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

Bombays are medium-sized, muscular cats who resemble a miniature panther.

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 Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized and afforded championship status to Bombays in 1976; the International Cat Association did the same 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’s 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. Be warned — they’re known as pretty vocal cats.

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. Bathe these cats occasionally or as needed, and brush the coat each week to keep it looking glossy.

And don’t forget to perform these important tasks:

  • 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, has been researching dog and cat breeds for nearly a decade and has observed the animals up close at dog shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is the author of the book One Unforgettable Journey, which was nominated for a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. In addition, she was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. Kristine has researched and written about pet behaviors and care for many years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, another bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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