Bombay cat breed information and advice

Bombays are rare in the UK, but if you’re looking for a striking, playful cat breed, a Bombay cat could be for you. Read our guide below for facts, care guide, health and more.

Bombay cat facts

Lifespan 12-16 years
How much £50+
Size medium
Weight 3.6-6.8kg
Grooming low
Temperament intelligent, playful, attention-seeking
Exercise moderate



Bombay cat insurance

It’s always a good idea to take out cat insurance for your Bombay cat, to help with the cost of any unexpected illnesses or injuries. The Bombay is generally a healthy breed, but they can suffer from some health problems that need ongoing treatment and medication (more on that later). Getting pet insurance for your Bombay cat could save you quite a bit of money in the long run.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance is available for Bombay cats from 8 weeks of age. If the insurance policy is taken out before your cat is 10 years old and you continue to cover them with Sainsbury’s Bank, their cover will be continued year after year, providing you keep renewing your policy.

How to care for a Bombay cat

Bombays are beautiful cats with striking eyes and a sleek, glossy jet-black coats (even their paw pads are black). You’ll want to make sure you keep your Bombay in tip top shape, so we’ve pulled together some handy tips on caring for a cat.

Like all cats, make sure they have a balanced diet. And if you pick up a Bombay kitten, it’s best to continue the routine set out by the breeder. They’ll be able to give you the mealtimes your new kitten is used to, and the type of food they’ve been getting. If you want to change anything about their routine, do it gradually over time. Cats can be creatures of habit and don’t necessarily cope well with sudden change.

It can be easy to get carried away and indulge your cat, but keeping your Bombay at a healthy weight will cut down the risk of diabetes, arthritis and other problems.

Bombay cats are low maintenance; a brush once a week will do the trick. And baths are rarely needed either. Cats self-groom, so you’ll only need to bath your cat if it gets particularly dirty. If your cat goes outside, keep an eye out for any signs of fuel or oil on their fur. This type of toxic substance should be cleaned off before your cat has a chance to lick it.

Bombays are lively cats, so make sure they have interactive or puzzle toys to keep them from getting bored. If they don’t have something to keep them occupied, they may well take it out on furniture and walls. Bombays are known for being attention seeking, and you’ll need to be able devote time each day to play with them.

Bombay cats are intelligent and will quickly pick up on toilet or litter training. Like all cats, they can be fussy about bathroom hygiene, so you’ll need to keep their litter tray clean.



Temperament and behaviour

Bombays are outgoing and easy-going, but these sociable cats love attention to the point of demanding it. And they can be quite vocal about it. They make good family cats and form strong bonds with their humans, often with one particular member of their family. They usually get along with cat-friendly dogs, but if there are other cats in the household, you Bombay will want to be the dominant cat. Introduce other pets slowly to avoid any potential disputes.

Bombays are best kept as indoor cats and like to be in the warmest area of the house, like by a fire or on your lap. Being a social butterfly, they don’t enjoy being left alone for too long. Get them used to being apart from you for short periods of time and give them plenty of toys to keep them entertained while you’re away.

Common health problems

The Bombay cat breed is generally healthy but can be affected by a craniofacial defect, due to its Burmese ancestry. Make sure that they have regular health checks. Any common health issues or breed-related diseases your Bombay has, could potentially be covered by cat insurance.

Bombay kittens with a craniofacial defect, also known as Burmese head defect, are born with a severe malformation of the head and face. There is no treatment and kittens with the defect are put to sleep. There’s a genetic test for carriers of the gene that causes the condition, and breeders should make sure they don’t breed cats with the gene.

Hypokalaemic myopathy is inherited in some Bombay cats. Affected cats will have muscle weakness and ventroflexion of the head and neck, where their chin tucks down to their chest. It’s treated with potassium supplements. There’s a genetic test for this gene mutation, and responsible breeders have their cats tested. Cats with the gene mutation shouldn’t be used for breeding.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM is a serious heart condition that can affect many breeds of cats. In HCM the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. This stops the heart from working properly, leading to heart failure. Long-term medication can slow the disease down but unfortunately there’s no cure.



So, is a Bombay cat right for you?

Bombay cats love attention and will form strong bonds with their humans, often with one family member in particular, so if you want a lap cat a Bombay could be a good match for you. They’re happy indoors, but you’ll need to keep them entertained and exercised for the sake of your furniture.

Being sociable means that they’re a good fit for busy households and families with children and other pets. But keep in mind that they like to be the top cat, so introduce any other cats slowly to be sure they accept each other and get along.

Frequently asked questions


How to identify a true Bombay cat?

There are many solid black cats, so identifying a Bombay on first glance can be difficult. You’ll know a Bombay from their bright copper or green eyes, jet-black coat, black paw pads and their distinctive panther-like sway.

Are Bombay cats hypoallergenic?

No, Bombays are not hypoallergenic. With their close, short coat, they do shed less than some other breeds though.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon Felis

Vetstream Ltd (online) Bombay. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/freeform/bombay.

Leslie A Lyons, Susan Little (online) Craniofacial defect. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/feline-craniofacial-defect.

Prof Richard Malik, Severine Tasker (online) Hypokalemic myopathy (Burmese). In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/hypokalemic-myopathy-(burmese).

Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/heart-hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy.

Vetstream Ltd (online) Cardiomyopathy in your cat Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://vetstream.com/treat/felis/owner-factsheets/cardiomyopathy-in-your-cat.