July 11, 2013 PetGuide
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  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 8-15 lb
  • Lifespan: 9-13 years
  • Physique: Muscular, medium build
  • Best Suited For: Families with children. Gets along well with other cats and dogs
  • Temperament: Social, friendly, outgoing, playful, attention seeking, talkative
  • Comparable Breeds: Burmese, British Shorthair

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Although Bombay cats have the appearance of “house” or “parlor” panthers, there is no wild blood in this breed. In 1953, Kentucky breeder Nikki Horner, began selectively crossing a male black American Shorthair with a Grand Champion sable Burmese. She was able to consistently produce a copper-eyed black cat with short hair that bears a remarkable resemblance to the black leopards of India from whom Horner took her inspiration. There are actually two types of Bombay cats, the American Bombay and the British Bombay, which is a similar cat created by mating a Burmese to either a domestic cat or a British Shorthair. Although the two breeds share the Burmese name, they are each considered to be a breed in their own right.

The Bombay can be a mischievous handful, possessing the combined qualities of a dog, a cat, and a monkey!

bombay-cat-1The Bombay can be a mischievous handful, possessing the combined qualities of a dog, a cat, and a monkey! They love to play fetch, are adept at finding ways to entertain themselves, and take nicely to leash training. Intelligent and affectionate, these outgoing companions get along well with children, integrate themselves into busy households, and take life with other pets in stride. Although robust and athletic, they are easy-going and will happily settle down in your lap. As such, they do well in apartments, but they should be exclusively inside cats. They are also heat seekers, burrowing deeply into the covers regardless of the time of year. Although not one of the most talkative breeds, they do use their voices to communicate and to express their opinions.

Medium in length, the Bombay has a lithe build with a rounded head and a shorter muzzle. But make no mistake, these are solid cats. You’ll be surprised the first time you pick one up by its compact weight. Bombays have short, sleek coats that are flat and fairly gleam in the light. This sleek sheen only serves to enhance the excellent musculature and wild appearance of the breed. This cat’s ears are broadly spaced and slightly rounded at the tips, and the almond eyes range in hue from a golden to a copper hue.

bombay-cat-2The ebony coat of the Bombay is black from tip to roots, and is one of the most distinguishing features of this breed, which was designed to resemble a wild panther. Both the nose leather and the pads of the feed are also black, as are the whiskers.

Flat and sleek, the fur is beautifully shiny and needs little more than a weekly brushing to stay healthy. Beyond the usual chores of nail trimming and ear cleaning, the Bombay is a low maintenance cat. The Bombay is so affectionate and people oriented, that grooming is no chore at all because the cat enjoys the entire process.

Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

Comparable Breeds

Go to Burmese


  • Height: 10-12 inches
  • Weight: 6-10 lb
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Physique: Small-medium,compact
  • Best Suited For: Active household with older children, singles with other pets
  • Temperament: Intelligent, inquisitive, playful, mischievous
  • Comparable Breeds: American Shorthair, Exotic Shorthair
Go to British Shorthair

British Shorthair

  • Height: 12-14 inches
  • Weight: 7-17 lb
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years
  • Physique: Sturdy, big bodied cats
  • Best Suited For: Families and singles with or without children and pets
  • Temperament: Calm, easy going, adaptable, affectionate
  • Comparable Breeds: British Longhair, Ragamuffin