5 Things to Know About Bombay Cats

Bombay cats love to play and adore children, but they don’t like being left alone for long periods of time.

Many people with Bombays say their cats can demand attention. By: iStock.com/Ed-Ni-Photo

1. Key Characteristics

  • Weight: 6–12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 15 years or longer

Bombay cats are muscular and medium in size. They resemble a miniature panther, which was the intention when they were created.

The large eyes are shades of copper and gold, and are set far apart. The rounded head has medium-sized ears that tilt slightly forward.

The short, glossy coat is black with no other colors or markings.

2. Where They Came From

Nikki Horner developed the Bombay cat breed in 1965. She wanted a cat to resemble panthers from India, so she crossed Burmese cats with black American shorthairs.

The Bombay was recognized and afforded championship status by Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1976 and the International Cat Association in 1979. Once the cat was accepted, Horner stopped her breeding program. Cat breeders Herb and Suzanne Zwecker developed new Bombay lines and were instrumental in helping the breed avoid extinction.

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Bombays love to play and hate to be ignored. By: iStock.com/FedotovAnatoly

3. How Friendly Are They?

Bombays are easygoing and intelligent cats. They are inquisitive, always ready to play and love children. They get along with other animals when properly socialized and introduced.

It is not unusual for a Bombay to follow a person around like a puppy. They can be demanding when it comes to getting attention and don’t do well if left alone for long periods of time. They can also be very vocal.

4. Is This the Right Cat for You?

Exercise Needs

High

HIGH: Active and curious, Bombays love to play and are commonly known to play fetch even as young kittens. Keep them occupied with toys and towers, and make sure to set aside time to play with them each day. Bombay cats don’t like to be ignored and will let you know when they want something.

Grooming Needs

Low

LOW: The short coat needs little maintenance and doesn’t shed much. Bathing can be done occasionally or as needed, and brushing the coat each week will keep it looking glossy.

Grooming should also include regular:

  • Teeth cleaning
  • Ear cleaning
  • Nail trimming

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Health Problems

Low

LOW:
Bombays are generally healthy cats. The only notable health issues they might have include heart problems and high tear production in the eyes.

This video shows Ralph, a 15-week-old Bombay, playing fetch on the stairs:

5. Where to Adopt One

Check local shelters and rescues to find your Bombay.

If you decide to contact a breeder, be aware that kitten mills do exist. Always ask to see the breeder’s home or facility and the parents being bred to ensure they are healthy and happy.

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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