Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.


The Bombay breed is perfect for cat-lovers who secretly want to own an affectionate panther. Copper-eyed, black and short-haired, this cat has the exotic appearance of a tiny, black leopard. In fact, the breed derives its name from the Indian city of Bombay, which is also considered the land of the black leopard.

Physical Characteristics

Curiously, this well-built, medium-sized cat looks rather mundane as a kitten. The Bombay does not develop its lustrous, satin-like black coat, stunning gold eyes, and other exotic characteristics until after the fourth month.

Personality and Temperament

Bombay cats get along well with children and prefer to be around humans. In fact, not only will it display affection and attach itself to one particular member of the family, but to all members. However, it will only call for attention in a gentle and polite way, without being troublesome. This intelligent cat also enjoys playing and exploring.

History and Background

The late Nikki Horner, an American breeder, is credited for creating the first Bombay in the late '50s. Her objective was to breed a cat which looked like a miniature panther, with a glossy black coat and yellow eyes. However, she wanted the cat to have certain characteristics of the Burmese.

Although her first attempt at crossing Burmese cats with black American Shorthairs were unsuccessful, she continued to persevere. Eventually Horner succeeded when she crossed a black American Shorthair male, endowed with rich eye color, with a champion Burmese.

To her dismay, Horner found that the various Cat Associations showed reluctance in accepting her creation, and was denied Championship status. But Homer persisted in her efforts and in 1976 the cat was finally registered by the Cat Fancier's Association. After almost 18 years of struggle, the breed was allowed to compete in the Championship Classes on May 1, 1986.

Though this breed is not easily available, the Bombay has found favor with many people and has a steady fan following. 

Comments  23

Leave Comment
  • Bombays as a rescue
    04/19/2013 11:41pm

    WOW. I've got one...and I just love her to pieces and feel I get the same in return. I adopted her at the shelter and she was all alone. Any other kittens they had were already taken. She was in a corner cage behind the door in. I AM SO HAPPY WITH HER. She was kind of strange looking at first, but then she became this beautiful, elegant looking, poised, sweet, slinky black animal that is SO understanding and understandable. Smart AND intelligent. I'm 62 years old and under care for depression. I wanted a pal so I wouldn't be alone, since I have no immediate family. GADS, I am so thankful that I got up and got her and (maybe) someone didn't know what they were letting go of. She's loving and .... just great. rg P.S. Thank you for the knowledge of the Bombay so I can feel more like her family type of people.

  • 05/28/2013 06:34am

    coincidentally, I adopted 2 kittens from a public shelter last November. They are brothers; and love each other. I love them too.

  • 05/31/2015 01:20am

    It's funny you mentioned how your kitty was kinda funny looking as a kitten, I also have a bombay and when I adopted her from the shelter, she too was a dingy looking little street rat... than she grew up into the most beautiful mini panther ever!

  • 06/10/2015 08:02pm

    Omg soooo cute

  • 12/16/2015 05:28am

    It's me again - three years later - and we are VERY happy. I just wanted to mention that a very large black cat (male) has found my doorstep. Darn if I'm not aloud to have more than one pet. But, against rules, I fed him a bit at night. Been yelled at once. Anyway, he eats three times more than my little Wini and he is twice as big (naturally), plus he talks to himself or/and whoever is listening. Heh. No one even needs to be there. I think it is how he keeps known to the WORLD and vibrates something he needs in his head. HA-HA. There he goes. He knows when I am thinking of him. He starts up every time!!!! I love it. this cam from reading a couple of the comments that have been given here. PEACE. And thank you.

  • 07/02/2013 09:32pm

    We too have an adorable but crazy Bombay. She was found in a park as a very tiny kitten, and my son and his girlfriend had her nursed back to health. Now she is ours, and growing nicely. An amazing breed, almost dog like. Little did we know they are rare. Wonder how she wound up where she was? But we love our MINOT to death, so it doesn't matter now . Beautiful coat, makes p her own games, highly affectionate, and man can she eat! Interesting breed for sure.

