Bombay Cat vs Black Cat: What’s the Difference?

Bombay cat vs Black cat
© Anna Krivitskaya/Shutterstock.com

Written by August Croft

Updated: September 22, 2023

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Key Points:
  • Black cats simply describe any cat that is black, while the Bombay cat is a specific crossbreed between Burmese cats and the American shorthair.
  • All Bombay cats have golden or copper-colored eyes. Black cats can have eyes of any color.
  • Bombay cats were bred with the panther in mind – and have more compact, muscular bodies – while black cats are usually longer and leaner.
  • The fur of the Bombay cat is always short with a velvety sheen – while black cats can have long or short coats.
  • Bombays always have black noses and paw pads.

Bombay cats and black cats are extremely similar, so much so that it may be difficult to tell them apart. However, there are some clear differences between these two domesticated cats once you get to know them. Based on genetics alone, black cats simply describe any cat that is black, while the Bombay cat is a specific crossbreed between Burmese cats and the American shorthair.

But what else makes these two cats so different, and how can you best learn how to tell them apart? In this article, we will discuss some of the key differences between Bombay cats vs black cats, including how you can tell if your black cat is indeed a rare and unique Bombay cat. Let’s get started!

Comparing Bombay Cats vs Black Cats

Bombay Cat vs Black Cat
It may be difficult to tell Bombay cats from black cats, but there are some clear differences between them.
TraitBombay CatsBlack Cats
Size10-15 pounds8-12 pounds, on average
Eye ColorCopper or gold onlyGreen, blue, gold, brown
PersonalityTalkative, curious, can be trainedFriendly and playful
Body ShapeCompact and muscularLean and lithe
Facial FeaturesLarge eyes, shorter muzzleAverage eyes and muzzle length
Lifespan12-18 years13-20 years

The Main Differences Between Bombay Cats vs Black Cats

Bombay cat vs black cat

Bombay cats are bred for their compact body and large, golden eyes, while black cats are any cat with black fur.

©Viktor Sergeevich/Shutterstock.com

There are a few key differences separating Bombay cats vs black cats. Bombay cats are a specific crossbreed of cats, bred for their compact body and large, golden eyes, while black cats are any cat with black fur. Black cats also have average facial features while a Bombay cat has larger eyes and a shorter muzzle or nose. But there are a few more key differences too.

Let’s take a moment and learn more about some of the differences between Bombay cats and black cats.

Bombay Cat vs Black Cat: Eyes

A key distinguishing feature of Bombay cats vs black cats is their eyes. Bombay cats are bred for their golden or copper eyes, a unique color that some black cats can also share. However, Bombay cats have to have these copper eyes in order to be considered true Bombay cats- there are no Bombay cats with eyes of another color.

Black cats can have blue, green, brown, or golden eyes, while Bombay cats will only ever have golden or copper-colored eyes. In addition, black cats tend to have smaller eyes than Bombay cats do; Bombay cats were bred to have larger eyes. While Bombay cats can experience more health difficulties because of their larger eyes, this is a key difference in telling these two cats apart.

Bombay cat vs black cat

Black cats can have blue, green, brown, or golden eyes, while Bombay cats only have golden or copper-colored eyes.

©Anna Krivitskaya/Shutterstock.com

Bombay Cat vs Black Cat: Body Shape and Fur

The overall body shape is another difference between Bombay cats vs black cats. Bombay cats were bred with the panther in mind, so their bodies are compact and muscular; most black cats have longer and leaner bodies. This is another feature that can lead to a Bombay cat having more health issues than the average black cat.

A Bombay cat also has a very distinct coat when compared to the average black cat. A black cat can have either long or short fur of varying degrees of shininess, while Bombay cats only have short black fur with a velvety sheen to it. Bombay cats are also black throughout their bodies- their noses and paw pads are also black, a feature that many black cats don’t share.

Bombay cat playing with toy

This copper-eyed Bombay kitten loves to play!

©Lux Blue/Shutterstock.com

Bombay Cat vs Black Cat: Facial Features

Another key difference between Bombay cats and black cats is their facial features. Bombay cats were specifically bred to have larger eyes and shorter noses than the average black cat. While this can lead to more health issues for a Bombay cat, this is another way that you can tell them apart from the average black cat.

While it can be difficult to make this comparison unless you are looking at a Bombay cat and a black cat side by side, the nose of a Bombay cat will be much shorter than the muzzle of the average American shorthair cat. 

Bombay cat vs black cat

A black cat can have either long or short fur, while Bombay cats only have short black fur.

©Viktor Sergeevich/Shutterstock.com

Bombay Cat vs Black Cat: Personality

A final difference between the Bombay cat and a black cat has to be in the personality of these breeds. Bombay cats are very intelligent cat breeds, capable of learning tricks and commands. They are curious, playful, and often mischievous. Some Bombay cats can also be bossy, which is not typically the case with the average black cat.

Many black cats are friendly and more easygoing than Bombay cats. However, every cat is unique and this may not always be the case. If you happen to spend time with a Bombay cat, you may notice how outgoing, opinionated, and intelligent it is, while a black cat is more likely to be compassionate toward you.

Why Are People Afraid of Black Cats?

black traditional bombay cat on nuts background

Unfortunately, irrational superstitions gave black cats a bad reputation in Middle Age Europe that still exist today.

©dien/Shutterstock.com

Superstition and fear surrounding black cats are believed to have originated in Europe several hundred years ago. At that time, common people had all kinds of beliefs based on things they observed. What they didn’t understand, they’d draw conclusions about based on feelings and thoughts rather than scientific evidence or reason.

Black cats were quite common in the Middle Ages and were often viewed as pests. Given that they were nocturnal and black, a black cat appearing in the darkness would look more like two glowing eyes than a full animal. They were seen as mysterious, and then eventually were associated with darkness, evil, and witchcraft. If something negative happened like a dispute, accident, or a human death, and a black cat was spied around the time of the event, the cat would be associated with the negative thing. 

There were all kinds of scenarios regarding black cats, and what they meant, whether it be a black cat crossing one’s path, or mythological tales such as the one of Freya, a goddess whose two black cats, which pulled her chariot, transformed into two demon-possessed black horses. Witches and black cats were also associated with each other.


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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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