Bombays: the Domestic Equivalent of a Panther

By: cherrypie
It would seem that people tend to have an ongoing love affair with the majestic big wild cats found throughout the world. One of the clearest bits of evidence for this is the number of domestic breeds of cats that have been particularly bred to resemble one or another of their wild cousins. You have the Toygers, who really do resemble miniature tigers, Ocicats, who, although that wasn't the goal of their breeder, look like Ocelots, Pixie-Bobs, who actually spring from the blending of a bobcat and a domestic polydactyl, and that brings us to the Bombay.

Nikki Horner developed Bombays in Louisville, KY. It was her intention to create a miniature black panther, and she set about doing it by crossing a solid black American Shorthair with a sable Burmese. Unfortunately, those early attempts in the 50s were sadly disappointing for her. Several years later, Horner tried again using different breeding stock, this time obtaining much more desirable results. The end result was a cat with close-lying back fur and good muscular development that did indeed look like a miniature black panther, and in 1976 the new Bombay finally achieved championship status. Although the breeding will still produce some sable colored kittens, Horner considers the Bombay to be a black Burmese. But other breeders disagree, pointing out the longer bodies and legs and less pronounced nose beak, plus the fact that Bombays tend to be larger than Burmese cats.

But you can't take the Burmese out of the Bombay. The two species share many characteristics in that they are usually calm and adjust easily to apartment living. A Bombay wants to be the top cat in the household and will share the house with a dog much more easily than it will with another cat. Unfortunately, the two breeds also share some unfortunate traits. They both carry the Craniofacial Defect, which is a genetic disorder that sometimes causes kittens to be born with severely deformed heads. When this happens, they must be euthanized immediately. If you simply want to own a Burmese or a Bombay, this defect does not need to concern you. However if you plan on breeding and showing your cat, it can be a heart wrenching problem, although a few lines do exist that are fortunately free of this defect, so you will have to do your research.

Bombays actively look for human interaction and they simply love to play games; many even love doing tricks and playing fetch. Plus, some Bombays have even been leash-trained. Bombays also love the warmth, so don't be surprised to find yours happily tucked under the covers with you. And although some Bombays rarely utter so much as a peep, others can become quite chatty and have very distinctive voices.
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