  • rescued Bombay
    11/17/2013 02:48am

    I got my wonderful girl 4 years ago from a lady that was just giving her away or was going to take her to the pound she is now 14 and acts more like a dog then a cat I wounder if the lady knew what she had

  • Seriously?.........
    04/28/2014 09:34pm

    Doesn't anyone even wonder what happened to all the kittens produced in trying to "create" a "perfect" cat? This is just one of the many reasons why so many cats and kittens are euthanized or worse. Please adopt from a shelter and don't breed. I have two physically imperfect cats and can't even begin to understand the concept of breeding over and over again in the quest for "perfection." Mine are perfect for me and that's all that matters. Oh, and I also volunteer at a shelter, so I see firsthand what happens to those creations that didn't turn out perfect.

  • 06/10/2015 08:07pm

    Now THATS sad

  • 12/16/2015 05:32am

    I have worked at a shelter. It's crushing. But how they do it...I could not keep up for long. The ones I hate are the abusers. Not the ones who are trying to help. Gee, don't helpers need help too?

  • Found under a car
    07/30/2014 06:01am

    We found Shadow in a parking lot under a car. He was scared and alone. the vet said he was only 5 weeks old. We took him home, and over the years he became the king of the roost over four other cats that came later. Now he is the only one left, the first and the last. He is now 15 years old.

  • Found on my roof
    05/22/2015 05:40am

    Actually i found a small kitten near about 2weeks on my roof. I am very happy to got it. I love katty. So i am very happy to have it. I care of her like a small baby, always try to neat and clean her and wash litter box regularly.

  • Crazy and Lovable Bombay
    12/13/2015 01:43am

    My wife and I traveled out of town in early 9/'15 and had a friend take care of and feed our female Tabby that we absolutely loved to death. We left our garage door opened slightly so she could come-and-go as she wanted. It was love at first sight with her and I, and she was very much a part of our family for over 6yrs. When we returned home, our friend that was kitty-sitting said that both the wet and dry food bowls would be completely empty when she would visit which was sometimes twice a day. This was odd because our Tabby had a very small appetite. In the days following our return, we still kept the garage door open so our Tabby to come-and-go. I work from home so here almost all the time. I was working one day and I see a black cat nervously creep in but as soon as there was eye contact, he was gone. Over the next few days I would see "the black cat" outside but was very nervous and skittish. I finally got him to come to me after days of coaxing by sitting on the ground letting him come to me. It was obvious that he was not being fed and I'm sure the reason for his visits. After a week or so, he decided to adopt us and we are SO happy that he did. He is absolutely the sweetest, most affectionate pet that we could ever ask for, and is a beautiful animal with a very shiny coat and beautiful eyes that change color with his mood. He loves to sleep with us and greets us with affection every morning. When he lies next to either of us, he holds and cradles our faces with his paws. He's very talkative, sometimes just to himself, and he's a little crazy but the good kind. If you ever have the opportunity to make your life a little better, get a Bombay. They are the best! Just make sure you can afford to feed one. Ours easily eats 3-4, 5.5 oz. cans a day and also nibbles on dry food. The sad ending to this story is that our wonderful Tabby got her feelings hurt and she moved away to adopt another family. :( Sorry for the long post but thought it would be helpful to anyone ever considering a Bombay! They are GREAT!

  • My Bombay the stange!
    02/07/2016 05:39am

    My Charlee is a very unique one. We recently moved to a new apartment and Charlee found an old feather duster. Or should I say asked the feather duster out for a date. aka the feather is his new "Girlfriend" LOL

  • 07/10/2016 02:56pm

    Aw --- He's just making/getting it to grow old with some culture...LOL.

