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

Written by August Buck
Published: February 6, 2022
Image Credit Anna Krivitskaya/Shutterstock.com
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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

It may be difficult to tell Bombay cats from black cats, but there are some clear differences between them.

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Bombay CatsBlack Cats
Size      10-15 pounds8-12 pounds, on average
Eye Color      Copper or gold onlyGreen, blue, gold, brown
Personality  Talkative, curious, can be trainedFriendly and playful
Body Shape   Compact and muscularLean and lithe
Facial Features   Large eyes, shorter muzzleAverage eyes and muzzle length
Lifespan     12-18 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 cat, bred for its 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 for 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 certain 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 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 a shorter nose 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 easy going than Bombay cats are. 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.

Bombay cat vs Black cat

Anna Krivitskaya/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Bombay cats rare?

Bombay cats are a rarer cat breed. You will likely need to reach out to a breeder of Bombay cats in order to procure one, which isn’t the case for the average black cat.

How do I know if my black cat is a Bombay cat?

You can tell whether or not your black cat is a Bombay cat based on many determining factors. If your black cat is fully black, has a shorter nose, large golden eyes, and a muscular body, you may indeed have a Bombay cat rather than a normal black cat. However, a cat DNA test will be the only way for you to know for certain.

Are all black cats Bombay cats?

Not all black cats are Bombay cats, though all Bombay cats are black. This is an important distinction to make, as there are many other cat breeds with black fur. However, Bombay cats don’t come in any other color, so keep this in mind!

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