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Bombay Cat – Cat Breed Guide

Adopt a Bombay Cat, Cat Breed Guide


The Bombay is a shorthaired domesticated feline breed that is categorized as an oriental-type of cat and comes only with a sleek black coat color. The Bombay is one of the rarest cat breeds in the world.

There are two recognized Bombay cat breeds that are being bred in the world today:
The Bombay Cat
The Australian Bombay Cat

The Bombay Cat has three major lines:
• American Bombay – The first Bombay cat breed. Developed in the United States. Cross between American Burmese cats and American Shorthairs.
• European Bombay – The Bombay that was developed in France and bred across the European continent. Cross between European Burmese cats and European Shorthairs.
• British Bombay – The Bombay line that was developed in the Great Britain. Cross between Burmese or Oriental Shorthaired cats and black coated British Shorthairs. It is also considered as an experimental cat breed.

The Australian Bombay Cat is recognized as a distinct breed from all the lines of the Bombay breed. This breed was developed in Australia and is the result of crossing black British Shorthairs with European Burmese cats.

Official Name



The Bombay cat breed’s first variety is the American Bombay line that originates in the State of Kentucky in the year 1958. Pioneer breeding credits goes to Ms. Nikki Horner. The European Bombay line was first developed in France during 1989. All European Bombays comes from the single pair of American Bombays exported to France. The first two Bombay lines are very similar in temperament and also in appearance. European and American Bombay line inherited medium-sized bodies and smooth coat textures from the American Shorthair or European Shorthair cats. These lines are very athletic and very active and also known to have exceptional talents when hunting mice!

At around the same time European Bombays were being developed, British cat breeders also developed a line which is now called the British Bombay. Some believe that this line was developed using various Oriental Shorthairs and not just the Burmese. Other believes British Bombay cats are all black coated cats classified under the Asian cat breed group. Most UK based breeders do agree on one thing, this line inherited the intelligence and very calm disposition of the British Shorthair, one of the foundation stock for the British Bombay.

The Australian Bombay originates from Australia and started being developed in 1997. This distinct cat breed was developed by Ms. Heather Brown. She created this breed from locally bred British Shorthair and Burmese cats. Her choice of foundation stock ensured that the Australian Bombay will not acquire any alarming medical conditions that are common in lines of the American Bombay cat breed.

Quick FAQs
Size: All Bombay cats are medium-sized domesticated felines.
Coat Type: All Bombay cats have short hair coat length and black in color.
Body Type: All Bombay cats have moderate-type of bodies.
Grooming Requirement: Bombay cats require very little grooming attention.
Vocal Tendency: Bombays are cats known to be vocal.
Energy Levels: All Bombay cats have high activity level.
Time Alone: A Bombay cat will need four to eight hours of personal time every day.
Care: These are cats that will need a lot of attention from their humans and will be moderately docile in handling.

Recognized The Bombay Cat and the three lines:
American Cat Fanciers Association – First to accept and recognize the breed in 1970, accepted as a Championship Class in 1976.
Cat Fancier’s Association – Recognize the breed and accepted as a Championship Class.
Co-Ordinating Cat Council of Australia – Recognize the breed and accepted as a Championship Class.
New Zealand Cat Fancy – Recognize the breed and accepted as a Championship Class.
The International Cat Association – Recognize the breed and accepted as a Championship Class.
World Cat Federation – Recognize the breed and accepted as a Championship Class.

Recognized The Australian Bombay:
Australian Cat Federation Inc. – Provisional status.
Co-Ordinating Cat Council of Australia – Recognize the breed and accepted as a Championship Class.
New Zealand Cat Fancy – Recognize the breed and accepted as a Championship Class.
World Cat Federation – Recognize the breed and accepted as a Championship Class.

All Bombay cat breeds and types are basically the descendants of initial crosses between Shorthair cats with the Burmese or Burmese-type Oriental Shorthairs. A selective breeding program resulted consistent black coated cats which appears like a miniature Indian Black Panther. The breed’s name was given in honor of this wild cat from India, and the Bombay name was chosen as this was the most popular city in the Indian subcontinent.

The Bombay cat breed may be considered young as the first variety of this breed was developed in 1958. It is also one of the most popular breeds in the world today, spawning several lines and varieties that are being bred in three continents.

The first and original Bombay cat breed was created in Kentucky, USA by Ms. Nikki Horner. This cat breed pioneer wanted to produce a consistent line of cats that will have the physical appearance of a black panther but in a miniature scale. To achieve this goal, Ms. Horner crossed black coated American Shorthair cats with sable American Burmese cats. This Bombay line is now called the American Bombay.

By the late 1980’s, the Bombay cat breed reached the European continent. A pair of American Bombay was imported to France and the litters from this pair were crossed with European Burmese and European Shorthairs. All the Bombay cats bred in Europe since 1989 can trace its roots to the first pair that American Bombays. This Bombay line is now called the European Bombay cat variety, sharing very similar traits and temperament to its American progenitors.

From continental Europe, the Bombay cat breed crossed the English Channel. Cat breeders fancied the new breed and an effort to produce a British version of the American and European Bombay cat varieties was started. To produce the UK variety of the Bombay, local breeders used Burmese cats or any Oriental Shorthaired breed to cross with black coated British Shorthairs.

