Facial close up of a bombay cat with amber eyes staring directly at the viewer

The Bombay Cat Breed – A Guide.

The Bombay Cat breed is a fascinating cat breed, and they make amazing pets! If you love playful and smart cats, this is an interesting cat breed that you’ll fall in love with.

These cats are very gentle and well-behaved cats. They walk just like black leopards and have very admirable personalities. 

So, are you planning to adopt or buy one of these unique cats? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve assembled all the necessary information that you might like to know before embracing one of these black cats into the family.

General Characteristics

The Bombay cat is a beautiful cat breed, thanks to its impressive physical features. They are often mistaken as panther cubs because of their striking resemblance to panthers. You will also find many of its features similar to the Burmese cat or the American Shorthair because of its origin.

However, this cat is still a very exceptional creature. Built with a medium stocky body, this cat is quite muscular and athletic. It has a round head devoid of sharp angles along with a moderately rounded muzzle. 

The eyes are quite distant from each other and have an oval aperture. Bombay cats have eye colors varying from copper to gold. Their eyes are very beautiful and have depth within them. The ears are moderate in size and consist of a broad base. Tips of the ears are rounded, and even the chin has a round shape. 

Bombay kitten with yellow eyes sitting in a garden

They have a unique straight tail. This tail is average in length and is not highly flexible. There are proportionate legs and round paws in this cat breed with uneven distribution of toes. The legs have five toes, while the rear ones has four toes. 

One of the best features of this cat is its beautiful and sleek coat. Bombay cats have solid black coats with a sleek finish. Usually, the coats are less sleek in kittens, and the radiance increases as they become more mature. The fine and sleek coats provide a similar texture to patent leather, which is why their coats are an exceptional feature.

The cat has a characteristic swaying gait which is exactly like that of the Indian black leopard. In terms of physical appearance, this cat is a true beauty.

A Brief History Of The Breed

The history of the Bombay Cat can be traced to the early 1950s in Britain and the American South-east. Breeders were trying to produce a docile cat breed with a wild appearance. 

A miniature panther – that’s what they had in mind. The British tried to cross the Burmese cat with black domestic cats to achieve a similar breed but failed every time. Eventually, the Bombay came into existence due to the constant effort and determination of Nikki Horner.

Nikki from Louisville, Kentucky, decided to develop a cat breed that looked like a small panther. She wanted the features of a typical Burmese cat along with a solid black panther coat instead of the usual brown coat. 

She wanted to avoid yellow eyes, and wanted a unique eye color for the cat. This is where the idea of using a black American Shorthair cat crossed her mind, and the mix of these two breeds led to the origin of the Bombay cat that exists today. 

With the stocky build of the Burmese and the black coat and rich eyes of the American Shorthair, the Bombay cat was created. 

For its striking resemblance to the Indian black leopard, she named the breed Bombay. It did not gain recognition for a long time and was only accepted after 1970 by the Cat Fanciers Association. Later, The International Cat Association and many other cat registries gave Bombay the recognition that it deserved.

As a matter of fact, this cat breed is still rare in North America and the United Kingdom. You will still find many admirers of this cat breed in different parts of the world.

Bombay Cat Personality

These are happy-go-lucky cats with extreme curiosity. You will be astonished to find out that these cats are highly active even from a young age! Even from a young age, these cats can adjust to any changes in their surrounding environments-which is impressive.

Their curiosity begins from an early age as well when they start running around and keep exploring everything around them. They are often seen beside the windows from where their journey of observation begins. 

They are excellent climbers and jumpers, which is why you need to have a cat tree or climbing tower around the house. You could also get a multi-level scratching post or perches to keep them entertained. Since they are very active, you should always keep plenty of toys around for them to play with.  

close up face shot of a bombay cat with orange eyes in undergrowth

These cats love some quality time with its parent. So, a daily petting session can be a great bonding time for the cat and owner. As much as they love playing indoors, fresh air can do them good too! You could take them on a walk every day or play outdoors with your little pet.

The Bombay cat breed is usually very affectionate towards its guardians and loves seeking attention. They jump on laps and stay close to their owners every chance they get. 

These cats are usually very friendly with people and love to shower affection. They are well-behaved and gentle cats that can bond with all the members of a family rather than a certain individual. 

Their personality has a lot of similarities with the Burmese cats. They are very social and have high intelligence. The best thing about these cats is that they love people a lot. They love staying within a family with many members and share a special bond with everyone. This is why these black cats make amazing family cats.

Another interesting fact about these cats is that they never grumble about going outdoors like different cat breeds. As long as they have human company, some of their favorite toys, and a cat tree, these cats remain happy and playful. They are extremely easy to manage and oversee.

