Bombay Cat Breed Characteristics

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Bombay cat quick facts

Length‌: 12 - 16 inches


Weight‌: Females: 6 - 8 pounds, males: 8 - 10 pounds

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Lifespan‌: 15 - 17 years

Coat length‌: Short

Coloring‌: Black with copper-colored eyes

Grooming needs‌: Low

Friendliness‌: Breed alone is not an accurate predictor of individual cats' personalities. However, Bombay cats are generally regarded as loving and intelligent.


Cats often have a reputation for being aloof, but the Bombay cat defies this stereotype. This cat breed is known for being people-oriented, friendly, and affectionate, so if you are looking for a companion whether you are cooking in the kitchen or watching a movie before bed, a Bombay kitten or cat may be the right choice for you. They are medium-sized cats with a stocky build and striking copper eyes, sometimes called new penny eyes, that stare out from their rounded head and sleek black coats.


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Bombay cat history

The Bombay cat breed was developed by cat breeder Nikki Horner, from Louisville, Kentucky. This cat was bred as a cross between a black American shorthair cat and a Burmese cat. Her goal was to develop a miniature panther or parlor panther — black cats that resembled black panthers with similar-looking coats and eye colors. She was successful in her efforts when she created the Bombay cats, named after the city in India where there are black leopards that inspired the breed.



Despite their wild cat appearance, Bombays are domestic cats and the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) breed standard for purebred cats has very specific requirements for their appearance. Cats should have a patent leather black coat with no spots or markings. The nose and paw pads must also be black. Any eye color other than copper is a disqualifying trait, including green eyes.


Bombay cat personality

There are some personality traits common to most Bombay cats. They are very people oriented and will want to spend time with you when you are in the house. They are affectionate lap cats and will happily lounge with your while you watch TV on the couch, perch on your shoulder as your move around the home, and sprawl on you in bed as you sleep.


While they love to cuddle, this doesn't mean that Bombay cats are couch potatoes. They are intelligent and playful and enjoy interactions that stimulate their minds. Provide cat toys, including interactive options like puzzle toys. Make sure they have cat trees and shelves that give them room to run and climb. Bombay cats also enjoy playing with their owners, so invest in teaser toys for your cat. These cats are also quite smart and enjoy learning tricks when encouraged with positive reinforcement. You can also teach them to play fetch or even walk on a leash.


Bombay cats need company, so if you work long hours or frequently leave your cat for weekends away, this may not be the best breed for you. Most Bombays get along with both people and pets, so other animals in the home can keep your cat company.

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Bombay cat lifespan and health issues

Bombay cats will typically live into their teens and healthy cats receiving excellent care may even live into their 20s. There are some health problems that the breed faces, but responsible breeders will perform the recommended testing and avoid breeding cats that may pass on genetic health conditions.


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a type of heart disease that causes a thickening of the heart that can restrict its ability to pump blood throughout the body, is a genetic condition that affects the breed. The condition is diagnosed with an echocardiogram, not genetic testing.

Genetic testing is available for other conditions including Burmese head defect (BHD), gangliosidosis (GM2), which causes a deficiency in enzymes that break down fats, and hypokalemia (HK), which causes low potassium levels. The International Cat Association notes that GM2 and HK do not generally affect American Bombays and, due to responsible breeding, are rarely seen in European and British Bombay cats.

Bombay cat grooming and care

Bombay cats have short black coats that require little more than a weekly brushing. Baths are optional for these cats, but you can wash them a couple of times each year if necessary. Make sure to check their nails regularly and trim them as needed and provide a scratching post. When you brush your cat, check their ears and clean them as needed. You will also want to brush their teeth regularly using toothpaste specifically designed for cats.

Feed high-quality, commercial cat food unless otherwise advised by your veterinarian. Make sure the food is high in protein. Provide clean, fresh water at all times. Get regular check-ups with your veterinarian and keep your cat up to date on their recommended vaccinations.

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Welcoming a new cat into your home

Moving to a new environment can be a stressful time for any cat or kitten, so it is important to take steps to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible for your new cat. Before bringing your cat home, make sure you have all the supplies you need and that your home is set up safely. You will need the basics including kitten or cat food, food and water dishes, a litter box and cat litter, and cat trees for your cat to climb, scratch, play, and perch.

Walk through your home and remove or hide any items that may harm your cat. This includes toxic plants and electrical cords. Playful kittens may see small items on your shelves as toys, so it is important to kitten-proof your home and safeguard valuable items.

Allow your cat to explore and greet you on their own terms. Don't force your cat to enter a new room or hold them down so you can pet them. If you have other pets in the home, introduce them slowly. Begin the introduction through a door or child's gate to make sure both animals are safe. Use positive reinforcement and play to build a relationship and encourage desired behavior.

Bombay cats are friendly cats who love to be around people, so with some patience and care, your cat will soon be an active part of the family.