A page about the Bombay cat written in a style that I hope is suitable for children and people who like to read plain English. Visitors are free to use the text on this page. The pictures are protected and can’t be used.


The Bombay cat is a miniature black panther for the home and a well recognized breed of cat, but quite a rare cat. This cat is named after the city of Bombay but does not come from Bombay in India, which, by the way, is now called “Mumbai”.  Perhaps the cat should be renamed “Mumbai”. No, the city should change their name back to Bombay instead…There are two types of Bombay cat. One is American and the other is British.

Bombay Cat. Photos are copyright Helmi Flick

Bombay Cat History

In Louisville, Kentucky, America (see map), a lady whose name is Nikki Horner, decided that she wanted to breed a domestic cat that looked like a black panther. Around 1958 Nikki created the Bombay cat. She did this putting together a “sable” colored Burmese cat with a American Shorthair cat that had a black coat. These cats mated and the kittens was not to her liking. She tried again with different cats and eventually, in the 1960s, created a jet black cat that she liked. The coat of the Bombay cat is a single coat and it lies close the cat’s body. People say that it looks like “patent leather”. I’ll explain these words:

  • “Sable” – grayish yellowish brown.
  • “Patent leather” – this is normally used when writing about glossy or shiny black shoes.

Please remember:  the real black panther is usually a black jaguar, a large wild cat living mainly in South America. This cat has a faint pattern. The Bombay cat does not. It has a sheer, glossy black coat over a muscular body.

In the United Kingdom (UK) the Bombay cat is a type of Burmese cat. It has the same solid black coat as the American cat. The British like to call them “Asian cats”. In America the Bombay is no longer a black Burmese cat.

How The Bombay Cat Looks

The fur is short and the color is a shiny, jet black. It is as if the coat was painted on. The cat’s body is medium in size and shape. This is a muscular and solid cat, but a normal looking cat in all ways. The head is round and you can’t help notice the strong copper colored eyes. “Copper” is a metal and the color “copper” is a mixture of red and brown.

The muzzle is short. The “muzzle” is the part of the cat’s anatomy that includes the nose, mouth and whiskers. This cat should have normal features so the muzzle should not be too short. Although some breeders do breed this cat to have a very short muzzle.

The Bombay weighs between 6-11 lbs or 2.5-5 kilograms. As the Bombay has a single coat it is easy to look after by the cat and human caretaker.

Personality

This cat likes laps. This is probably because the Bombay likes heat but then don’t all domestic cats? It has the same or similar personality of the Burmese cat. But beware. Each cat has its own personality and character. You cannot say that all the cats of one cat breed are the same.

In general this cat likes being around people. They like to be near the human who looks after them.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Michael,thanks for the simple and excellent breeding history of the "BOMBAY CAT" named after my city in India.Its a beautiful jet black cat and is difficult to breed, having a few hereditary breeding problems, hence rare and costly.Bizarrely, the breeding of the cat has no connection to Bombay now named Mumbai and i wonder the reasons for breeder Nikki.Horner naming her new breed cat as "Bombay Cat".Could be that she had visited Bombay and its Borivili national park which is the only park in the World confined within a city to have wild leopards.That must have given her the idea to name the cat "BOMBAY CAT" as that was the name of the city during that era of time.Now i am only hoping that we Indians establish our own cat club and conduct "Cat shows" in affiliation with either "T.I.C.A" or "C.F.A".

    • I think you are correct about the naming. Also the name "Bombay" is a famous and nice name. "Bombay" has worldwide connotations. It means "exotic" and a different far off place to people in the West I suspect. And, yes, India is absolutely ready for its own cat clubs and cat fancy. Properly managed so people really do have the best purebred cats.

  • I always used to think that if I ever was to get a purebred cat it would be a Bombay. I like black cats very much and always liked the sound of these cats. My black cat Lilly is lovely. I like the way black cats look and although its individual I happen to have liked the characters of the black cats I have met. I find them to be outgoing and curious and very agile and fit. Of course that could be just by chance. Elisa once wrote an article about black cats potentially being more healthy which I thought was interesting and fits in to my experience of black cats. Of course black moggies are not by any means Bombay cats but they look similar :)

    • I was with Helmi when she photographed the cats in the two larger pictures in the collage. These purebred black cats have shiny slick black fur. It is amazing to see but I don't like the overly round face and big eyes. Breeders like to have big copper orbs of eyes peeking out of the shiny black fur. It looks a bit extreme to me. But, yes, black cats are meant to be healthier and it is said that when wild cats are black (melanistic) rather than their usual color the genetic mutation is for health reasons. If that is true they will all be black one day. Unless they are all extinct instead.

      Here is a picture I took of Helmi photographing the Bombay against the purple background:

      The cat's name is Kaliente.

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