It is believed that the Bombay was first developed in the 1950s by Nikki Horner, a breeder from Kentucky, USA. Wanting to create a cat with a wild physicality, Horner began by crossing an all-black American Shorthair with a Burmese, although the initial results were disappointing. This did not discourage her and Horner tried again, this time crossing an American Shorthair with the desirable copper-coloured eyes, and an all-black champion Burmese. The result was a gorgeous black cat with a close-fitting coat, copper eyes and a balanced temperament. The Bombay eventually gained official recognition from the International Cat Association and the Cat Fancier’s Association, as well as a number of other feline registries.
The Bombay acquired its name after Bombay, India, where the black leopard hails from. Horner chose to call it this because of the similarities between the two cats in terms of shape and colour. The Bombay is a very appealing cat to look at, with its striking eyes, glossy coat, nimble legs and rounded face. The ears are typically wide-spaced and are small in comparison to other cat breeds. Many breeders, owners and enthusiasts describe the Bombay as a vocal cat that communicates softly when it wants attention. That is quite often, as the breed is highly sociable and thoroughly enjoys interacting with its owners and family.
Besides being sociable and vocal, the Bombay is an affectionate, gentle and adaptable cat, well suited to indoor or outdoor living. A Bombay will want to be involved in all activity around the house and will not appreciate being left alone for long periods of time. Highly compatible with children and other house pets when introduced to them gradually, this is the ideal breed choice for families or dedicated sole owners. Some owners profess that their Bombays do not enjoy the company of other cats, so this is something to consider – maybe the solution is adopting two cats at the same time. On average, a fully-grown Bombay will weigh 6-10 pounds depending on gender, with a long life expectancy of 15-20 years when shown appropriate love and attention.
The Bombay is typically very healthy and long-lived, although certain health conditions are identified in the breed. These range from mild cases of excessive eye tearing, to more serious cases of breathing difficulty (arising because of the breed’s short muzzle) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a common heart disease appearing across cat breeds.