The Breed History
This hybrid breed is thought to be named after the Indian city of Bombay, though its origins are in Kentucky, where in the 1950s, a breeder was attempting to breed true a black coated Burmese cat (a "parlor panther" to mimic the appearance of a black panther or Indian Black Leopard). The Bombay derived from a cross between an American Shorthair, (Black with copper eye color) and a Sable Burmese. The Bombay was accepted for championship status of CFA in 1976, and accepted by TICA in 1979. The European and American types are quite similar but in the British Isles, Black British Shorthairs were used instead to cross with sable Burmese, so the British Bombay reflects these origins. This is a rare cat. Some outcrossing to origin-type cats (Black American Shorthair, Sable Burmese) is still allowed, though it is usually the Burmese not the shorthair that is used so that the body type stays true. Sable Bombays are sometimes born, and they can be registered but not shown.
Weight: 6-11 lb (2.5-5 kg)
Coat: The Bombay has a very high gloss jet black close-lying short single haircoat. Though generally breeding true, the odd mating will produce some sable kittens due to residual pointing gene from the Burmese origins. Kittens may not be fully black but will generally darken as they mature. Black is dominant and sable is the recessive gene. Some light tabby markings in kittens can sometimes be seen but will fade.
Eyes: Large round golden to copper eyes-darker is preferred (overseas, the accepted colors include yellow and green).
Points of Conformation: Conformation is quite similar to the Burmese cat, though the Bombay is a bit heavier built with longer limbs, and the rounded head is proportionately larger and both head and body longer due to American Shorthair influence. The angle of change in the nose profile is also less pronounced in Bombay cats than in Burmese. The tail is fine, moderate in length and tapers. The whisker pads are prominent. The muzzle is short-medium, ears are medium-small with rounded tips. The feet are small and round. Nose and pad leather is black.
Grooming: Minimal grooming is required for the Bombay cat. One can just use hands or chamois to maintain shine.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Calm, friendly; gregarious, love climbing and jumping, playful as youngsters, placid as mature cats, the Bombay cats are lap cats, curious, thrive on human companionship and are very intelligent. Bombay cats are generally easy to leash train. Like to fetch ball and play other games and love the company of children. Get along with other pets well, particularly dogs. Not particularly vocal; and when they vocalize, this is a quiet voiced cat. Good for indoor lifestyle.
Normal Breed Variations
Early sexual maturity
Reported to be a hardy cat
They possess a characteristic swaying walk and are very agile
None reported in the literature
Craniofacial Deformity: Some lines of the breed carry the gene for this condition (best known in the Burmese- see that chapter for details). This is an autosomal recessive disorder.1 This defect is less of a problem now due to careful breeding. As in the Burmese, this is often a lethal gene in utero, or necessitates euthanasia in newborns. There are some lines that are free of this disorder.
See American Shorthair and Burmese chapters since Bombay cats may share some disorders with the progenitor breeds, though Bombay cats are generally very healthy cats; likely due to hybrid vigor.
No tests available commercially
- Breed name synonyms: Patent Leather Cat, Black Burmese, Black Leopard Cat, Asian Shorthair, Asian Selfs, nickname: "Patent leather kid with the copper penny eyes"
- Registries: TICA, ACFA, CFA, CFF, ACF, WCF, CCA
- Breed resources: The Bombay and Asian Self Breed Club (UK): bombayandasianselfbreedclub.org/
International Bombay Society: Suzanne Zwecker, Secretary 5782 Dalton Drive Canandaigua, NY 14425
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