About the Bombay

“I’d love to own a panther!”

At first glance, you may mistake a Bombay cat for a miniature panther. In fact, that is why the breed was created by Louisville, KY breeder Nikki Horner, who set her sights on producing a copper-eyed, black shorthaired cat with the exotic appearance of a mini or “parlor” panther. The black leopard of India inspired her choice of the breed’s name.


The Bombay is an example of a hybrid breed, combining characteristics of established domestic breeds to create and maintain a specific, third look. Although the goal is to produce cats who look like wild panthers, there is absolutely no wild blood in the breed. Ms. Horner began her effort in 1953 with the selective breeding of a black American Shorthair with rich eye color bred to a Grand Champion sable Burmese female. Through a long, selective process of line breeding and outcross breeding, she was able to consistently produce a black cat unlike any other. Black American Shorthairs and sable Burmese are still allowable breed outcrosses.

The Bombay achieved CFA championship status in 1976, and the rest, as they say, is history. The beguiling, charming shiny black coat with the brilliant gold to copper eyes caught on with the public and other breeders and exhibitors. Although small in numbers, the breed has consistently contributed to national and regional winner status.

It has been said that if you want a dog, a cat or a monkey all rolled into one mischievious package, then the Bombay is the breed for you. They can be leash trained, and most enjoy playing “fetch” and are fond of inventing new ways to entertain themselves and the humans with whom they live. Bombays are congenial, outgoing and make intelligent, affectionate companions. They adapt well to busy life styles and usually get along with children, elders and other pets. The Bombay generally combines the easy going temperament and robust nature of the American Shorthair and the social, inquisitive, lap-loving character of the Burmese.


With the exception of color, the Bombay and Burmese standards are very similar. Whereas the Burmese body presents a compact sturdy appearance, the Bombay body is of medium length, presenting a more lithesome appearance than its Burmese cousin. The Bombay’s head is “rounded” with a short muzzle. The coat is the most defining characteristic of the Bombay. Its short, flat, gleaming, black-to-the-roots coat accentuates its rippling muscular form. And, along with its conspicuous large, brilliant gold to copper eye color, the Bombay is described as the “patent leather kid with the new penny eyes.”

In selecting a Bombay kitten, consider what characteristics are most important to you and discuss them with the breeder, who knows each kitten and can help match you with the right one. Kittens are usually available around sixteen weeks of age, by which time they have had their basic inoculations and developed the physical and social stability needed for a new environment. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying, and providing acceptable surfaces for the natural behavior of scratching are essential to maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life.