Bombay Cats: The Black Panther of Housecats


When most people think about purebred animals, they think about dogs. One of the largest reasons for this is because people used dogs for many different working purposes, centuries ago.Dogs were used for guarding and herding livestock, hunting alongside hunters, and protecting people and their families.

With that being said, cats were still very useful for families hundreds of years ago. What this means is that there were plenty of people working on breeding their cats to be the apex predators of the household, while also retaining the cat’s beauty. Much of the cat breeding these days focuses on appearances, making sure that your cat looks exactly the way you want it to.

However, hundreds of years ago, the focus was more on what the cat could do in terms of “working.” While most people don’t see the aloof and uninterested cat as an animal that can be put to work, most cats worked on farms to catch rodents and other vermin that could spread disease to the rest of the farm.

One example of a breed that combines the functionality of a working cat with the beauty of a purebred cat is the Bombay cat. These cats have the stature, the intelligence, and the focus to be working cats on farms or in homes where rodent problems might be prevalent. At the same time, they have the unique beauty to them that earns them the name “Bombay cat.” These cats are good for just about every family, ranging from families with children to multi-pet households and farms.

What Is the History of the Bombay Cat Breed?

Most cats do not have a particularly detailed breeding history, and while this is unfortunate in many cases, you can rest assured knowing that your brand-new Bombay cat is not one of these. This breed is relatively recent, in terms of developing new breeds, estimated to have originated in the 1950s.

Rather than the lofty expectations most people set for their pet breeds, such as being the strongest guard around, or having specific characteristics, the reason that this breed was developed was because the owner wanted a cat that looked similar to a Burmese cat, but with specific coloring that resembled a panther. With this in mind, the breed’s creator (Nikki Horner) began working on developing the breed that she would name the Bombay cat, after Bombay, India, where the black leopard roams.

To do this, she took a black American shorthair cat that specifically had the copper eyes she wanted in her cat, and crossbred that cat with her best Burmese female. It took several tries to get it exactly right, but in the end, Horner ended up with a cat that met her expectations. It still took about 20 years after she had successfully developed the breed that it was recognized and formally accepted. This relatively unknown breed is uncommon, but it still has a dedicated following of people who adore its regal appearance.

What Does the Bombay Cat Look Like?

The Bombay cat takes a lot of characteristics from its Burmese heritage. This means that these cats tend to be on the larger side of things with a longer body than most cats. This breed specifically has slightly longer legs than most cats do as well, and its body retains the muscular appearance that its American shorthair blood gives the breed. In addition to this, these cats have rounded heads, wide-set, medium-sized ears, and an average-length tail.

What makes this cat special is its coloring. These cats have a characteristic sleek black coat of fur that gives it its name. The original creator of this breed, wanted to create a cat that resembled a panther, but in housecat-sized form, and this accurately described the kind of coloring these cats have. If these cats have any other color in their fur besides black, then it is not really a true Bombay cat.

The piercing eyes of these cats can range from gold to copper, depending on the parent cats. These cats are typically an average size for most house cats, with their weight coming in between 8 and 15 pounds. Male cats are going to be taller and stockier than their female counterparts.

How Does the Bombay Cat Behave?

One word to describe the personality of these cats is “adaptable.” More notable in their younger years, the Bombay cat can easily adapt to changes in the environment and a changing environment. This is often a prime age to introduce your cat to other pets in your home if you want to make sure that it grows up accepting your home’s other animals.

In addition to being adaptable to many different situations, these cats are known for being both active and very curious cats. They can often be found hanging out near a window where they can get a view of the world around them. If you can get your cat used to a harness for a leash, they would enjoy being taken outside on walks so that they can explore the great outdoors for themselves.

These cats are also particularly affectionate and will not hesitate to place themselves in front of you so that you notice their presence. In some cases, especially when the cats are younger, their affection can border on being demanding as they try to make themselves a part of every activity that you do. You are going to have to be prepared for this if you plan on adopting a younger Bombay cat.

If this kind of affection is not your style, it is good to note that as your cat becomes older and becomes more of an elderly cat, their craving for attention will diminish. They will still appreciate you, of course, but they may not be as insistent on inserting themselves into your routine. Because of how affectionate these cats are, they often demand being pet and are one of the few cats who tend to enjoy having their stomach rubbed.

What Kind of Care Does the Bombay Cat Need?           

Most, if not all, cats are very independent when it comes to their own care and cleaning. After all, cats spend hours of their day grooming themselves to keep their fur shiny, smooth, and sleek, and the Bombay cat is no exception to this. There are a few things you can do to help your cat care for itself though. For one, you can consider doing a weekly brushing with a chamois to remove dead fur and distribute skin oils. This is not necessary as it is more of a quality of life aspect to your cat, but everyone wants their cats to be happy.

In addition to petting and brushing your cat, you will want to make sure that the cat’s teeth are healthy. The best way to do this is to brush your cat’s teeth. You can work on getting a kitten accustomed to the sensation of a toothbrush from a young age, so this issue shouldn’t affect your cat too much in adulthood.

You will also want to wipe your cat’s eye corners with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge so that your cat’s eyes have as little risk for an infection as possible. Similarly, you should work on cleaning your cat’s ears as well so that the threat of infection doesn’t loom nearly as much as it could.

How Is the Bombay Cat’s Health?

As far as purebred cats go, these cats are quite healthy. Of course, all purebred animals run into the risk of developing hereditary conditions passed down by their parents, and this is a risk that you will need to take if you want to adopt a purebred cat, such as the Bombay cat, specifically.

There are a couple problems that these cats face more often than other breeds, and this includes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, excessive tearing in the eyes, and potential issues with breathing because of the way the cat’s muzzle is developed. These are all issues that you should be particularly on the lookout for when it comes to your cat’s health.