Their perky personality makes them adapt to other cats very well. They are also completely perfect for households with children because of their restrained character. 

These cats also use frequent vocalization, which can be concerning for their parents. They tend to meow a lot during the night, but it is usually nothing to worry about.

These cats are very intelligent. You can teach these cats tricks, and they’re very quick to learn! They love fun and exciting games and are always the center of attention in every game.

You can expect younger cats to run around the house and participate in lots of activities, but with older cats, the behavior can change slightly. Mature cats tend to be a lot more placid and prefer couch time over activities. 

Since they have highly social personalities, you can’t leave them alone for a couple of hours alone. They love having company all the time, which is why they can’t cope with isolation for too long. 

This can be an issue in bachelor or single-cat households. These cats are truly amazing when it comes to possessing a smart personality. 

Physical Characteristics

How can you identify a Bombay black cat? Look out for black paw pads, a black nose, and gold or copper eyes! Black domestic short hairs, in contrast, will often have green eyes and pink paw pads! These are the other physical characteristics of the breed :


They are usually 9-13 inches in height. They’re not very big and are medium in size. The male cats are usually more than 12 lbs. while the female cats weigh between 8-11 lbs. 


The average lifespan of a Bombay cat is usually between 9 and 14 years, but some cats can live for 15 or 20 years if they are taken care of properly.


These cats come only in solid black colors. However, Bombay kittens are sometimes found in sable or pure white colors. As they start growing, they start showing their black roots and eventually turn to complete black.

Apart from their black coats, their soles, nose, and mouth are all completely black. They have copper or golden eyes, which makes them look exquisitely beautiful.

young bombay cat with yellow eyes peering out from under a thin leafed houseplant

Potential Health Issues

Bombay cats are generally very healthy cats. They do not fall sick very often and are devoid of any significant genetic dispositions.

As long as you keep their teeth and gums clean on a weekly basis, you can prevent gingivitis. However, since these cats have rounded faces, they are sometimes more vulnerable to sinus diseases, asthma, and dental diseases. 

However, these are not very alarming issues and can be dealt with easily under the guidance of a vet.

These cats also suffer from runny noses during the winter, which is probably due to nasal allergies. Bombay cats have a short muzzle which is why they are sometimes prone to breathing issues. 

These cats love to eat and can easily gain excessive weight if their diet is not monitored properly. So, to control obesity in these cats provide an adequate diet and monitor their nutrition status on a weekly basis – free feeding should be out!

Make sure that you take strict care of the diet your cat is exposed to, otherwise, this breed can get overweight in no time!

Another disease that can affect these cats is a cardiac disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In this disease, the heart muscle is thickened and leads to symptoms like loss of appetite, weak pulse, short breathing sounds called crackles, inability to tolerate exercise, etc. 

Your vet can determine whether your cat is suffering from this heart disease through an echocardiogram. Some cats may suffer from glaucoma and diabetes, so make sure you take your cat for a complete checkup once every few months or at least once a year.

Bombay cats are not hypoallergenic, but they are considered a good choice for people with cat allergies as they are a cat that does not shed as much as others. This means there is less cat dander around the home and your allergy response is likely to be much lower with these cats.

Their coats are short and fine and do not need frequent care so you can brush them once a week, and they’re good to go! 

Besides, you can take care of their nail by trimming them once in a few weeks. Many of these cats are susceptible to gingivitis, which is why you need to brush their teeth a few times a week. And that’s pretty much it! With a little care and affection, your Bombay cats will stay healthy for a very long time.

To make sure your cat is healthy, try to adopt the cat from a responsible and trustworthy breeder. Keep all the health certificates of the cat and consult with a vet clinic before completing the final adoption.

Bombay Cat Price

How much do Bombay cats cost? The average price of a Bombay ranges from $600 – $1000 USD. Kittens cost slightly more than older cats. However, if you want to get a breeding quality cat, the prices will increase. A breeding quality Bombay cat usually costs more than 1000$, and the price may vary depending on the gender and lineage.

The costs for raising one of these black cats are quite minimal compared to other breeds. You don’t have to spend a lot to take care of this breed of cat. The grooming needs are very low since these cats shed once a while. 

Besides, the veterinary checkup costs fall under 500$ per year. Cat food costs around 200-500$ per year. You might also need to pay for pet insurance when you’re adopting a cat.

Other than that, these cats do not have many maintenance costs. You can give them grooming sessions at home and save up on the grooming costs as well. 

Final Words

To wrap up the discussion, it can be said that the Bombay cat is one of the most gorgeous and fascinating cat breeds out there. They make very affectionate pets and can easily build a home in the hearts of their pet parents. If you’re planning to adopt a docile and interesting cat breed, this breed would be an excellent choice. Pick a black cat name for your cat and you’re good to go.