This oft heard comment piqued the imagination of a prominent cat breeder, the late Nikki Horner, from Louisville, Kentucky. Ms. Horner 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. Ms. Horner began her effort in 1953 with the selection of a black American Shorthair male with deep copper eye color and a Grand Champion sable Burmese female. Through a long process of inbreeding and outcrossing and careful selection, she was able to consistently produce a black cat unlike any other.
The Bombay achieved CFA Championship status in 1976, eighteen years after it was created. Outcrossing to Black American Shorthairs and sable Burmese is still allowed. It has been said that if you want a dog, a cat, or a monkey, you want a Bombay. Bombays can often be leash trained, most enjoy playing “fetch,” and all are fond of inventing new ways to entertain themselves and the folks that live with them. Bombays are congenial and outgoing, and make intelligent, affectionate companions. They do well with children and will often act as a “greeter” with visitors. They live compatibly with dogs and other pets as well. 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, neither compact nor rangy, presenting a more lithesome appearance then its Burmese cousin. The Bombay’s head is rounded with a short muzzle, but there should not be a “pugged” or “snubbed” look. 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 gold to copper eye color, leads to the Bombay being described as the “Patent leather kid with the copper penny eyes.”
Pricing on Bombays usually depends on type, applicable markings and bloodlines distinguished by Grand Champion (GC), National, National Breed and/or Regional winning parentage (NW, BW, RW) or of Distinguished Merit parentage (DM). The DM title is achieved by the dam (mother) having produced five CFA grand champion/premier (alter) or DM offspring, or sire (father) having produced fifteen CFA grand champion/premier or DM offspring. Usually breeders make kittens available between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. After twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic inoculations and developed the physical and social stability needed for a new environment, showing, or being transported by air. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts) for the natural behavior of scratching (CFA disapproves of declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life.
Text: Joyce M. Carlisle (with modifications by Sigfrid Hauck)
Last Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2009