The Bombay is a short-haired domestic cat and, even today, rare. In fact, it is in Europe where there are fewer cats of this breed. It is as strange as it is fascinating. The Bombay cat is like a little home panther.


Breed Origin:
Life Span:
9 - 15+ years
Average Weight:
8 - 15 lbs
Hair Quantity:
General Health:

Origin and History

The Bombay cat is a breed of domestic cat, developed by breeding sable Burmese and black American Shorthair cats to produce a cat of mostly Burmese type, but with a sleek, panther-like black coat. The breed was developed by Nikki Horner, starting in the late 1950s in Louisville, Kentucky, with the goal of creating a mini-panther. The name “Bombay” was chosen to evoke the exotic port city of Bombay (now Mumbai), India, although the breed has no actual connection to that location. It took several generations of breeding to consistently achieve the breed’s distinctive look and personality. The Bombay was recognized for championship competition by The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1976.


Bombay cats are medium-sized, muscular, and have an overall impression of sleekness and panther-like grace. They are known for their striking jet-black, gleaming coat, which is short, tight, and highly polished. The breed has a distinctive head shape; round with a short muzzle, broad face, and prominent golden or copper-colored eyes that stand out against their black fur, giving them an arresting look. One of their most captivating features is the dramatic contrast between their intense eye color and their glossy black coat.

Their body is of medium build, neither too slender nor too stocky, with a rounded chest and a straight back that contributes to their well-balanced and sturdy appearance. Their legs are proportionate to their body, with the hind legs slightly longer than the front, and they have rounded paws. The tail is medium in length and tapers slightly to a rounded tip.

Personality and Temperament

Bombay cats are known for their affectionate nature and love of human company. They are often described as “velcro” cats due to their desire to be close to their owners, frequently seeking out laps or snuggling next to them. Bombays are playful and intelligent, enjoying interactive toys and games that challenge their minds. They are known to be good with children and other pets, making them excellent family companions.

Despite their sleek, panther-like appearance, Bombays are quite sociable and are not as aloof as their wild looks might suggest. They are often vocal, communicating with their owners through soft chirps and purrs. Their curious nature means they will often follow their owners around the house, eager to be involved in whatever is happening.


Bombay cats are generally healthy, but, like all breeds, they can have specific health issues. Some potential health concerns include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a form of heart disease that is common in many cat breeds, and breathing difficulties due to their shorter muzzles. Regular health checks, a balanced diet, and keeping them as indoor cats to avoid accidents and fights, can contribute to a Bombay’s wellbeing, typically resulting in a lifespan of around 12 to 16 years.

Overall, the Bombay cat is a stunning breed that combines the sleek beauty of a wild panther with the affectionate and sociable nature of a domestic cat. They are ideal pets for families looking for a playful, loving, and visually striking feline companion.

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