Recently, a new cat breed that is from the Bombay line was recognized as a pedigree. This is the Australian Bombay cat breed which was first developed in Australia in 1997. Pioneer breeding credits to this breed goes to Ms. Heather Brown. The foundation stock of this particular Bombay line includes the British Shorthair and the Burmese. The Australian Bombay’s development made sure no lines from the American Bombays were used. This is to avoid all the genetic disorders and medical problems that are seen in the American lines.

By the 1970’s, the American Bombay has been accepted in the registries of the American Cat Fancier’s Association, The Cat Fanciers’ Federation, The International Cat Association and the Cat Fancier’s Association. The first major feline organization to fully recognize the Bombay is the American Cat Fancier’s Association. It was fully recognized and accepted as a Champion Breed in 1976. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy also recognize the American Bombay as a distinct and accepted champion breed and classified the British Bombay variety under the Experimental Breed group together with other Asian cat breeds.

Today only the American Bombay is recognized as pedigree in North America and Europe. In Australia and New Zealand, both the American and Australian Bombay cats are fully recognized as distinct breeds.


The young Bombay cat breed is famous on both sides of the Atlantic and also in the Australian continent. These are very athletic, agile and strong felines with high energy and often very active. But the Bombay cats are not high-strung household pets; they are even considered as more sedate compared to the other cat pedigrees.

Generally, all Bombay cats are very similar to their Burmese ancestors. Their genetic makeup makes these cats even-tempered and known to have a very gentle disposition. Bombay cants may show gentleness, but these cats are also very playful cats that will always show their fun-loving nature and outgoing demeanor.

Bombay cat varieties in America, Europe, Great Britain and Australia are very tolerating domesticated felines. These are cats that are known to be very tolerant towards children of all ages, dogs of all sizes and even other house cats in the family. The Bombay is also known to have high levels of intelligence and a very affectionate disposition towards their human family, making them one of the ideal cat companions for the all types of families.

These cats do tend to be a bit needy, constantly craving attention from their human family. But this does not mean that these cats are not adept without constant human interaction. The Bombays will find ways to amuse themselves. Among the Bombay varieties, the American and British Bombay breeds are known to purr a lot compared to the European and Australian Bombay lines. The American and British Bombay cat breeds are also more vocal compared to the quiet Australian and European Bombay cats.

Overall, all Bombay cat varieties are highly energetic, very friendly and very sociable cats that welcomes everyone with a warm heart.

All Bombay cats are medium sized domesticated felines that may weigh from six to ten pounds, very muscular in built and comes only in short and sleek black coats.

The American Bombay and European Bombay lines have smoother black coats that are sleek and are laid parallel to the skin. The British Bombay and Australian Bombay cat breeds have fluffier coats that appear to puff out, with a jet-black color and a muzzle that appears to be slightly shorter. Apart from these minor differences, all Bombay cats share very similar traits and come in gold to copper eye color.
American Bombay cats as well as the European Bombay lines and the British Bombay variety have medium sized bodies that are muscular and not compact or rangy in appearance. Australian Bombay cats have cobby type bodies that are compact in appearance with a broad rib cage structure that is considered to be surprisingly heavy structured for the cat’s size.
Head, Ears and Eyes
Bombay cats in from North America, Europe and Great Britain have heads that are pleasingly rounded in shape that has no sharp angularity. These cats have full faces with major breadth between the eyes, gently blending in their broad and very developed muzzles that are moderately round in shape, maintaining and complimenting the round contours of the head. The ears are medium in size, broad at the base with tips that are slightly rounded and set well apart but showing a tilt that is slightly forward in direction. These cats have a profile that are not “pugged” in appearance or display a look that is considered “snubbed”, with a moderate and visible stop. This moderate stop is not a “break”, rather a slight indentation at the nose’s bridge area. Bombay cats of these types have eye colors that range from gold to copper, set far apart and with a rounded aperture. Australian Bombay cats have shot wedge shaped heads that have wide jaw-hinges that will have a good width between their ears. The top of the head will be gently rounded. These cats have a profile that displays a good depth of the head, from the top down to the jaw area. A very distinct nose break is apparent and noticeable. The eyes are very expressive and large with a luster effect. These cats eyes are shaped slightly oblique but should not be round or almond in shape. This type of Bombay cats have very distinctive eyes, shaped and set that gives a unique expression. The ears are similar to the other Bombay cat breeds.
Coat and Tail
American Bombay cats and the European and British lines have tails that are straight and medium in length.
Australian Bombay cats have medium to long tail length, tapering slightly to the tip that is rounded in shape.
All Bombay cat varieties have short and fine coats that are satin-like in texture and lying closely to the skin.
All Bombay cats have coats that are glossy jet black in color and shall be sound and consistent to the roots.
The American Bombay cats and the lines that were bred from this breed will be prone to the same genetic disorder and health problems of the Burmese cats. These medical issues range from deformities of the skull, eye problems with excessive eye tearing being prevalent, respiratory problems mainly due to a nose that is foreshortened in structure and various dental problems with gingivitis being the most common. The Australian Bombay cat breed is quite the opposite and considered to be a very healthy and hearty domestic cat breed. This breed was developed to avoid all medical issues that are prevalent in the American Bombay variety.