  • Levie Love;my Bombay baby
    04/06/2016 05:23pm

    I brought "Elvira" home from the shelter just 3 almost 4 weeks ago. I didn't care for the name so she is Levie. For the first ten days she was under the bed and the joke was... sure you have a cat. I have not been a fan of felines until now. Levie is sitting next to me purring in her relaxed pose on "our" bed. It did not take long. I built it and she came. I just knew if I pushed we would not be a success. On Day 11 suddenly she started following me around, licking my hand and ankles. I have had children, birds, dogs. I am a grandma and nothing has been quite like this. Levie is four. I plan on our naps for many years to come... Oh and our 2 am play sessions are the greatest. Levie is as fun and lovable as she is beautiful. My Bombay baby...

  • Sweetie
    06/07/2016 09:09pm

    After moving into a very large apartment complex I noticed a beautiful black cat wandering the premises. I take my Snowshoe for walks and this cat would stalk us/walk behind us. This Bombay had no collar, management said someone abandoned him. This Bombay was so sweet, would come up and rub on your leg, let you pet him, roll around and want his belly rubbed. Give you head butts and touch your face with his paws. So me and my neighbor named him Sweetie. He got along great with my cat and they became fast friends, I feed and house Sweetie on a regular basis, but he still hunts at night. We can often be seen all walking together around the complex. He now brings me gifts of birds, mice and lizards. A jungle cat for sure! I thought it was unusual that he ate so much, but I guess that's normal. Love this breed, so gentle and sweet.

  • 06/16/2016 08:50am

    Are you in Isla Vista, CA by any chance?

  • Extremely large Bombay
    07/10/2016 02:06pm

    I two cats that have every single physical characteristic of the Bombay, but they both weigh the same of my Maine coon. About 20 pounds or more. Can I Bombay breed with another breed and still have the features of the Bombay? Only change in size?

  • 07/10/2016 02:52pm

    Hi --- I can see stripes and signs of brown sable highlights in my Wini. If the lighting is right and she is in the position. So for sure she is a mutt. HA-HA. Or at least not prejudice. LOL. Yet she is ALL black. She had a tiny spot of white on her chest when her were young, but it has gone now. I believe the prominent is the Bombay. Hey! Don't they deserve it!!?? Ha-ha.

  • Bombay cats
    10/03/2016 03:08am

    Where can I find a Bombay? I live by Tampa, FL. I've been looking for one for months. Any tips?

  • 10/03/2016 05:08pm

    Jeepers kiddo, I believe ANY 'black cat' is a Bombay! Go to the shelters and put in a request, go to the paper and put in an ad, ask the pet stores.... If it is kind of ugly DO NOT worry, ha-ha, THEY ALL ARE at young age. But ALL are beauties when they grow up. Must be part of their learning process. But quiet and serene are their main ways. Just look outs and maties. LUCK!!! Now for a 'purebred' ... google it and A LOT more luck. :)

  • Mikey - Likes everything
    01/13/2017 06:15pm

    Our resident cat is a 20Lb monster, not a Bombay but very similar. Unfortunately, he lost his companion, a very active tabby and set to mourning, not touching his food. That's why we decided to adopt a kitten for him. Well, Mack(the cat) was neutered so we fell for another male kitten which was a Bombay from our neighbor's litter of 4. He is now 3 months old and is the Kning of the castle, terrorizing Mack the cat so much that we have to separate them at times. We called our kitten Mikey, because he likes everything we give him, but his nickname is Kato after the Pink Panther's personal trainer. He is the fastest kitten this side of the Indian ocean and growing fast into a beautiful animal. Long ears and legs and a great way of showing affection. He "nurses" our other cat, even though it's male. He even nurses our fingers, albeit with a sharp edge. Sleeps between us most of the night. I just hope he doesn't frighten our other dear cat away.



Gentle, active, and playful, but quiet and unobtrusive when it sees you are busy, the Birman is an excellent...


British Shorthair

Physical Characteristics   The British Shorthair has a crisp, plush coat, dense and waterproof,...