Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat

Written by Chanel Coetzee
Updated: September 19, 2023
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What is the difference between the black Burmese cat and the Bombay cat? The black Burmese cat is one of the rarest colors of the breed. They are medium-sized cats that are notorious for their minimal-shedding coats. These felines are much heavier than they look, and you might be surprised when you pick one up.

Their bodies are compact and stocky, with heavy bones surrounded by lots of muscle. But it’s not just their bodies that are powerful; they are strong cats in every aspect. In addition, another defining feature is their head, eyes, ear tips, feet, and chin are rounded.

Much like the black Burmese cat, the Bombay cat is muscular and stocky, with a rounded head. Their features and jet-black coat make them look like a miniature version of a black jaguar or leopard. However, their large copper or gold eyes set them apart from other black cats. In addition, they have short, fine coats that are soft to the touch and shimmer with a patent-leather sheen.

Both breeds are more dog-like and crave human company, so neither will adjust to a household that is empty most of the time. They might even develop depression if left alone often. But, on the other hand, their outgoing personalities make them great cats to introduce to a home with children and other pets.

Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat: Pros and Cons

Black BurmeseBombay
ProsConsProsCons
AffectionateDemanding and needyAffectionate and loyalThey like to chat and can make loud meowing noises
These cats bond well with children and other petsSuffers from separation anxietyIntelligent and easy to trainSuffers from separation anxiety
Don’t shed a lotThey are very trusting, even toward strangersThis breed bonds well with children and other petsNeeds a lot of attention

Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat: Key Differences

Since the Bombay cat is a mix between the black American shorthair and the Burmese, these two cat breeds have a lot in common, and it’s often hard to tell them apart. However, some key differences set them apart. Below are the key points that will help you tell the difference between these two breeds and help you determine which cat is better suited to your needs and expectations.

Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat: Size

The black Burmese cat is smaller than the Bombay, with males weighing approximately 8 – 12 pounds and females 6 – 10 pounds, and both genders measuring 15 to 18 inches in length.

While the Bombay cat is around 13 – 20 inches in length, males weigh between 9 – 15 pounds, and females 8 – 12 pounds. Both breeds are medium-sized cats with heavy bone density.

Black Burmese cat lying in a basket

The black Burmese cat is one of the rarest colors of the breed.

©iStock.com/laimdota

Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat: Appearance and Coat

Both breeds have short, soft, and shiny coats; the black Burmese is a better choice for people who suffer from allergies as they do not shed as much as the Bombay cat. In addition, while the black Burmese cat has a black coat, it is generally shaded and might contain a lighter chocolate brown color. However, the Bombay cat has a solid jet-black coat.

Burmese cats come in several colors, including:

  • Fawn
  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Lilac
  • Chocolate
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Tortoiseshell on a base of brown
  • Sable

In addition, the Bombay cat is not as stocky as the black Burmese; however, they are taller. Both breeds have rounded heads, ears, eyes, feet, and chins, but Bombay’s have gold or copper eyes.

Bombay cat with copper eye color

Bombay cats are always black and have gold or copper eyes.

©Bombaycats, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat: Personality

Black Burmese cats are playful, social, and loving. In fact, cat –lovers often describe them as dog-like because of the strong bond they develop with their owners. Another nickname for this breed is “Velcro cat” due to their obsession with being by their human’s side 24 hours a day.

Therefore, these felines don’t do well being left alone all day and need a companion to keep them company. If left to their own devices, they can act out by aggressively grooming or urinating/defecating in the home.

However, they are an excellent choice for seniors who have the time to give them a lot of attention and children, with their energetic and attentive natures. In addition, they usually get along well with other pets.

When it comes to personality, Bombay cats tend to take after their Burmese roots. As a result, they are extremely social, friendly, and intelligent. However, Bombays need a lot of attention and will become stressed if they are often left alone.

In addition, Bombay cats bond well with children and other pets due to their playful, social, and affectionate nature.

Black Burmese cat with a chocolate brown color.

While the black Burmese cat has a black coat, it is generally shaded and might contain a lighter chocolate brown color.

©woff/Shutterstock.com

Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat: Environment

The black Burmese cat needs to be in an environment where there is always a human to keep them company. They build strong bonds very quickly and want to be close to their owners at all times. So, if you are looking for a lap cat, the Burmese cat is the right choice.

In addition, this breed prefers sleeping in warm and elevated spots, so it’s best to have a cat tree set up in a warm area of your home. Alternatively, you can hang a cat hammock near one of your windows. However, they won’t just lounge around all day; Burmese cats are very energetic and incredibly playful. Therefore, they have a higher prey drive than other breeds, so try to purchase cat toys that mimic birds, squirrels, or mice.

Because Burmese cats are so curious, they should never be outside unsupervised, as they can escape and get lost. They get so attached to their owners that getting lost will be highly stressful for them. If you want to take this breed outside, get them used to harness, or build a catio, so they can enjoy the fresh air safely.

Bombays are powerful and agile climbers, so they will enjoy a multi-level cat tree. However, this breed is very energetic, so owners need to keep them stimulated with a wide variety of cat toys. In addition, games or toys where owners are required to participate are even better, as these cats love human attention.

This breed loves the outdoors and is easily trained to walk in a harness, so you can take them for nice long walks every day to get some fresh air.

Bombay cat playing with toy

Bombay cats are energetic, so owners need to keep them stimulated with a wide variety of cat toys.

