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10 Reasons to Love the Beautiful Black Bombay

This new breed that mixes Burmese and American Shorthair looks like a small panther.

Erika Sorocco  |  Oct 30th 2015


Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the September/October 2015 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.

The Bombay is known for being smart and talkative, beautiful and adaptable, odd (in a good way), and just a bit mischievous. Here are 10 reasons this cat breed is worth humans’ love and adoration.

1. These cats gleam like leather and copper

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Photo by Nickolas Titkov / Flickr

The shiny, wet-look coat and gold-to-copper eyes have left the Bombay breed bearing the nickname “the patent leather kid with the new penny eyes.”

2. The breed took a long time to perfect

They come from the pairing of a black American Shorthair and a sable Burmese in 1953 by breeder Nikki Horner. She wanted to develop a “parlor panther” with exotic looks but a domesticated personality. It took quite a bit of trial and error for Horner to produce her dream cat. After an arduous process of selective line breeding, she was able to consistently produce the sleek feline — officially earning Cat Fanciers’ Association recognition in 1976.

3. It’s named after a city in India

As the result of a breeding between an American Shorthair and a Burmese, you would think that the name would pay homage to ancestry, right? Wrong. Because the Bombay was inspired by Horner’s love of black panthers, the cat was named after Bombay (now known as Mumbai), India.

4. Did that cat just fetch?

Heck yes! The Bombay is one of those cats who possesses the curiosity and general mischievousness associated with felines. He also enjoys walking on a leash and retrieving objects you might toss his way. That’s so fetch, right?

5. Unforgettable eyes

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Nico. Photo by Christian / Flickr

Muscular, lithesome, and medium in size, the Bombay’s rounded head and short muzzle are two of its most distinctive and memorable characteristics. Another round feature? Those eyes! As opposed to having an almond-shaped slant like most cat breeds, the Bombay’s eyes are round and piercing.

6. Let me be your shadow

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Lola loving a box. Photo by Beckie / Flickr

Bombays are ready, willing, and able to be affectionate with anyone and everyone. Far more than just a lap cat, the Bombay will become your shadow – following you from room to room, constant-companion style.

7. A great conversationalist

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Here’s Lola again. “Lazy cat, lazy kids,” says her human. Photo by Beckie / Flickr

Though the Bombay doesn’t hold a candle to the Siamese in terms of conversation skills, the breed is known for being vocal — especially when trying to get your attention. Which is, honestly, 24/7.

8. One adaptable cat

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Bhavana. Photo by Se Re / Flickr

The Bombay goes with the flow and will seamlessly adjust to any new situation that comes his way — be it moving to a smaller space or introducing him to your new significant other. Just make sure that he remains top cat.

9. Alpha with benefits

They get along with other animals. They’re known to easily accept any new creature in the household and quickly form BFF bonds; but, they like to be the boss. Seriously, though, who doesn’t?

10. Undercover(s) cat

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Felix has a cat nap. Photo by marmar gee / Flickr

He’s a hog when it comes to finding the warmest spot in the house — and he’s not above curling up under the covers at night to keep warm. But beware, he may not be able to resist taking a nibble on your toes.

See more cat breed profiles at Catster’s Cat Breeds page.

About the author: Writer and blogger Erika Sorocco has written about small mammals including cats for 10 years, with contributions appearing in Cat Fancy, Rabbits USA, Critters USA, and Ferrets USA. A former freelance music writer for The Californian newspaper, Erika fuses her love for felines and fashion in the blog Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans, where she waxes poetic about her favorite makeup look (cat eyes, of course), and love for cozy knit sweaters (which she unwillingly shares with her cats Minky and Gypsy). Follow Erika on Twitter.