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Bombay Cat Breed

Updated on May 24, 2014
The jet black short silky coat is the defining feature of Bombay cats.
The jet black short silky coat is the defining feature of Bombay cats. | Source

What is a Bombay cat?

Lets start with a little bit of confusion, there are actually two different standards that define the Bombay cat breed, the British and the Amarican. This might well be because the breed is closely related to the Burmese cat, of which there are also British and American strains. The American Bombay cat was created by crossing a burmese cat with an American shorthair, in an attempt to create a jet black, panther like cat. In fact the Bombay cat is sometimes referred to as a "parlour panther".

An American shorthair cat, one of the breeds used to create the Bombay.
An American shorthair cat, one of the breeds used to create the Bombay. | Source
The Bombay gets its stocky body shape from the Burmese cat, the other breed from which it was developed.
The Bombay gets its stocky body shape from the Burmese cat, the other breed from which it was developed. | Source

History of the Bombay Cat Breed

The breed was developed in 1958 by an American breeder, Nikki Horner, who wanted to produce a cat with the body of a Burmese, but with jet black coat and copper eyes. To achieve this she crossed an American shorthair cat, with the coat eye colour that she desired, and her champion Burmese cats. It took several attempts to produce a cat with the characteristics that she desired. The breed is named after Bombay, where the Indian black Panther is found.

Although she had eventually obtained the cats with the colour and body shape that she wanted, which bred true for those characteristics, it was not until the 1976 that the breed could be registered by the Cat Fancier's Association, and became a recognised breed. This meant that Bombay cats could be entered into shows and official champion cats were recognised. Despite this development the breed is still quite rare today.

Characteristic of the Bombay Cat Breed

The Cat Fanciers Association defines the breed standard for the Bombay cat. It describes a medium sized, muscular cat that is surprisingly heavy for its size. The defining characteristic is its short, glossy, satin-like coat that is black even at the roots. Young kittens are often born in lighter, sable colour but will darken with age. Nose or paw pads that are not black will disqualify the cat from shows.

The head should be rounded with widely set eyes that are copper or gold coloured. Green eyes are not acceptable.

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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Bombay is the old name of Mumbai. The breed was named after the city, home of the Indian black panther.

Even the bottoms of a Bombay cat's paws are black
Even the bottoms of a Bombay cat's paws are black | Source

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The Bombay Cat Personality

Owning a bombay is as close to having a dog as a cat owner is likely to get. They are very sociable, very different from the aloof, self-reliant stereotype most people have about cats. This makes them an excellent cat to have around children, but not very good if you need to leave your feline friend alone in the house while you go to work.

Bombays are very active and intelligent. They can be trained to walk on a leash and fetch, like a dog.

The cats appear to love heat, they will often seek the hottest place in the house to relax in. They also love to eat, and will often beg for food constantly. Giving them extra treats should be avoided, however, since this can lead to obesity and diabetes.


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    • Lizam1 profile image


      6 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks for this hub. I am wondering if our little black cat Kate has Bombay traits. She is very social always wants to be with us and not at all aloof. In the UK black cats are regarded lucky, I was surprised when I moved to Canada and found that in North America it is the opposite.


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