Bombay Cat: Color, Lifespan, Characteristics & Facts

Dense, dark, and adorable, Bombay Cats are a unique breed. The felines, first bred in the 1950’s, are energetic, eager to please, and totally independent. They do great in all types of homes, and are able to live comfortably both indoors and outdoors.

That versatility is one of the best Bombay Cat characteristics, and it is why so many welcome the cats into their families. They also love playing with children and get along great with dogs.

Despite their ability to wander off or play on their own, Bombays do love attention. They are normally quiet animals, but can be vocal when they feel like a good petting or cuddle session.

Unlike other cats, Bombays come in one color. Their black coat is their calling card, as are their bright green or copper eyes. Few cat breeds only have one marking, but that is what makes the Bombay so unique. It was bred to be all black.

Breed Overview

Other Names: Black Burmese, Mini-Panther

Origin: America

Height: 8 to 10 inches

Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

Life Span: 9 to 13 years

Colors: Black

1. Personality & Temperament

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The Bombay Cat personality is marked by curiosity. The felines, especially when they are kittens, are extremely active and love to explore. They can be independent at times and seek out adventures both in and outside.

There are many cherished Bombay Cat traits, but few compare to their affection. Though some cats tend to be aloof, Bombay Cats form strong bonds with their owners. They love to cuddle, seek attention, and enjoy curling up in your lap.

While normally quiet animals, Bombays will meow to let you know if you’ve ignored them for too long. They need daily affectionate and, no matter how far they adventure, will become upset or irritated if not given the proper amount of petting.

2. How to Care for a Bombay Cat


Bombays love to eat. They enjoy all different food types, and will chow down on any tasty meal you place in front of them. Dry kibble is good for their teeth, wet food tends to come with fewer additives, and you can completely control homemade meals. Whatever you choose to feed your cat, just make sure it uses high quality and balanced ingredients.

In terms of intake, you want to monitor how much food your Bombay kitten consumes. The breed, while small, is much denser than it first appears.

Always watch your cat’s weight. If you see them putting on pounds, adjust their meals or exercise time accordingly.


Every Bombay, from the Short Haired to Long Haired Bombay Cat, requires very little grooming. The breed’s short coat does not shed much and takes little upkeep to maintain. A quick brushing every two weeks is more than enough.

Beyond the fur, it is also important to keep your Bombay’s claws in check. Regular clippings are important towards maintaining good hygiene.

Clean your kitty’s ears every now and then and brush their teeth each day to prevent gum disease or plaque buildup.


Bombay cats are extremely active. In fact, playfulness is perhaps the most iconic Bombay Cat behavior. As such, no matter where you live, you need to give them space to play on their own.

Cat trees, wall mounts, and kitty condos are all great ways to keep them moving. Toys are also a must. Playing with your Bombay, in addition to letting them wrestle around on their own, keeps them properly stimulated.

Such steps are so important, you should keep a few toys around even if your feline spends most of their time outdoors.


Bombay cats are, among other things, extremely smart. That makes them quite easy to train. Not only do they quickly pick up how to use a litter box, but they are able to learn a wide range of different tricks. They enjoy harness training as well.

Though you can teach them verbal commands, it is also easy to get the cats to memorize hand signals. As long as you make their training sessions fun, which engages them in the activity, they will be eager to learn.

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3. Common Health Issues of the Bombay Cat

When evaluating Bombay health, asking “how long do Bombay cats live?” is a good start. The Bombay Cat lifespan ranges from 9 to 13 years. They are naturally healthy animals, but there are a few issues that can threaten the Bombay Cat life expectancy.


Due to their dense frame, Bombay Cats are quick to gain weight. The felines can eat quite a bit, and that tends to cause pound problems if they do not run around enough.

It is important to always monitor your Bombay’s diet and keep track of how much they exercise. Adjusting their food intake, either up or down depending on weight, is easy and will keep them healthy for a long time.

Respiratory Issues

Bombay Cats have short muzzles. Though normally not a problem, that unique feature can lead to breathing problems in certain felines.

The best way to keep an eye out for this issue is to constantly monitor your cat’s breathing, especially after long adventures or play sessions. In addition, be aware of any changes to their breathing pattern, strange sounds, or if they get tired easily.

If you see such symptoms, take them to your vet for a proper evaluation.

High Tear Production

Bombays also produce a lot of water. The breed is known for excessive tear production, which causes their glands to run streaks down their face.

This is an easy fix. If you notice your cat tearing up, or if you notice wet spots around their muzzle and eyes, wipe them away with a damp rag. Daily face cleanings are important for the breed. If this problem grows too much, consult your vet for ideas.

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4. Children & Other Pets

Bombays are playful cats, a trait that makes them great with children. They do well in crowded homes and actively enjoy busy spaces. So much so that they will spend extended periods of time running around with your kids.

In fact, teaching your kids to properly handle the cats can be a great way to keep your child engaged and give your Bombay the affection it deserves.

Beyond kids, the breed also does well with dogs. Bombays do not mind sharing their space, and can even learn to cuddle or play with a canine friend.

That being said, they do not do as well with other cats. While they do not see dogs or kids as threats to their domain, Bombays tend to view other felines as active threats. In such cases, they become quite territorial.

5. The History of the Bombay Cat

Bombay cats first came about in America during the 1950’s. At the time, breeders sought to create a breed that had the body of a Burmese and the jet black coat of a panther.

After some unsuccessful tries, the group finally reached their goal by breeding a Burmese with a black American Shorthair. The Bombay, named to remind people of the Black Leopard, quickly became a great show cat in different parts of the country.

It was then officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1970 and the International Cat Association in 1979.

Though not common compared to more well-known breeds, Bombays pop up every now and then. The breed is now split into the American Bombay Cat and the British Bombay cat. Both types look almost identical in appearance, but differ in eye color.

You can read up on other fun Bombay Cat facts here.

6. The Regular Expenses of Owning a Bombay Cat

Bombay cats tend to go for between $500 and $700. However, they can be more or less expensive depending on breeder and location.

2 thoughts on “Bombay Cat: Color, Lifespan, Characteristics & Facts”

  1. Thanks so much ..we take care of a stray bombay cat for 6 mos neighbor took one since she has 6 already and left him out as a husband said he is spooky and I said no he is BOOKIE so I saw how sweet he is and fixed him up a 10×12 shed with heat and AC new rugs pics of other cats. Thanks again for the very great update and info on bombay.cats..we love ya …ulla & bookie ..910 -494-0092.

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