Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Bombay cat close up

Breed overview

  • Weight — 8-12 pounds (female), 12-15 pounds (male)
  • Coat characteristics — Short, satin, smooth, and jet-black throughout
  • Enrichment needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Vocalizations — Moderate
  • Life span — 9-15 years
  • Temperament — Active, curious, affectionate, and social
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — United States

Bombay fun facts 

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Bombays Salem; Binx is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Bombays love Luna, then Salem.

  • Bombay cats have fun-loving personalities. They have been called the perfect mix between a dog, a cat, and a monkey. Be ready for this energy.
  • Exotic appearance doesn’t mean exotic origins. Despite owing its name to India, the Bombay originated in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Prepare to share your personal space. Bombay cats are known to be jumpers, leaping onto your lap and spreading across your newspaper or keyboard for attention.
Bombay cat sat on a pile of papers outside

Bombay temperament and characteristics 

The Bombay is a very playful cat breed, often engaging in activities like climbing and jumping. They love to be around the humans in their household and enjoy physical and mental stimulation. With their high intelligence, they can be trained and will engage in games like fetch.

Generally very friendly, the Bombay will do well in homes that have children, other cats, or cat-friendly dogs. In fact, due to their social natures, it is encouraged to have them in a multi-cat household. If they are left alone too long, Bombay cats may suffer from anxiety, depression, and other behavioral issues.

Bombay cats are not the most vocal, but they will occasionally express emotions or let you know something by meowing, purring, or following you around. They will generally also react well to strangers and visitors to the home. Don’t be surprised if they greet your guests at the door as many dogs do.

Common Bombay health problems 

Hardier than many other cat breeds, the Bombay cat is not known for having many health issues. That said, there are some common conditions which these cats can be prone to. Maintaining a routine of regular veterinarian visits can help keep these problems and bay and identify any issues as early as possible.

  • Obesity. As Bombay cats get older and less active, they may gain more weight than they burn off.  Regular meals, rather than leaving the food out, can help.
  • Asthma. This condition occurs when something in the air has irritated your cat’s breathing. Identifying the cause of asthma may help avoid further exposure to irritants.
  • Sinus issues. Sometimes caused by upper-respiratory infections, it is a good idea to get this checked if you notice your cat is sneezing more than normal.
  • Dental issues. Brush your cat’s teeth and maintain good feline dental hygiene  to avoid issues such as gingivitis.

🚨 Male neutered cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can become fatal if left untreated. Make an appointment with the vet immediately if your cat is having accidents.

Cost of caring for a Bombay

Health insurance plans are a great way to help with any unexpected medical expenses that can come up when taking care of your cat. Generally, these plans provide the greatest benefits the earlier you sign up. If an insurance plan is not available to you, budgeting for medical emergencies can be helpful.

Getting a Bombay cat from a breeder can cost as much as $500-$750, but adopting from a shelter or rescue can cost as little as $75-$300.

History of the Bombay

The Bombay cat was first developed in 1958 when cat breeder Nikki Horner wanted to make a domestic black cat that reminded her of the exotic Indian black panther. Among the nicknames of the breed is “the patent leather kid with new penny eyes,” for the Bombay’s characteristic jet-black coat color and golden eyes. While the American Bombay is known for copper eyes, British Bombay cats more often have bright green eyes.

Horner originally wanted the sturdy build of the Burmese cat crossed with the black coat of the American shorthair. The result was a friendly new breed with a round head, round ears, and even round feet. The Bombay cat, sometimes called the “mini panther” or “parlor panther,” is about as close as you can get to owning a pet-sized jungle cat.

Bombay cat on bed

Caring for your Bombay

When bringing a new cat or kitten into your home, it should be your priority to make sure everything is ready for them. They will want things to play with and places to relax. Your cat’s curious nature must be anticipated, so make sure everything is safe for them to explore. Their exploration can lead out of the house, so get your new feline friend all the necessary vaccinations. They should also be microchipped and registered and given a FidoTabby ID tag to help find them if they get lost.


Bombays generally require very little in the way of grooming needs. Their coat is short and tends to maintain itself naturally. As such, the breed is not known for developing matting or other coat-related issues. However, they will not object to any brushing or petting you wish to give them. They rarely need to be bathed, but in case your feline friend gets in a mess, it is good to know how to bathe your cat.

Regardless if your cat is a grooming expert, there are still some routine tasks you should help with to prevent issues like gingivitis.

. Brushing your cat’s teeth, bringing them to the vet for routine dental care, and trimming your cat’s nails are all essential to a healthy cat and a happy you.

Bombay cat sleeping on sofa

Diet and nutrition

Feed your Bombay high-quality food that will help maintain the energy of this agile, active cat. They constantly move and play, so they will want and need to eat more than other cat breeds. As they age, reduce the amount of food to reflect their lowered activity levels. Most importantly, checking with your vet will give you the best idea of how much to feed your cat.

Enrichment and environment

The Bombay needs enough room to let it be the active cat that it is. Multi-leveled cat towers or cat trees and scratching posts will give them the space to move around without fully getting in your way. They are very playful and will benefit from a large number of toys. The best toys, however, will be ones where you can interact with them. Bombays love to play with their humans, enjoying toys that can be used in a game of fetch.

Eager to please and easily easily trainable, don’t be surprised if your Bombay takes well to being walked on a leash. With enough patience and care, you will even find that your Bombay likes to spend time with you outside while on the leash. Be mindful of your friend’s black coat when outside, as you do not want to overheat them with too much direct sunlight. Your Bombay will not avoid the sun, though, so expect to find them lounging in windows and viewing the outside world.

Bombay cat exploring outside

Breeds similar to the Bombay

Not quite sure that a Bombay cat is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Burmese. Wanting to play with toys and being sturdy enough to play with other pets, the affectionate Burmese cat will quickly find its way to the center of your attention. Their short coat requires very little grooming.
  • Korat. A cat generally associated with good luck, the Korat will make any owner feel lucky to have one. Similar in looks to the Russian blue, the Korat is known for its heart-shaped head.
  • American shorthair. Known for being playful, gentle, and affectionate, the American shorthair will get along with everyone in the household. They are great with children and other pets, including dogs. With a wide variety of coat colors, the shorthair will surely find a place in your heart.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Bombay a rare cat breed?

The Bombay is considered to be a rare breed, but with growing popularity among cat fanciers, this is not expected to last for very long.

What is the difference between a Bombay and a black cat?

A black cat is any cat that has a black coat while the Bombay was purposely bred to have a black coat, among other features, such as their copper and golden eyes and round faces.

Are Bombay cats aggressive?

They can be insistent and demand attention, but that does not mean the cat is unfriendly or aggressive. Sometimes using their claws or teeth when playing with toys, they can cause worry, but they mean no harm with these exchanges.

Would a Bombay cat get along with a Siamese cat?

While Bombay cats are known to have friendly personalities that allow them to get along with cats and dogs alike, there is no correct answer about predicting how they will coexist with Siamese cats. Whether cats get along is largely based on their personalities rather than their breed. Only patience and time will tell.

How long can a Bombay be left alone?

As very social cats that want to be around their loved ones, Bombays should be left alone for as little time as possible. If they have to be left alone, provide them with plenty of toys and other forms of entertainment to make it easier for them.