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Bombay Cat vs. Black Cat: What Is My Cat?

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Black cats can belong to any breed. There are several different breeds that can be black, depending on the exact genetics and standard of the breed.

Bombay cats are one of these breeds. In fact, Bombay cats are only black. If you have a Bombay cat, they will be black. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all black cats are Bombay cats. In many cases, black cats do not belong to this breed at all.

Determining if your black cat is a Bombay cat can be difficult. After all, you have to identify very specific characteristics. In this article, we’ll take a look at the average black cat and the Bombay cat to help you tell the difference.

Visual Differences

Bombay Cat vs. Black Cat
Image Credit: Left: Bombay Cat: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock | Right: Black Cat: Piqsels

At a Glance

Bombay Cat
  • Origin: Kentucky, USA
  • Size: 8–15 pounds
  • Lifespan: 15–20 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes
Black Cat
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Size: Varies
  • Lifespan: 15–20 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes

Bombay Cat Overview

Bombay cats are a specific breed of cat that was developed by breeding Burmese cats with black American Shorthair cats. This crossing produced a cat that is quite similar to the Burmese – but black. They have a sleek coat that is often described as “panther-like.”

However, there is some confusion surrounding this breed. In some cases, it is simply used to refer to any black cats in the Asian group.

bombay black cat portrait
Image Credit: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock

Appearance

These felines look very similar to other domestic cats. They are directly related to the Burmese and look a lot like Burmese. In many cases, you can’t tell them apart from a Burmese besides their coat color. This was on purpose, as the creator of the breed was basically trying to make a black Burmese cat.

These cats are completely black, including their soles, nose, and mouth. They can have either copper or green eyes.

Their coat is colored all the way to the root and does not exhibit any paling.

They are medium-sized cats with a healthy, muscular build. They can weigh between 8 to 15 pounds, while females are on the lighter side.

Temperament

These felines tend to be extremely social. They attach themselves closely to their families and need more attention than many other cats out there. They are very suitable for homes with children for this reason. They simply move attention from anyone.

These cats don’t tend to be very independent. However, some adults may become more independent later in life.

While these cats seem to love all people in general, they can also become exceedingly attached to one particular person. They may follow one person around the house and seem obviously attached to them. However, they are still happy to give attention to everyone despite this.

Usually, this feline is known for being attention-seeking and playful. Their purr is very loud and distinctive, and they tend to use it often.

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

Health

The Bombay cat can live to be anywhere from 15 to 20 years of age. They are extremely long-lived and healthy cats, so they aren’t known for experiencing many health problems.

However, they are prone to some sinus issues. Sniffly noses and similar issues are common, especially if the cat catches a cold or something similar first.

They are also prone to dental problems, as are most cats. Therefore, regular toothbrushing is highly recommended. Otherwise, these felines may develop dental problems like gingivitis.

You should carefully control your food intake to avoid overfeeding. Otherwise, they can develop obesity, which can contribute to many different health issues.

Black Cat Overview

The problem with referring to “black cats” is that they are extremely varied. There are many different breeds that can come in black coloration, and they can have very different characteristics from each other. In fact, there are 22 different cat breeds with solid black coats.

Therefore, there isn’t such a thing as an average black cat. Instead, these cats come in many different varieties and appearances.

A black cat can either be purebred or mixed. Many are common domestic cats that happen to have solid black coats but don’t belong to any particular breed.

black cat sitting outdoor
Image Credit: Piqsels

Appearance

A solid black cat can range from coal black to brownish-black. Usually, these solid-colored cats carry the recessive gene for the tabby pattern. However, they do not display this gene themselves. Their kittens may, though.

With that said, the tabby gene is never “fully” suppressed. Therefore, many black cats have light tabby markings in certain lightings. As long as the markings aren’t serious, these cats are still referred to as “solid” cats.

Most black cats have their black coloration go all the way to their root. However, cats with white roots are often referred to as “black smoke,” as their roots can look a bit smokey.

Eumelanin is the pigment that produces black coloration in cats. This chemical is fragile in the sunlight. If your cat spends a lot of time in the sunlight, it can cause “rusting,” which is basically where this pigment breaks down, and the cat becomes a brownish color instead.

However, this coloration is often not allowed in many breeds. Rusting is often a disqualification or at least causes the cat to be docked by a few points.

Different breeds may have slightly different shades of black that are allowed.

Temperament

There are no specific temperament traits tied to a cat’s coat color. Therefore, you can’t predict a cat’s temperament based on its coat coloration.

black cat outdoor
Image Credit: Darkmoon_Art, Pixabay

Health

There are no health issues associated with black cats particularly.

However, rusting can be caused by a deficiency in tyrosine, which is an amino acid. It is required to produce black coloration. So, without it, cats will start to rust.

What Are the Differences Between Bombay Cats and Black Cats?

There isn’t necessarily a “difference” between these two types of cats.

Instead, Bombay cats do fall into the black cat category. In other words, they are a type of black cat.

However, there are also many different kinds of black cats. There are 21 other recognized breeds that can also be black. Therefore, just because a cat is black does not mean that they are a Bombay feline.

In fact, a black cat is more likely to simply be some random domestic cat than a Bombay cat specifically, especially if you didn’t purchase it from a breeder.

 

Which Breed Is Right for You?

Black cats do not have a specific temperament or certain characteristics. Therefore, if you simply purchase a black cat because they are black, you won’t really know what you are getting. For this reason, we recommend not focusing specifically on the coat color since the other factors will matter much more.

Bombay cats tend to be very clingy and people-oriented. If you have lots of time on your hands and want a constant companion, they may be the best cat for you. However, for those that want a more independent pet, this breed is not the correct option.


Featured Image Credit: Left: Bombay cat: Viktor Sergeevich, Shutterstock | Right: Black Cat: Darkmoon_Art, Pixabay

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