Bombay


Introduction

The Bombay is a sleek looking, medium sized cat and one that boasts having an affectionate, outgoing nature. They have extremely beautiful, striking eyes and luxurious black coats that sets them apart from other breeds because they resemble panthers only in miniature. The breed is relatively new to the cat world, having been developed during the fifties by crossing a sable Burmese cat with a black coated American Shorthair. Today, these lovely looking cats have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people the world over not only because of their unique looks, but also because they have such kind and extremely affectionate natures.


History

The Bombay was first developed in the States by an America breeder called Nikki Horner. She set up a breeding programme in the fifties using a black American Shorthair which she crossed with a sable Burmese cat. Her end goal was to create a cat that boasted a sleek, black coat with striking copper coloured eyes. At first, her endeavours but she persevered and in the mid-sixties she succeeded in breeding the type of cat she had first envisioned and called them Bombays after a town in India.

In the 1970s, the Bombay was awarded championship status, but by that time, the original breeder had given up. Luckily other breeders had fallen in love with these striking cats and continued breeding them with the biggest enthusiasts being the Zweckers who introduced and developed new lines as well as new combinations into the breed. Today, the Bombay is not recognised by the GCCF, but the breed has gained full recognition from TICA and other major international breed clubs. Their numbers are slowly rising in the UK, but anyone wishing to share their home with a Bombay would need to register their interest with breeders because few well-bred kittens become available every year.


Appearance

The Bombay is a very striking medium sized cat that boasts having a lovely, deep, glossy, jet black coat and brilliant large eyes that can be anything from a rich gold to a wonderful copper colour. They are beautifully balance cats with their lithe, muscular bodies which adds to the breed’s "mini-panther" appearance. They have medium sized, rounded heads without any flat planes. Their faces are full with a good width between the eyes. Ears are medium in size being set nicely apart without being flared and the tips are a little rounded. Cats carry their ears tilted slightly forwards which gives them their alert look.

The Bombay boasts having lovely large, round eyes that are set well apart on a cat's face, but nicely in line with the base of their ears. The colour of a cat's eyes can be anything from a gorgeous gold to copper or copper/gold. They have firm, well rounded chins and their muzzles are short, broad and rounded too. When seen in profile gold eyed cats have a noticeable break whereas a copper/gold eyed cat boasts having a noticeable stop. Their noses are a little rounded at the tip and necks are well developed being short to medium in length.

The Bombay has a medium sized body that's a little on the compact side. They have ample, nicely rounded chests and their legs are strong and well in proportion to their bodies. Their feet are well rounded and tails are moderately long tapering towards a blunt tip.

When it comes to their coat, the Bombay boasts having a beautiful jet black close-lying coat that's short, fine and satin-like to the touch. The only acceptable colour is a rich black with each hair being black right from the root to the tip, although under the belly tends to be that much lighter. It’s worth noting that cat's coat does not achieve its full colour until they are around two years old.


Temperament

Like other breeds, the Bombay likes a routine and doesn't particularly like it when this changes for any reason. They like to be fed at the same time of the day and don't appreciate it when furniture gets moved around the home which can often stress cats out. With this said, they are known to be easy-going, confident, inquisitive cats by nature which are traits they have inherited from their parent breeds namely the American Shorthair and the Burmese.

They form strong bonds with their owners and do not particularly like being left on their own for any length of time. As such they are best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house. With this said, they are quite gregarious and like being around other pets which includes cats and dogs. In short, Bombays like sharing their environment with other animals especially if they have grown up together. They are also known to be extremely tolerant around children which is why they have become such a popular family pet. They have lovely, quiet voices and although not overly talkative, the Bombay will happily have a conversation with their owner when spoken to which is especially true at meal times or when they want some attention.


Intelligence

The Bombay is an intelligent cat and one that learns new things quickly. They adore playing interactive games with their owners which includes things like "fetch the toy". One of their favourite pass times is to follow an owner from room to room so they can be involved in everything that’s going on. They thrive on being given as much attention as they can get which in short they can be quite demanding at times. Bombays can also be taught to walk on a lead, much like their canine counterparts and enjoy being taken out for the walk.


Children and Other Pets

Bombays with their outgoing, affectionate personalities are a good choice for families with children and this includes toddlers. They are quick on their feet and therefore know when to get out of the reach of smaller children when they get too boisterous or loud. However, care has to be taken when very young children are around cats and any interaction should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure things stay nice and calm. With this said, children need to be taught how to behave around cats and when it's time to leave them alone.

They also get on well with dogs especially if they have grown up together in the same household and the same can be said about other cats. However, care has to be taken when introducing a Bombay to dogs they don't already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. Bombays are social by nature and have been known to get on with pet birds and small animals, it's always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller pets particularly when they first meet each other, just to be on the safe side.


Health

The average life expectancy of a Bombay is between 15 and 20 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate, good quality diet to suit their ages.

The Bombay is known to be a healthy breed, however. they can suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these beautiful black coated cats. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:


Caring for a Bombay

As with other breeds, Bombays need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. On top of this, cats need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives which is especially true of kittens and older cats.


Grooming

Bombays boast having short, close lying, extremely glossy coats and as such they are low maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush and wipe over with a chamois leather is all it takes to keep their coats in good condition with a nice sheen on it.  Like other breeds, they tend to shed the most in the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of things.

It's also important to check a cat's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections. Cats often suffer from ear mites which can be a real problem which is another reason why it's so important to check their ears every week or so.


Energy Levels/Playfulness

Bombays boast having an endless amount of energy and will happily play and spend time with their owners for hours on end which is why they are best suited to households where one person stays at home during the day or where there are other pets in the home. They adore being able to explore the great outdoors, but cats should only be allowed to roam around outside if is safe for them to do so.

Cats kept as indoor pets need to be given lots of things to do and places to hide when they want to, bearing in mind that Bombays love to climb up high and will happily perch on their owner’s shoulders, on top of open doors and on bookshelves so they can look down on the world below from a vantage point. They also need to have lots of places they can snuggle up for a snooze when the mood takes them because if there is one thing Bombays enjoy it’s taking a cat nap or two throughout the day.


Feeding

If you get a Bombay kitten from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same kitten food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a kitten's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older cats are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature cat several times a day making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements which is especially important as cats get older. It's also essential to keep an eye on a cat's weight because if they start to put on too much, it can have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing. Like all other breeds, Bombays need access to fresh, clean water at all times.


Average Cost to keep/care for a Bombay

If you are looking to buy a Bombay, you would need to pay upwards of £50 for a well-bred kitten and you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because not many well-bred kittens become available every year. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Bombay in northern England would be £12.57 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £25.43 a month (quote as of September 2017). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a cat's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed among other things.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a cat’s life. This would set you back between £15 - £20 a month. On top of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Bombay and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a cat when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £600 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Bombay would be between £40 to £60 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your cat, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred kitten.


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