthair cats. The intention was to create a domestic feline that featured the exotic air of a wild, jungle cat encased in a loving and approachable companion’s body.

This breed has a friendly and sociable nature, which makes them a comfortable fit in family homes or with single individuals.

Their personalities are as noteworthy as their looks. Bombay cats are known to be intelligent and affectionate, forming deep bonds with their owners. They are often described as having a dog-like demeanor, seeking attention, and actively engaging with their human companions.

These qualities, paired with their distinctive looks, make them a compelling choice for anyone looking to bring a feline friend into their life.

Origin and History

The Bombay cat is a breed with an intriguing backstory. It sprang from the vision of American cat breeder Nikki Horner in the late 1950s. Her goal? To craft a feline mirroring the allure of a miniature black panther. She based her work in Louisville, Kentucky.

Breeding Process

Horner’s initial breeding efforts in 1958 didn’t pan out as hoped. Yet, perseverance paid off, and by 1965, success bloomed. Her recipe for the Bombay blend was specific:

Foundation Breeds:

  • Burmese (for physique)
  • American Shorthairs (for their sable coat color)


Horner’s steadfast dedication merited recognition. Finally, in the 1970s, various cat associations began to officially acknowledge the Bombay cat breed.


  • Coat: Sleek, close-lying
  • Color: Striking, patent leather black
  • Eyes: Copper to gold, resembling those of a black leopard

In crafting the name “Bombay,” Horner drew inspiration from the city in India, famous for the indigenous black leopards found there. This connection further solidified the breed’s exotic image.

The Bombay cat has since charmed cat enthusiasts globally, standing out not only for its dramatic appearance but also for its gentle and sociable temperament.

Its history reflects a successful human intervention that brought a touch of the wild into the living room, yet in the most loving and companionable form.

Physical Characteristics

Bombay cats are known for their distinct, striking appearance that often draws comparisons to a miniature panther.

Coat and Color

The coat of a Bombay cat is jet-black, glossy, and short. This sheen gives them a sleek, velvety look that is consistent throughout their body.

Their color is uniformly black, including their nose and paws, which contributes to their striking panther-like appearance.

Build and Features

Bombay cats possess a medium-sized, muscular build, with males generally weighing between 8 and 11 pounds and females slightly less. They feature a rounded head, a broad face, and pronounced cheekbones.

Their eyes are a captivating gold or copper set wide apart, adding to their expressive visage. Despite their muscular physique, these cats are noted for their agility and gracefulness.

Temperament and Behavior

The Bombay cat, with its sleek black coat, is as sociable as it is striking in appearance. Known for their friendly disposition, they often seek out human company and enjoy being part of a family. They’re typically good with children and other pets, making them excellent companions.

Key Traits:

  • Playful: They love interactive games that challenge their intelligence.
  • Sociable: They form strong bonds with their owners and are often described as “people-oriented.”
  • Intelligent: Quick to learn and curious, they respond well to mental stimulation.

With a temperament that’s both easygoing and playful, Bombays are the type that thrive on attention and affection. They are often vocal, communicating with their families, and they’re not shy about making their presence known.

But don’t expect a Bombay to be overbearing; they are just as content to lounge as they are to play.

Daily Interactions:

  • Enjoy being spoken to and will often “speak” back.
  • May follow their owners from room to room, showing a keen interest in their activities.

In a nutshell, Bombay cats have a well-rounded temperament that pairs a love for play with a mellow, loving nature. They can be as content curled up in a lap as they are chasing a feather toy. Their adaptability and affectionate behavior make them a great fit for a variety of homes, from bustling family environments to quiet singles or couples.

Care and Health

Caring for a Bombay cat involves a balanced diet, regular grooming, and being aware of potential health issues. These aspects are vital for their overall well-being.

Diet and Nutrition

Bombay cats don’t have specific dietary needs, but they thrive on high-quality cat food. Whether it’s wet or dry food, ensuring it’s rich in protein and meets their energy requirements is essential.

Owners should closely monitor portion sizes to prevent obesity.

Grooming Needs

With their sleek, short coats, Bombay cats require minimal grooming. A weekly brushing to remove loose hair and distribute skin oils will keep their coat shiny. It’s also important to wipe their eyes to prevent buildup, using a soft, damp cloth.

Common Health Issues

Bombays are generally healthy, but they can be prone to certain health issues inherited from their American Shorthair and Burmese lineage. These may include:

  • Heart conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Craniofacial defects occasionally seen in Burmese-related breeds

Regular vet check-ups can help catch and manage these issues early on.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section aims to address some common inquiries about the Bombay cat breed, covering aspects from costs and adoption to breed characteristics and lineage.

What’s the average cost of a Bombay cat?

The cost of a Bombay cat can vary depending on the breeder and location, but it typically ranges from $500 to $700. Factors like pedigree, age, and health screenings can affect the final price.

Where can I find Bombay kittens for adoption?

Bombay kittens can be adopted from breed-specific rescues or shelters. Prospective owners can also check with Bombay breeders, who may have adults looking for a new home, or online platforms that list cats for adoption.

How can I tell if a kitten is a true Bombay breed?

A true Bombay kitten should have a solid black coat, copper or green eyes, and a medium-sized build. Employing a knowledgeable breeder or getting a DNA test can ascertain the kitten’s true lineage.

What are the typical personality traits of Bombay cats?

Bombay cats are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They tend to be playful and sociable, often seeking attention and interaction from their human companions.

Are Bombay cats known for having any special characteristics?

They are prized for their sleek black coats and bright, expressive eyes, resembling a miniature panther. Bombays are particularly noted for their muscular yet elegant bodies and a distinctive, endearing demeanor.

What two breeds were combined to create the Bombay cat breed?

The Bombay breed arose from cross-breeding the American Shorthair with the Burmese. This mix aimed to create a cat with the distinctive black coat of the American Shorthair and the physique and temperament of the Burmese.