Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Bombay Cat: Info, Pictures, Traits & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Bombay Cat

Height: 13–20 inches
Weight: 8–15 pounds
Lifespan: 12–18 years
Colors: Black
Suitable for: Families with children, active owners
Temperament: Loyal, loving, intelligent, easy to train, friendly, gets along with other pets

If you love the exotic look of panthers and other big cats but know better than to keep one as a pet, the Bombay cat may be the best choice for you. Dating back to 1958, the Bombay was bred in Louisville, KY, by Nikki Horner. Her goal was to create a domestic feline that looked like a wild cat. This breed was also developed in the UK, but the parent breeds are different. American Bombay cats are a cross between Burmese and black American shorthairs, while the British Bombay is a cross between Burmese and black domestic shorthairs. The cat was recognized officially and registered by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1970.

In both cases, the resulting Bombay cat is a sleek, striking black cat that resembles a mini panther. These cats are not only larger and more muscular than other domestic cats, but they’re highly social and enjoy the company of people and other animals.

Find out all you need to know about this playful, intelligent, and striking cat breed to see if it’s the right fit for your household.

hepper single cat paw divider

Bombay Kittens

black Bombay cat
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock


Because the Bombay is a prized breed for both shows and pets, you’re unlikely to come across many in rescues or shelters. If you want a Bombay kitten, it’s best to look for reputable Bombay breeders who can provide you with information about the bloodline and allow you to meet the parents.

Beware of breeders attempting to sell black domestic cats as Bombay cats. Though they may look similar, Bombay cats are fully black, heavier, and more muscular, and have a more outgoing personality than many domestic breeds.

hepper single cat paw divider

3 Little-Known Facts About the Bombay Cat

1. Bombay Cats Are a Little Wild Looking

Like the Savannah, the Bombay was bred with the intention of creating a domestic cat with a wild look. As a result, the Bombay looks like a miniature panther.

2. Bombay Cats Are Fully Black

Black cats come in many breeds, but Bombay cats have full black coats, noses, and paw pads that set them apart. This is offset by sparkling, deep green eyes.

3. Bombay Cats Are Highly Social

Bombay cats like to be around their family and tend to follow people from room to room, so expect a cat that looks for cuddles and attention all the time.

bombay cat sitting on grass outdoor
Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock

hepper single cat paw divider

Temperament & Intelligence of the Bombay Cat

If you’re looking for an aloof, independent cat, the Bombay isn’t for you. This endearing breed is playful, loving, and agreeable—more like a dog than a cat. In fact, Bombay cats need attention and affection from their owners and hate to be left alone for long periods.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Bombay cats enjoy attention from all family members, making them a great choice for families with kids. They are very people-oriented cats and want attention, even as far as playing fetch or other games. Bombay cats also tend to bond with the whole family, rather than showing a preference for one person. Despite the cat’s gentle nature, teach both the cat and the kids appropriate, gentle play to avoid injury, and always supervise play sessions while the kids are young.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

While the Bombay loves households with children and other pets, they enjoy being the ringleader and the center of attention. Though it’s likely to get along with other cats and dogs, it’s best if the Bombay has the space for attention and dominance without having to compete. If you put too many attention-seeking, dominant pets with the Bombay, they may show displeasure or become depressed and lonely. Make sure your Bombay is the star of the show.

hepper cat paw divider

Things to Know When Owning a Bombay Cat

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

Bombays can be eager about food, so they’re prone to obesity. Because of this, it’s better to feed your cat specific amounts at designated times, rather than feeding free choice. Bombay cats do well on high-quality commercial diets. Be sure to choose high-protein food that supports your Bombay’s muscularity and energy needs.

Exercise 🐈

Bombay cats are more active than a lot of domestic breeds. Your cat may enjoy playing fetch or other games. This social breed can get lonely and depressed easily, so be sure that you can devote a few hours to playtime each day. While you’re at work, you can give your cat a scratching post or motorized cat toys to keep it occupied and entertained.

Training 🧶

Bombay cats can be bossy and dominant but generally behave well in domestic situations. This cat doesn’t get its feathers ruffled easily, so behavioral modification is simple. It’s best to keep your Bombay indoors, however, since it’s a naturally curious breed and could be exposed to predation, disease, and other risks outdoors. These cats are also likely to become upset being away from home.

bombay cat sitting in a brown background
Image Credit: Ton van de Blaak, Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

Just like any other cat, your Bombay will need proper grooming and veterinary care to stay healthy and happy. Fortunately, Bombay cats don’t shed much and stay clean on their own. Ideally, you should brush your Bombay once a week to keep its coat clean and shiny. Though they’re low shedding, they are not hypoallergenic cats.

Also, you should consider brushing your cat’s teeth weekly to prevent gum disease. Not all cats take to this process well, but you can get them used to it at a young age. You should also trim your cat’s nails every few weeks, whether yourself or at a vet and supply a scratching post to help them stay short. The pinna, or outside portion of the ears can be cleaned as needed with a gentle cleanser and a cotton ball—no cotton swabs! Also, avoid putting anything into the ear canal itself, just clean the outside edges of the canal opening.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Bombays are generally healthy, but it’s always good to watch for conditions that may affect the breed. One of the most common conditions among cats also affects Bombays—hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is an abnormal thickening on the wall of a cat’s heart that can be chronic and fatal.

Minor Conditions
Serious Conditions
  • Pneumonia
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

hepper cat paw divider

Male vs Female

Choosing between a male and a female Bombay cat is about personal preference. There’s no considerable difference in personality, temperament, or size between the sexes. Keep in mind that whether you get a male or a female cat, it’s best to get it spayed or neutered. This not only prevents unwanted litters that contribute to the feral population but may prevent reproductive cancers and unpleasant behaviors.

hepper cat paw divider


Known for its striking black coat and jewel-like green eyes, the Bombay cat is a gorgeous domestic cat breed that’s a bit wild.  There’s plenty to like about the Bombay, from its low-maintenance grooming needs to its easygoing, social temperament that makes it a fit for families and multiple-pet households.

If you’re looking for a friendly, affectionate, social butterfly of a cat—and one that happens to look like a parlor panther—the Bombay could be the right choice for you.

Featured Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database