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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.
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.
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.
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.