What to Know About Bombay Cats


In this Article

  • Bombay Cat Features
  • Caring for a Bombay Cat
  • Bombay Cat Health Issues
  • Special Considerations for Bombay Cats
  • Bombay Cat History

Bombay cats are an unforgettable breed. They’re compact cats with a sleek black coat, an homage to the black leopard.

They’re also members of a loving breed who just want to spend time with you, and you’ll likely find that it’s hard to say no to such an adorable cat!

Bombay Cat Features

Bombay cat size and shape. Bombay cats are medium-sized. Males tend to be between 8 and 10 pounds and females between 6 and 8 pounds. 

Fur quality. Bombay cats have a short coat of sleek black fur.

The Bombay cat’s coat is one of many unique features. It was bred to resemble the shiny coat of a panther.

Distinctive physical characteristics. The Bombay cat has a few other unique characteristics, including its eyes, muzzle, and head.

A Bombay has large, round eyes that range from gold to copper color. They’re meant to resemble the glowing eyes of a panther.

The Bombay’s head is round with a short snout. Combined with its wide eyes, the Bombay cat has an unforgettable appearance.

Bombay cat lifespan. Bombays have a substantial lifespan. They frequently live to be 15 to 17 years old. 

They sometimes live to be 20 years old or more. Since Bombays are generally healthy, you can expect many good years with your pet. 

Bombay cat personality. Bombay cats are intelligent and outgoing, a great combination for an active owner. They enjoy playing games and being affectionate with their loved ones.

Bombay cat temperament. They’re easy-going, making them great pets for various lifestyles. They can play around, sit on your lap, or go on walks.

Caring for a Bombay Cat

Coat care. Caring for a Bombay cat’s coat is easy. They don’t shed much, and weekly brushing will keep their coat silky and shiny.

Tooth and nail care. Dental diseases are a common problem in cats, so dental hygiene is vital. Brushing their teeth daily with a vet-approved toothbrush and toothpaste is the best way to clean their teeth, but you can also use:

  • Dental chews
  • Dental treats
  • Oral rinses

Many cats need monthly nail trimmings. Your vet or groomer can trim them, or you can trim them yourself.

Scratching on posts and cat trees can help wear down their nails between trimmings, but a scratching post isn’t a substitute for trimming your cat’s nails.

Feeding and nutrition. Excluding special dietary needs, your Bombay can get their necessary nutrients from high-quality commercial cat food, but cats can be picky eaters. 

Meanwhile, the amount of food your cat needs depends on their size and activity. 

All cats need access to clean water all the time.

For many cats, portioned meals twice a day is enough. You can monitor their eating habits and make sure they’re eating their food.

Some cats do better with free-feeding, having access to food all the time. Free-feeding may lead to overeating, though, and should be done carefully. 

Additionally, only free-feed with dry food. Letting wet food sit out can attract unwanted pests and bacteria.

Dry food is affordable and long-lasting, but it has a low moisture content, making it more difficult for your cat to stay hydrated and to digest the food.

Wet food tends to be more expensive than dry food, but it has high moisture content and comes in many flavors, making it desirable for many cats.

Your Bombay’s diet will change as they age. Talk to your vet and read nutrition labels to make sure your cat’s getting the nutrients they need.

Cats love treats, but treats are like junk food. They aren’t nutritionally complete and shouldn’t account for more than 15% of their daily calories.

Activity needs. Young Bombay cats are active and curious, so they can get into trouble. They’ll need plenty of interactive toys and stimulation to keep them satisfied. 

As your Bombay ages, they’ll calm down. They’ll probably prefer to lounge instead of running around. 

Bombay cats need mental stimulation, though. Teaching them tricks, playing games, and using interactive toys can help them engage their energy.

Parasite prevention. Most people think fleas, ticks, and heartworms are an issue for outdoor animals, but indoor cats also need protection from those common parasites.

Fleas and ticks can both get inside on you or your outdoor pets and eventually take nest on your Bombay. There are many commercially available preventatives to protect your cat, though, so consult your vet to figure out which is right for your kitty.

Heartworms are transmitted through infected mosquito bites. They’re more commonly recognized in dogs, but they pose a threat to cats, too.

Recognizing and treating heartworms in cats is still difficult. There’s no approved drug treatment for heartworms in cats.

