Vital Stats:Life Span: 12 to 16 years
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.
The Bombay typically weighs between 6 and 11 pounds.
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.
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.
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.