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Bombay

This is a smart cat who loves to play and will thrive with a family who is willing to teach him tricks, play games with him and provide him with plenty of interactive toys.

Bombay Breed Photo

Vital Stats

Coat
short, sleek
Life Span
12 to 16 years

Breed Characteristics

  • Extremely

    Affectionate with family

    Some cat breeds are typically independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since kittenhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; cats who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

  • Less than average

    Amount of shedding

    If you're going to share your home with a cat, you'll need to deal with some level of cat hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary among the breeds. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

  • Extremely

    Easy to groom

    Some breeds require very little in the way of grooming; others require regular brushing to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a cat that needs daily brushing.

  • Usually

    Friendly toward strangers

    Stranger-friendly cats will greet guests with a curious glance or a playful approach; others are shy or indifferent, perhaps even hiding under furniture or skedaddling to another room. However, no matter what the breed, a cat who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a kitten will respond better to strangers as an adult.

  • Very good

    General health

    Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems. This doesn't mean that every cat of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're looking only for purebred cats or kittens, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in.

  • Above average

    Intelligence

    Some cat breeds are reputed smarter than others. But all cats, if deprived the mental stimulation they need, will make their own busy work. Interactive cat toys are a good way to give a cat a brain workout and keep him out of mischief.

  • Extremely

    Kid friendly

    Being tolerant of children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a nonchalant attitude toward running, screaming youngsters are all traits that make a kid-friendly cat. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual cat will behave; cats from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences and personality.

  • Usually

    Pet friendly

    Friendliness toward other household animals and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some cats are more likely than others to be accepting of other pets in the home.

  • Very high

    Potential for playfulness

    Some cats are perpetual kittens — full of energy and mischief — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful kitten sounds endearing, consider how many games of chase the mouse-toy you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other animals who can stand in as playmates.

  • Moderate

    Tendency to vocalize

    Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the cat vocalizes and how often. If constant "conversation" drives you crazy, consider a kitty less likely to chat.


  • History

    Cat breeders are an experimental lot, creating distinctive new breeds either by building on natural genetic mutations or by crossing breeds to achieve a new look, color or pattern. The Bombay, named for the exotic port city of India, has no connection with the subcontinent but was created from crosses between sable Burmese and black American Shorthairs to resemble a black panther in miniature.

    Breeder Nikki Horner of Louisville, Kentucky, is credited with developing the Bombay, starting in the late 1950s. Her goal was a sleek, shiny black cat with a muscular body and friendly temperament. British breeders achieved the same look and personality with crosses of Burmese and black domestic shorthairs.

    The Cat Fanciers Association gave the Bombay full recognition in 1978. Today the breed is recognized by all cat associations. To maintain their body type and coat texture, Bombays may be outcrossed to sable Burmese. The CFA also permits outcrosses to black American Shorthairs, but this is rarely done because of differences in body type.

  • Size

    The Bombay typically weighs between 6 and 11 pounds.

  • Personality

    The lively and affectionate Bombay loves people and is adaptable to many different environments and lifestyles. His calm nature makes him a good apartment dweller, and he is amenable to life with other pets, although he definitely wants to be top cat.

    Expect to find the Bombay hogging the warmest spot in the house. That includes under the covers at bedtime. Most will converse with their people in a distinctive but not loud voice.

    Bombays are often good at playing fetch, and some have learned to walk on leash. This is a smart cat who loves to play and will thrive with a family who is willing to teach him tricks, play games with him and provide him with plenty of interactive toys.

  • Health

    Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Bombays are generally healthy, although one of the genetic diseases seen in Burmese has also been seen in Bombays: craniofacial defect.

    Sometimes called Burmese head defect, the craniofacial abnormality is occasionally seen in newborn kittens, which may have severely deformed heads. Those kittens are euthanized, so people who are buying Bombay kittens will not encounter the problem, but breeders should research pedigrees carefully to make sure they don’t breed cats who carry the gene for the defect.

  • Care

    The Bombay’s short, sleek coat is easily cared for with a few strokes of the hand or at most weekly brushing or rubdown with a chamois to remove dead hair, distribute skin oil and polish the coat to its gleaming best. A bath is rarely necessary.

    Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.

    Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Like all cats, Bombays are very particular about bathroom hygiene.

    Plan to spay or neuter your Bombay at 6 to 9 months of age. It is not unheard of for Bombays to reach sexual maturity as early as 5 months of age.

    It’s a good idea to keep a Bombay as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Bombays who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.

  • Coat, Color and Grooming

    Except for his dramatic black coat, the Bombay looks much like the Burmese, but with a few physical differences such as a larger, longer body and longer legs. He has a rounded head with medium-size ears set wide apart, eyes that range in color from gold to copper, and a straight, medium-length tail. The short, fine coat feels satiny to the touch and shines like patent leather.

    Although the gene for the black coat is dominant, a sable-colored kitten is sometimes born in a Bombay litter. Some associations permit these kittens to be registered as Burmese.

    The Bombay is a medium-size cat; when lifted, he feels heftier than he looks. The breed develops slowly and males may not reach full size and musculature until they are 2 years old.

  • Children and other pets

    The outgoing Bombay is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect. He lives peacefully with cats and dogs who respect his authority. Always introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.

  • Rescue Groups

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