Bombay Cat: Cat Breed Profile

Posted in: Cat Breeds - Last Updated: January 14, 2022 - Author: Jennifer Bridgers
Posted in Cat Breeds 
Last Updated: March 2, 2021  
Author:  Jennifer Bridgers

Bombay cats are a truly unique breed. Trust me! I own one.

My Bombay cat has been a part of our family for over three years and she has the most lively personality of any cat I have ever met. She is fierce, loyal, affectionate, playful, and certainly not shy when it comes to demanding attention. She has also made it known that she is in charge.

Besides her adorable personality, her looks are very striking. With a dark, shiny coat and big, bright eyes, having a Bombay is honestly like owning a mini panther. Especially when she patiently lies in wait for you to round a corner so she can jump out and surprise you.

Bombay cats can require a lot of attention, but their loyal affection is so worth their playfulness and high energy levels.

A Quick History of the Bombay Cat

The Bombay cat breed was developed by Nikki Horner in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1950s. She wanted a cat that looked like a Burmese cat but with black fur and copper eyes instead of the typical brown fur and yellow eyes of a Burmese. In short, she wanted a tiny panther.

Horner took a male American Shorthair with black fur and had the eye color that she wanted and bred him with a sable, Burmese female using selective breeding. It took her several attempts but she eventually got the results she was looking for and had a black cat that did not resemble any other domestic cat.

The Bombay cat had the coat and body type of the Burmese cat and the black coat and copper-colored eyes of the American Shorthair. Horner named the Bombay cat after Bombay, India, which is known as the land of the black leopard.

The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) accepted the Bombay cat breed in the 1970s and it is now recognized by all associations.

Bombay Cat Breed Overview

The Bombay cat has the coat and body of a Burmese cat and fur and eye coloring of an American Shorthair. Since this breed is a hybrid breed, it is not uncommon for a kitten in a Bombay litter to be sable-colored.

  • Weight: 8 to 15 pounds
  • Length: 13 to 20 inches
  • Coat: Short
  • Coat color: Sleek, Glossy Black
  • Eye color: Copper or Green
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 16 years

Characteristics / Attitude of the Bombay Cat Breed

Bombay cats are a very sociable and friendly breed! They are not the type to run and hide when you have company over. In fact, you might find that your Bombay cat easily becomes the center of attention when people are over. At least, that’s what my Bombay cat does.

Bombays are also very affectionate and loyal to their owners and great with children. Bombays can also be great with other pets, as long as they have compatible personalities. Not to mention, they are a very playful breed that are not as independent as other breeds.

Bombay Characteristics & Attitudes

  • Friendliness: High
  • Affection level: High
  • Child friendly: Medium
  • Pet friendly: High
  • Playfulness: High
  • Energy level: Medium
  • Exercise requirements: Low
  • Intelligence: Medium
  • Tendency to vocalize: Low
  • Shedding: Low

Bombay Cat Breed Care

Bombay cats do not require a lot of special care. However, they do require plenty of attention. This cat breed is very affectionate and loves a lot of attention. They are not the type of cat to get if you do not spend a lot of time at home.

As long as you dedicate plenty of time to playing with and loving on your Bombay, they will have everything in the world that they need. In fact, you may find that they latch onto one family member like velcro and form a special bond with the. They also easily turn into “lapcats” that are practically unmovable when they are comfy.

Since Bombay cats are so energetic and playful, it is important to carve out time to play with your cat regularly, especially if you want to encourage bonding. It is also important to make sure they have plenty of toys at their disposal. 

Because of their playful nature, Bombay cats often love to play with children and other pets. However, like with most pets, it is important to start socializing your Bombay as a kitten to ensure that they get along well with others.

The short hair of a Bombay cat means very little shedding. So their coat requires very little maintenance. As long as you like to cuddle and play, your Bombay will thrive.

Bombay Cat Common Health Issues

Generally speaking, the Bombay cat is a relatively healthy breed. However, they are prone to a couple of health issues including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, craniofacial defects, breathing difficulties, and excessive tearing of the eyes.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is one of the most common types of heart disease in cats. It causes a thickening of the heart muscle and a simple echocardiogram can determine if your cat has this disease. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common heart disease in many breeds of cat and it does not mean that your Bombay cat will develop it. It is just something to be aware of.


Craniofacial defects in Bombays come from their Burmese ancestors and occurs when a kitten has a badly deformed head at birth. Unfortunately, these kittens usually don’t live past birth.

Finally, sinus issues such as teary eyes and breathing difficulties stem from BBombay cat’s short muzzle. These two issues aren’t life threatening and can be managed with day to day maintenance such as wiping away eye boogers.

And, with any cat, it can be easy for them to put on the pounds. Especially considering the stocky nature of a Bombay. However, Bombay cats are so playful and active, they tend to manage their weight naturally on their own.

Recommended Diets for the Bombay Cat Breed

You can’t tell it by looking at them, but Bombay cats are pretty muscular and stocky. Because of this, it is recommended to keep a close eye on their diet so you know just how much they are eating and can keep an eye on any weight gain.

Other than that, they do not have any special dietary needs. Most cats do well when eating a diet consisting of both wet and dry food with high quality fats and proteins. Many Bombay cats do well eating commercial cat foods.

If you become concerned about your cat’s weight, maybe consider feeding them a special weight control formula.

Bombay Cat - Pros & Cons



  • Unique and beautiful appearance, much like a small panther
  • Very affectionate and loyal
  • Easy to turn into a “lapcat”
  • Very playful
  • Very sociable
  • Great with other pets and children
  • Low maintenance coat


  • Needs a lot of attention
  • Isn’t always easy to find in the United States
  • Can have very high energy
  • Prone to a couple of health issues

Some Helpful Facts About The Bombay Cat

Like every breed of cat, Bombay cats are very unique and have special personalities. However, my cat is such a stereotypical Bombay that there’s no mistaking her for another breed.

She is quite the socialite and loves both attention and cuddles like many other cats of the same breed. Here are some more quick facts that ring true for most Bombays:

  • Bombay cats are more muscular than they look and when you pick them up, they may be heavier than they look.
  • Unlike most black cats, Bombays are completely black including the pads of their paws, nose, lips, and whiskers.
  • Bombay cats were bred to look like a tiny panther or leopard.
  • The Bombay breed tends to like napping in warm spots like a nice, sunny window (or on top of their parents).
  • Their playful and loyal nature makes Bombay cats very receptive of things you have to teach them, like playing fetch or walking on a leash.
  • Bombay cats like to have things their way and can turn out to be pretty bossy, in the cutest way possible.

Final Thoughts on The Bombay Cat

Bombay cats are a special breed of cat that can really make life interesting. Our Bombay may be a tiny little handful, but we wouldn’t trade her sassy, playful personality for the world. She truly makes every day an adventure.

If you are interested in adopting a Bombay cat, make sure that you have the time to give them all the attention and cuddles that they need and deserve. And if you do, know that you are adopting a cat that will no doubt become your most loyal BFF.

About the author

Jennifer Bridgers has been a freelance writer for several years. As a cat mom to two adorable cats herself, she loves diving into the world of cat care. When she isn’t busy dressing her cats in ridiculous outfits, Jennifer can be found crocheting, bingeing true crime documentaries and podcasts, reading fantasy novels, or writing a novel series of her own.