Bombay Cat Breed: Characteristics, Temperament, Cat Care

The Bombay cat is an attractive shorthair hybrid breed with a shiny black coat and copper eyes. The Bombay was developed in the US by Burmese breeders trying to improve their cats’ color and body type. Against the rules of the day, they out-crossed their Burmese to black American Shorthairs and produced some attractive cats. In 1953, a Kentucky breeder named Nikki Horner set out to produce a mini panther. The black leopard of India inspired the choice of the name “Bombay”. She began breeding champion Burmese with champion black American Shorthairs and through a careful breeding and outcrossing program developed the Bombay cat breed. Because the black gene is dominant the Bombays bred true. The Bombay finally achieved the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) championship status in 1976. Outcrossings are still being made to the Burmese in order to maintain the body type.

Cat size Medium
Exercise Docile – requires little exercise
Grooming Minimal grooming – combing once per week
Temperament Patient, gentle and playful

Bombay Cat Characteristics

The Bombay is a medium-sized elegant and supple black cat resembling a diminutive version of the black leopard that inspired the choice of its name. With the exception of its black and shiny coat and copper eyes, the Bombay resembles the Burmese in all of its characteristics. The body is muscular and medium-sized with the male being larger than the dainty female. The legs and tail are of medium length and the tail is fairly straight. The head is rounded with no flat planes and the eyes are round and set far apart with a color ranging from gold to deep copper. The coat is fine, short, close-lying and satiny to the touch with a gleaming patent leather shine that responds well to polishing with a silk cloth or leather chamois.

Color Varieties

Although brown Bombay’s appear from time to time, black is the only color permitted by most cat fancy organizations. Kittens will often have a rusty-toned coat before they mature into adults.

The Temperament Of Bombay Cat


Bombays combine the temperaments of the Burmese and the American Shorthair. They are affectionate, tranquil and lap-loving cat breed but are ready to play when you are. Some Bombays can be very possessive of their owners and jealous of new pets and children. Most Bombays that arrive after the other pets and children are quite gentle with family members and demonstrate great patience with children. Bombays are not very active cats and enjoy an indoor life if they aren’t left alone too long. Bombays are intelligent companions and can be trained to enjoy being walked outside on a leash.

Cat Care

Bombay cats are healthy and easy to maintain. A once per week light combing with a fine-toothed steel comb will suffice. Regular shining with a leather chamois or silk cloth will impart a beautiful sheen to the black coat. Bombays do not like loud noises as they have very acute hearing.

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