©Lux Blue/Shutterstock.com

Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat: Price

On average, a Burmese kitten can cost between $600 to $1000 depending on location, breeder, and gender. However, black Burmese cats are rarer and cost approximately $1000 to $1,500.

But, there are well-known breeders whose cats participate in cat shows because of their magnificent pedigree, spectacular appearance, and performing abilities. These kittens can range from $1,200 to $2500.

Bombays are relatively cheaper and cost between $500 to $700 per kitten. However, like the black Burmese, show cats are priced between $750 to $2,000.

Black Burmese Cat vs. Bombay Cat: Health and Lifespan

While black Burmese cats are typically healthy, there are some conditions they are susceptible to like:

  • Cranial deformities
  • Glaucoma
  • Feline hyperaesthesia syndrome
  • Calcium oxalate stones in the urinary tract

However, reputable breeders screen for these conditions and should be able to provide potential owners with a health guarantee.

One condition they can’t screen for is obesity, so be sure to provide your cat with a healthy and balanced diet and minimal treats. If your cat is constantly eating, stop free feeding it and prepare two smaller meals daily.

Black Burmese cats have relatively long lifespans of 9 to 13 years, but many have lived till the ripe old age of 16.

As the Bombay cat inherits a lot of its traits from the Burmese, they have similar health issues, including:

HCM (Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) in cats is a very common heart disease. This condition thickens the muscles around the heart, which is eventually fatal. Diagnosing this condition is relatively easy; an echocardiogram can confirm the presence of HCM.

Always be wary of a breeder who boasts HCM-free cats, as no one can guarantee that. However, they should be screened for HCM, and cats that are diagnosed with this condition must be removed from the breeding program.

Bombays are also susceptible to obesity, so always adhere to a strict but healthy diet. Measure out their kibble daily, and only award treats when necessary.

These cats can live between 15 to 17 years old if cared for properly. There are even Bombay cats that have lived to the ripe old age of 20!

Bombay cats bond well with children and other pets due to their playful, social, and affectionate nature.

©Viktor Sergeevich/Shutterstock.com

Black Burmese vs. Bombay Cat: Diet

Black Burmese and Bombay cats need a mixture of high-quality kibble and canned food to stay healthy. They thrive on a balanced combination of wet and dry food, but the kittens benefit most from wet food as it contains more nutrients for their development.

Adults tend to prefer dry food but try to incorporate a bit of canned food into their diets because it is good for them. Both dry and wet foods should contain high protein content and low grain content.

As a rule, leave out one or two bowls of kibble available to your kitty at all times. However, if your cat is overweight, free feeding will not work. So instead, only feed your furry friend twice a day.

Kittens need to be fed canned food twice daily. This amount can be adjusted depending on the brand of food, size, and age of the kitten. In addition, provide your cat with various flavors; no one likes eating the same food repeatedly, and a cat is no exception. And always ensure there is fresh water available in multiple areas of your home.

Many people struggle to get their Burmese or Bombay kittens to eat during the first few days, which can be stressful for both owner and cat. But, there is an easy solution, baby food, but only the meat options (no vegetables) like turkey or chicken. They love it, but it is very rich and should only be used for a few days.

In addition, never give your cat or kitten milk. While most people think that milk and cats go together like dogs and bones, they actually don’t possess the enzyme to digest milk after their mothers wean them.

Cat Breeds Similar to the Black Burmese and Bombay

Most cat breeds come in black, but here are 3 cats that are similar to the Bombay and Burmese in size, behavior, and appearance:

How Do I Know If My Black Cat is Burmese?

cat staring intently at toy

There is no one specific breed of “black cat”.

©Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock.com

Identifying a Burmese cat can be easy by observing its physical characteristics. Burmese cats typically have short, smooth fur, a moderate physique, and distinctive round, golden eyes. Additionally, their sociable and extroverted nature in their behavior is often a giveaway.

There isn’t a specific “black cat breed” per se. Numerous cat breeds exhibit a range of colors and patterns, which can include solid black, predominantly black, or smoky black coats. The breed that most closely embodies the idea of a black cat is the Bombay.

Further, Bombay’s consistently sport glossy black fur and captivating copper-colored eyes.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © woff/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Chanel Coetzee is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on big cats, dogs, and travel. Chanel has been writing and researching about animals for over 10 years. She has also worked closely with big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and tigers at a rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa since 2009. As a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Chanel enjoys beach walks with her Stafford bull terrier and traveling off the beaten path.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What's the difference between a Bombay cat and a Burmese cat?

Bombay cats are the result of crossbreeding a sable Burmese cat and a black American shorthair, so they are very similar. It’s the Bombay’s big, round copper or gold eyes that distinguish them.

Are Bombay and Burmese the same?

No, these two cats are different breeds. While the Bombay is a mix between the Burmese and American shorthair, it is not the same as a purebred Burmese cat.

Are all black cats Part Bombay?

All Bombay cats are black, but not all black cats are Bombay cats.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Cat Breeds List, Available here: https://www.catbreedslist.com/all-cat-breeds/bombay-cat.html
  2. Vet Street, Available here: https://www.vetstreet.com/cats/burmese
  3. WebMD, Available here: https://pets.webmd.com/cats/what-to-know-about-bombay-cats
  4. Daily Paws, Available here: https://www.dailypaws.com/cats-kittens/cat-breeds/bombay
  5. The Spruce Pets, Available here: https://www.thesprucepets.com/bombay-cat-full-profile-history-and-care-5202250