Are All Black Cats Bombay Cats?

Bombay cats have a glossy coat with golden saucer-like eyes, earning the breed its panther-like appearance. The Bombay is an endearing, playful, and exotic feline. It has a feral appearance, like the Savannah cat or the Bengal cat.

But are all black cats Bombay Cats?

No! Not all black cats are Bombay cats, but all Bombay cats are black. Bombay cats share characteristics and appearance with both Burmese and American Shorthairs. 

American breeders crossed black American Shorthair and Burmese sable cats to achieve Bombay’s exotic look. Their striking appearance and wild cat sway have earned them nicknames like mini-panther” and “parlor panther.”

In this guide, we’ll reveal information about Bombay cats and how to identify them.

How to Identify A Bombay Cat

Here are some guidelines on identifying Bombay cats:

Shiny Fur

Look for shiny, black fur. One of the primary characteristics of a Bombay cat is its short and glossy black fur. The original breeder’s goal was to create a black cat that looked like a miniature panther, hence the shiny fur.

Gold or Copper Eyes

Another defining characteristic of the Bombay cat is its gold and copper eyes. If the cat you’re looking at doesn’t have colored eyes, it’s not a purebred Bombay.

Rounded Appearance

Bombay cats have rounded edges. They have a soft, rounded head with a short nose. This characteristic continues throughout the cat’s body, with round ears, eyes, feet, and even a round tail.

Muscular Body            

Bombay cats are medium to large cats with muscular bodies. They range in weight from five to over twelve pounds, and the males are larger than the females. They aren’t as stocky as the Burmese, but they are muscular, strongly built cats. Bombay cats also feel heavier than they appear.

Characteristic Walk           

Bombay cats mimic the walk of a panther. It’s a kind of swaying, swishing walk.

Talkative Personality

Pay attention to a noisy black cat. Bombay cats are quite talkative, and they will have conversations with you. They aren’t loud, but they like to meow often. They have a distinctive meow, so you will know when your Bombay wants your attention. However, not every Bombay cat will have this characteristic.

Smart and Intelligent Cats

Bombays are pretty smart cats, so check if the cat can figure things out. For instance, Bombay cats can quickly figure out how to open the bedroom door or get hidden treats on a high shelf. These cats love to be engaged in puzzle games, fetch, and other types of fun activities.

Inquisitive Nature

All cats are naturally inquisitive and curious, but Bombay cats always want to be in the middle of the action. They want to notice what’s going on.

Sociable and Easy-Going

Bombay cats are laid back when it comes to social situations. They are great around families and pets, but they may want to be the dominant pet in your household. They also enjoy curling up on their owner’s lap for extra snuggle time and attention.

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The Difference between British & American Bombay Cats

You probably can’t tell an American Bombay from a British Bombay cat at first glance. They may look similar on the outside, but differences in breeding set apart these two cat types. Both are beautiful, rare, and distinctive black cats with a good temperament and sleek appearance.

Origin of The Breeds

The late Nikki Horner, a lifelong cat enthusiast and breeder based in Kentucky bred the first American Bombay cat. Her goal was to create a feline that had the Burmese’s good temperament and stunning eyes, with a sleek and distinctive black coat. She made her first Bombay cat breeding attempt in the 50s. Her initial success came from a cross between a Grand Champion sable Burmese female black and an American Shorthair with copper-colored eyes.

British Bombays originated in the 1960s when British Shorthairs mated with purebred Burmese cats. Now, the British Bombay is purposely bred with Burmese and British Shorthairs.

Classification And Breed Recognition

The American Cat Fanciers’ Association, the Cat Fanciers’ Federation, and the International Cat Association recognized the American Bombay as a unique breed certified to compete in official championships. The Cat Fancier’s Association accepted this breed for registration in the 1970s, and it was first allowed to compete in championships in 1976.

The Governing Council in the U.K. considers the American Bombay as a unique breed and the British Bombay as an “experimental cat breed” within the Asian cat breeds.


The American Bombay is black and has yellow and orange eyes. The ideal Bombay cat has copper-colored eyes – this is one of the characteristics Horner was after when she created the breed. The British Bombay cat can have yellow, green, or orange eyes.

Other than eye color, the American and British Bombay are very similar cats. These cats have a sleek, short-haired, low-shed black coat, a small muzzle, and a muscular body.

British and American Shorthairs

Differences in the cats used to breed Bombays cause subtle differences in the American and British breeds. American Shorthair cats have smooth black coats and medium-sized bodies. The British Shorthair has a shorter muzzle than the American and a fluffier coat that puffs out.

On the other hand, the American has a sleek coat that lays parallel to the cat’s skin. The British Shorthair is popular for its intelligence and calm demeanor.

Cat Colors

Cats come in many colors and patterns. You’ll also find different breeds of black cats. The black color is common to both pure and mixed breeds. So, you can’t associate black with one specific breed like Bombay cats.

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Here are the primary colors that cats come in:

  • White
  • Black
  • Red (Ginger)
  • Blue / Grey
  • Cream
  • Brown
  • Cinnamon
  • Fawn

Solid / Self-color

Solid color cats are the easiest to spot because they are all one color.


Bi-color cats have a white coat with small patches of another color.


This is the most common coat type in cats worldwide. There are four main variations of a tabby.

  • Striped tabby (mackerel tabby): a cat with vertical stripes running from its spine to its belly.
  • Classic tabby (blotched tabby): a cat with a swirly pattern, creating a marbled effect.
  • Spotted tabby: a cat with different color spots.
  • Ticked tabby: a cat with striped legs and tail.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are black Bombay cats rare?

Black Bombay cats are not very rare. They’re known for their sleek black coat and captivating copper or golden eyes. While black is the most common color, they also come in sable and champagne varieties. Their unique appearance and friendly personality make them popular among cat enthusiasts.

What is the rarest eye color in black cats?

The rarest eye color in black cats is typically considered to be shades of blue or odd-eyed, where one eye is blue, and the other is a different color (usually gold or green). Solid black cats with blue eyes are particularly uncommon and can be striking in appearance due to the contrast between their dark fur and light blue eyes. However, the rarity of eye colors in black cats can vary, and the most common eye color for black cats is typically yellow or green.

What colors do black cats see?

Black cats, like all cats, have color vision, but their perception of colors is somewhat limited compared to humans. Cats primarily see a range of blues and yellows, and they have difficulty distinguishing between reds and greens. Their vision is more attuned to motion and contrast than to a wide spectrum of colors.

Do Bombay cats like cuddling?

Yes, Bombay cats are generally affectionate and often enjoy cuddling and close interaction with their human companions. They tend to form strong bonds with their owners and like to be near them. However, individual preferences may vary, so spending time with your Bombay cat will help you understand their specific affectionate tendencies.

Do black cats have a unique personality?

Black cats are sometimes calmer and more reserved than other cats. They balance this personality trait by staying active and playful with their human parents.  

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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