Unfortunately, heartworms can be deadly. Talk to your vet about heartworm infections in your area, available preventative options, and heartworm tests at your Bombay’s regular vet visits.

Outdoor restrictions. Many cats love looking out the window or going on walks. Despite their love of the outdoors, though, they shouldn’t be allowed to run freely outdoors. 

Cats also have predatory instincts. Outdoor cats hunt rodents and birds, which damages the local ecosystem and exposes them to diseases.

You can engage your Bombay cat’s predatory and exploratory nature through games, interactive toys, and places to explore.  

Vet visits. Bombay kittens need several vet visits during their first few months to track their development, provide vaccinations, and get them spayed or neutered. Your vet will determine the amount and frequency of vet visits.

Once your Bombay is an adult, they need a yearly vet visit. These visits focus on updating vaccines, preventing diseases, monitoring their weight, and more.

Senior cats need at least two vet visits per year. Your vet will watch  signs of aging, conduct routine examinations, and try to treat diseases early.

Bombay Cat Health Issues

Bombay cats are typically healthy and not commonly susceptible to any health issues. There are some conditions common to all cats, though, that you can still be aware of.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is the most common cardiac disease in cats. It’s a condition where the heart walls thicken and cause the heart to have difficulty working.

There’s no preventable cause of HCM. In most cases, it’s a genetic condition, so it can happen anytime at any age. 

Cats don’t tend to show symptoms if they have HCM. Severe symptoms, however, include lethargy, difficulty breathing, and breathing from their mouths.

HCM can’t be cured. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms like regulating their heart rate and reducing congestion through medications. 

Feline dental disease. At least 50% of cats older than 4 years have a type of dental disease. Many dental diseases, though, are preventable and treatable.

The most common dental diseases are:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Tooth resorption

If your cat has a dental disease, they typically stop eating because it causes discomfort. Other common symptoms of dental problems include drooling, bad breath, or discomfort while eating.

You can prevent dental diseases by cleaning your cat’s teeth using the methods previously mentioned. Professional cleanings can treat gingivitis and periodontitis.

Severe cases and tooth resorption typically require tooth extractions.

Other common conditions. Your Bombay can get vaccines for common conditions like feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and rabies. 

Some other conditions that are common in cats include:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Upper respiratory infections

Special Considerations for Bombay Cats

Are they good with other animals? Bombay cats are highly adaptable and easy-going, so they get along well with other pets. For people who aren’t home much, other pets can keep your Bombay cat company. 

Are they good with children? For the same reasons listed above, Bombays do well with children. 

Are they allergenic? Bombays are light shedders, so they can be a good choice for people with mild allergies to cats. 

Social to a fault. Bombay cats need people who will spend a lot of time with them. They may not be a great choice for people who won’t be home a lot or who don’t have other pets to keep their Bombay company.

Bombay Cat History

A breeder named Nikki Horner wanted to create a domestic that looked like a black leopard. She started her project in 1965.

There were several features she wanted to see in her new cat breed. Some of these included:

  • The black color of an American shorthair
  • The sleek coat of a Burmese
  • The radiant eyes of a black leopard 

In the 1970s, the modern-day Bombay cat was the product of Horner’s work. The breed was accepted into championship competitions, and the Bombay’s positive reputation was sealed.

Black leopards are at home in India. Since they were the inspiration for the Bombay cat, Horner named the breed Bombay after the Indian city of the same name.

Horner stopped breeding Bombays soon after the initial competitions, but new breeders were enamored with Bombays and continued breeding new combinations. 

Show Sources

Photo Credits:

1. ©fitopardo / Getty Images


Animals: “Uncontrolled Outdoor Access for Cats: An Assessment of Risks and Benefits.”

ASPCA: “Cat Nutrition Tips,” “Common Cat Diseases.”

CatCareforLife: “Frequency of veterinary check ups.”

The Cat Fancier’s Association: “About the Bombay.”

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: “Feeding Your Cat,” “Feline Dental Disease,” “Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.”

TICA: “Bombay at a Glance.”

VCA Animal Hospitals: “Cat Dental Care and Hygiene,” “Flea Control in Cats,” “Heartworm Disease in Cats,” “Ticks in Cats.”

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