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Bombay at a GlanceBombay Full Body

Bombay cats combine the easy-going nature of the American Shorthair with the inquisitive loving personality of the social Burmese. The Bombay are only black. They love to be in the company of their families and will greet them and visitors at the door with loving enthusiasm. Find out more about this breed and if the Bombay is right for you and your family.

  • Temperament: Loving, Intelligent, People-Oriented

  • Size: A medium compact sized cat, with males being larger. Adult males range from 8-10 lbs., and females are usually 6-8 lbs.

  • Colors: Black

  • Life Expectancy:: Bombay cats often live into their teens; 15-17 years is common. Some will even live into their 20’s.

About the Bombay

Bombay cats love human interaction and being the center of attention. They are a true part of the family and like to be involved in everything, including walking around perched on their owner’s soldier or cuddled in their lap as they watch TV or read a book, they’ve even been known to join their humans under the covers at bedtime. The lively and affectionate Bombay is adaptable to many different environments and lifestyles.

Activity Level: The Bombay is a smart cat who loves to play. As kittens they are very active and curious and adapt easily to change. It is recommended to kitten-proof homes with Bombay kittens. As they get older, they tend to become more tranquil, preferring to watch rather than get involved in activities.

They thrive with families who are willing to teach them tricks, play games and provide plenty of puzzle or interactive toys. Cat trees and activity/running wheels are great as well. Play time activities before bedtime is a good idea.

They do best with families who give them plenty of attention and get along well with children and other pets. They do not like to be left alone and are not a good choice for those who are away from the house a lot or do not have other animals.

TICA Regions, Clubs & Rescues

Want to connect with fellow cat lovers and those who love the same breed as you?
TICA is a large resource made up of smaller regions and clubs around the world.
Click here to find a club near you and contact information for your regional director and website.

Wherever you are, you’re in TICA’s world!® 


Find a Kitten: Bombay TICA Breeders

The TICA website is the only place where you can find TICA member breeders who have signed the TICA Code of Ethics.
Click here to find Bombay Kittens.

American Wirehair Breed Head ShotCare

The Bombay’s short, fine coat sheds little and is easy to care for by brushing weekly. Sometimes they will only require running a chamois over their coat to remove lose hairs and bring a silky sheen to their coat. Bathing is not necessary but can be done a couple of times each year.

As with all cats, keep their nails trimmed, ears cleaned, and teeth brushed regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste and provide a nice tall scratching pole to help their natural scratching instinct.


The Bombay is a sturdy, stocky cat. Exercise and a high-quality diet are key to keeping them healthy. Like all cats, Bombay’s are active cats and need mostly animal protein/meat in their diet. Canned food twice a day and a quality dry food with no corn or wheat. Avoid grains if possible. Give them dry food with high level of animal protein to maintain the muscle mass and fatty acids to maintain a healthy skin and shiny coat. If using dry food, avoid foods with a lot of grains, leave some out daily to free feed. Kittens require quality food to put on muscle as they grow.

As with all cats, it is important to give your cat fresh, clean water daily. Fresh, clean water is best, so cats don’t hesitate to drink. If you worry about your cat drinking enough water each day, here's a tip from Jackson Galaxy and other cat behaviorists - Place the water bowl at least three feet away from any food. Cats’ noses are sensitive, and an overwhelming smell of food may cause them to drink less. Filtered drinking fountains can also be used in place of a water bowl.   


The Bombay is generally a healthy breed but, as with all cats, they are at risk for the most common heart disease, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. This is a genetic disease that can result in heart failure and death, so it is of paramount importance that breeders diligently screen for this via echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) performed by a Veterinary Cardiologist. Because HCM doesn’t always show up in the first years of life, it is important for pet owners to proactively screen for this disease as well.

Knowledgeable breeders will DNA test their breeding cats for defects (BHD, HK and GM2) that can occur in the breed. HK and GM2, which are the only ones that may affect pet buyers, are mainly seen in lines that originate in Europe, but as the genetic tests have been available for several years now, these defects have almost been eliminated.


Nikki Horner had in mind a cat that resembled the black leopard of India and named the breed she developed from combining black American Shorthairs with Burmese the Bombay after the Indian city. She wanted a cat with the sleek, short tight coat of the Burmese in the darkest black from the American Shorthair lit up with eyes like new copper pennies. Her early efforts were unsuccessful but undeterred she kept trying to create her vision and the combinations she used beginning in 1965 led to success. Horner had been breeding cats since she was 16 and in the 1970s, when her creation was finally accepted for championship competition, she stopped breeding. Other breeders had fallen in love with the stunning breed with the fabulous personality and worked to keep the breed going.

Major influencers in the breed's progression and popularity were Herb and Suzanne Zwecker. They also developed new lines with new combinations of the Burmese with the American Shorthair. Shawnee and Road To Fame are found behind many of today's Bombays. TICA accepted the Bombay for championship competition in June 1979.

Similar Breeds:

Burmilla, Tonkinese, and Burmese.

Opposite Breeds:

Maine Coon (large & longhair), Siberian (medium-large & longhair) Siamese (long and triangular), and the Peterbald (long & hairless).

Did You Know?

  • The Bombay’s nickname is “the patent-leather kid with the new-penny eyes.”
  • Bombay cats are heavier than they appear. They are stocky and somewhat compact but are very muscular with heavy boning.
  • Bombay cats sway when they walk, similar to that of an Indian black leopard.
  • The breed derives its name from the Indian city of Bombay, which is also considered the land of the black leopard.

The Breed Standard

The Bombay originated as a hybrid between the Burmese and the American Shorthair. However, it has distinctive features which separate it from its parent breeds. Created to resemble a "mini-panther", the Bombay is a medium-size cat, well-balanced, friendly, alert, and outgoing, muscular and deceptively heavy for its size. With its jet-black, "patent leather" coat; "new copper penny" eyes; solid body and sweet, open facial expression, the ideal Bombay has an unmistakable look of its own.

Click here to read the full TICA American Shorthair Breed Standard.

Bombay Breed

Bombay Full BodyAccepted For Championship in TICA in 1979

Wherever You Are, You're In TICA's World

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