The Bombay is a muscular, powerfully-built, medium-size cat with huge copper eyes and a midnight-black coat that shines like slick patent leather. The combination is spectacular, resembling a miniature panther or wild black leopard. However, the Bombay is a docile, domestic hybrid, a man-made breed, first developed by crossing a black American Shorthair with a sable Burmese.
The late Nikki Horner set out to create a “fantasy” cat, a domestic feline with the magnificent aura of the black leopard of India. Her goals included the short, tight coat of the Burmese, in the darkest black color derived from the American Shorthair, with eyes that dazzle like shiny new copper pennies.
Her early efforts were unsuccessful but, undeterred, she kept trying to fulfill her vision, and the combinations she tried, beginning in 1965, finally led to success: a stunning cat with good muscular development and a very short, close-fitting, sleek black coat. She named her dream cat the “Bombay,” after the city in India. Since numerous other breeders admired her efforts, the cat’s prevalence was amplified, with the CFA accepting the Bombay for championship showing in 1976.
The Bombay combines the easy-going, relaxed nature of the American Shorthair with the inquisitive, loving, and loyal personality of the very social Burmese. Bombays wholeheartedly enjoy human camaraderie, and will greet you joyously at the door, along with any visitors you bring home with you. Your Bombay will yearn to participate in everything you do with the greatest enthusiasm. While it shows affection to everyone in your home, it will particularly warm up to your children with whom it will endlessly play. If you are a single owner who works all day, this cat will be lonely in your absence and will crave a companion.
The Bombay shares many of the behavioral characteristics of the Burmese. Generally calm and good-natured, a Bombay will often accept dogs in the household more quickly than it will adapt to other cats, since the Bombay usually wants to be the dominant cat in the household. They are intelligent, actively seek interaction with humans, and love to play games. Many retrieve and can be taught to do tricks. Some have been successfully leash-trained.
The Bombay comes in only one color, the deepest, darkest black imaginable, with the high gloss sheen of black patent leather. The coat is short, stretched tightly over the cat’s muscular frame. Maturity will determine true characteristics which can occur around the age of two.
The large eyes sparkle with hues of rich gold or bright shiny copper. The skin-tight coat accentuates the ripple of muscles as this adorable panther stalks its prey in your living room. Surprisingly heavy for its moderate size, an adult male will typically weigh between eight and eleven pounds; females between five and nine pounds.
A face to melt your heart, this cat’s sweet expression is enhanced by its large loving eyes. Easy to take care of, the Bombay has no undercoat so it sheds very little. Its preferred grooming technique is the stroke of your hands, whose natural oils will contribute to the coat’s lovely sheen. You may also choose to bathe your cat or use a rubber brush to keep it in championship condition. A quick polish with a chamois cloth is also recommended.
Bombays have loud purrs and very distinctive voices. Some Bombay cats can be quite talkative and meow a lot – when you get home from work or wake up in the morning, for example – whereas others may be remarkably quiet. Bombays typically prefer to live indoors avoiding the outdoors where real wildcats may prowl. They seek comfort and warmth and will attempt to sleep next to you under the covers.
Overall, the Bombay is a sensitive, intelligent, and elegant cat that is perfect for a first-time cat owner, or an old pro cat fancier, anyone who enjoys the cachet of show-stopping feline beauty!
Barron’s Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds