Categories: Bombay Cat

Bombay cat health issues

Like many purebred cats (all purebred cats?) the Bombay cat has some health issues. I am referring to genetically inherited conditions. Firstly, I will quote verbatim from what I consider to be the best book on inherited genetic diseases in purebred cats, namely, Medical, Genetic and Behavioural Aspects of Purebred Cats edited by Ross D Clark DVM.

Bombay Cat. Photos are copyright Helmi Flick

Bombays may have or be carriers of genetic anomalies of the heart, skull or spinal canal. Cranial deformities occur frequently in many lines. Also extreme nose breaks may cause tearing or breathing difficulties.


Dr Clark refers to two reference books. The first is “The Complete Book” by Richard H Gebhardt published in 1991 and the second is a book called “Cats” by Roger Caras published in 1985. I have ordered the first from Amazon and will update the page as and when I have more information.

Bombay cat. Photo copyright Helmi Flick

Cranial deformities

The reference to “cranial deformities” occurring in many breeding lines is disturbing to read. Referring to my website i.e. this website and my description of the Bombay cat that I wrote many years ago, I refer to this health issue as “Burmese Craniofacial Defect”. This genetically health issue appears to have been inherited from Burmese cats. The first Bombay cat was created through crossing a sable Burmese with a black American Shorthair. So in laymen’s terms Burmese blood was introduced at the very beginning into the Bombay cat. This is where this cranial deformity comes from I suspect. You can read about Burmese cat health by clicking on this link.

Waxahachie , a Bombay cat being photographed by Helmi Flick at a cat show in the US. Photo by Michael Broad using a film camera.

Kittens euthanized

It appears that some kittens are sadly born with deformed heads and those that survive are euthanised. I hope that the word “euthanised” means exactly what it’s meant to mean in this instance. I say this, and I know I am expressing my opinion, some breeders quietly kill newborn kittens inhumanely. I don’t want to cast aspersions against cat breeders generally. I’m simply referring to one or two breeders that might be doing this.


The reference to “tearing” because of an extreme nose break must be a reference to the fact that the drainage canal which takes moisture away from the eye and which is situated in the corner of the eye by the nose becomes distorted through selective breeding. The selective breeding causes the extreme nose break and defective drainage canals so the eyes tear down the face. This form of breeding also causes breathing difficulties which is exactly the same problem which affects flat-faced dogs such as the French Bulldog and the contemporary Persian which also has a very flat face on a brachycephalic head. Their noses are distorted for appearance at the expense of health.


Purina, the pet food manufacturer, mention in respect of Bombay cat health that this breed is predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is referred to as HCM and is a classic heart disease which also affects the Bengal cat. It is the most commonly diagnosed cardiac disease in felines and it is a condition which results in the muscular walls of a cat’s heart thickening which decreases its efficiency leading to symptoms in other parts of the body.

Spinal canal

I will add to this section as soon as I have Richard H Gebhardt’s book referred to above. I believe that he writes about this condition.

More on Bombay cats

Jet black Bombay cat has white “eyebrows” due to thin hair above the eyes

People ask, "Why is my cat losing hair above his eyes?" The likely reason why your cat has thinning hair ...
Read More

Is the Bombay Cat hypoallergenic?

No, the Bombay Cat is not hypoallergenic because no cat breed is despite what you might read on the Internet ...
Read More

Black Cat Breeds

There is only one cat breed which must be black under the breed standard and this breed can be no ...
Read More

Cat breed black copper penny eyes

The cat breed black with copper penny eyes is the Bombay cat. People search for this cat using the words ...
Read More

Bombay Cat Facts For Kids

A page about the Bombay cat written in a style that I hope is suitable for children and people who ...
Read More
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.

Recent Posts

Domestic cat defends her kittens with extreme aggression and courage

BAGCILAR, ISTANBUL, TURKEY: This is a video taken from a television screen of a community…

8 hours ago

5 reasons why black cats are less likely to be adopted

Despite Cats Protection reporting that their campaign to promote black cats has been successful and…

14 hours ago

Prospect of water resources drying up affecting dog and cat food manufacturing in US

Water resources are under pressure and it will get worse. Globalisation is putting pressure on…

18 hours ago

Will driverless cars mean less cats killed on roads?

We're not sure how many cats are killed on roads in either the UK or…

19 hours ago

Do cats have nine lives?

Of course they don't. It's just a saying based on the fact that cats are…

20 hours ago

Feline mindfulness: staying in the present

John Gray, the philosopher, says that we should not live in "an imagined future". The…

20 hours ago