Comparing Black American Shorthair Cat and Bombay: A Feline Faceoff

Are you curious about the allure of black cats with their mysterious velvet coats? Let’s explore two fascinating cat breeds that both boast stunning black fur but come with their own unique set of traits.

Meet the Black American Shorthair, a robust and adaptable feline with a legacy rooted deep in North American soil, celebrated for its history as a hardworking mouser.

Contrast that with the Bombay cat, a breed crafted to resemble a tiny panther, complete with a glossy black coat and enchanting copper or gold eyes—a testament to its distinctive breeding.

We’ll examine each breed’s physical features, storied past, social habits, and health needs. Ready to unravel the charm of these captivating cats? Let’s get into it!

Black American Shorthair vs. Bombay Cats

Black American Shorthair Cat standing outside
Black American Shorthair Cat

Black American Shorthair cats are a variety of the American Shorthair, a breed recognized for its robust health and agreeable temperament.

Originating in North America, American Shorthairs have a diverse lineage, as they descend from domestic cats brought to the United States by early settlers to protect cargo from rodents.

The black American Shorthair showcases a sleek, ebony coat, which is dense and thick.

Bombay cats, contrastingly, are a distinct breed known for their patent-leather black coat and striking copper or gold eyes.

They were purposefully bred in the United States to resemble miniature panthers.

This breed crosses the black American Shorthair and the sable Burmese to combine the former’s physical attributes with the latter’s striking eye color.

Both breeds share some commonalities, such as their all-black fur, but they are distinct in their origins and breed-specific characteristics.

While American Shorthairs are recognized mainly by their working-cat build, the Bombay is more of a lap cat with a muscular yet endearing form.

They both contribute uniquely to the diversity of domestic cats in North America.

Despite their similar coat color, the Bombay and the black American Shorthair exemplify the beauty and variance within different breeds of cats.

Their presence in the United States as affectionate and valued companions underlines the breadth of feline diversity across the continent.

Physical Characteristics

Bombay Cat lying on couch
Bombay Cat

The American Shorthair and Bombay cats boast distinctive physical traits that appeal to enthusiasts.

Their coat and color, as well as their facial features and body shape, distinguish them from one another and contribute to their popularity.

Coat and Color

  • American Shorthair:
    • Coat Color: Variety of colors and patterns, but not typically solid black
    • Coat Type: Thick, dense, and short
  • Bombay:
    • Coat Color: Solid black coat, a hallmark of the breed
    • Coat Type: Fine, short, and sleek black coats that are close-lying

Facial Features and Body Shape

  • American Shorthair:
    • Facial Features: Full-cheeked face with a sweet expression; eyes may vary with coat color
    • Body Shape: Medium to large size with a muscular build; well-balanced and proportionate
  • Bombay:
    • Facial Features: Round head with expressive eyes, often described as “copper” or “gold.”
    • Body Shape: Medium-sized, with a muscular build more reminiscent of the black panther; notable for their good looks and serene demeanor

Breed Origins and History

Three Cats Standing on a cobble stone walk way with green bushes

American Shorthair and Bombay cats have distinct histories that underline their development and the recognition they garnered from cat associations.

Development of the American Shorthair Cat Breed

The American Shorthair originating in the United States, this breed stems from European cats – primarily British Shorthairs – that early settlers brought to North America to protect their cargo from mice and rats.

Over time, these cats evolved to adapt to the new environment in the United States, leading to the development of a separate and distinctive breed known for its robust health and hunting abilities.

Development of Bombay Cat Breed

The Bombay is a relatively new breed first developed in the late 1950s by Nikki Horner, a breeder in Louisville, Kentucky.

She aimed to create a cat with the appearance of a miniature black panther, resulting in a breed that mirrors the black leopard of India.

This was achieved by crossbreeding sable Burmese with black American Shorthairs.

Recognition by Cat Associations

American Shorthair:

  • Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA): The American Shorthair was one of the first breeds recognized by the CFA when it was founded in 1906, and its standard has remained relatively unchanged.
  • The International Cat Association (TICA): TICA also acknowledges the American Shorthair, it being a prevalent and well-established breed.


  • Cat Fanciers’ Association: The CFA accepted Bombay for championship status in 1976, a significant milestone in the breed’s history.
  • The International Cat Association: Later, TICA recognized Bombay, solidifying its place within the pedigreed cat community.

Personality and Behavior

Two Black Cats standing next to each other looking at the camera

Black American Shorthair cats and Bombays are distinct breeds with unique behavioral traits.

Understanding their social characteristics and play behaviors provides insights into their compatibility with human companions.

Social Characteristics

Black American Shorthair cats are known for their amiable and adaptable nature. They often forge strong bonds with their family members and are typically good with children and other pets.

This breed is social but not overbearing, displaying a calm presence in the household.

In contrast, Bombay cats are highly sociable and thrive on attention from their owners. These cats are noted for their affectionate demeanor and desire for interaction, making them excellent companions.

Their social nature is such that they may not fare well in environments where they are left alone for extended periods.

Activity and Play

Black American Shorthairs are playful yet tend to be more laid-back. They engage in play but do not usually demand constant entertainment.

They often appreciate interactive toys that stimulate their intelligence, such as puzzle toys.

Bombays are typically energetic and intelligent cats that relish activity and play. They enjoy climbing on cat trees and using scratch posts to keep themselves entertained.

Bombays remain playful throughout their lives and may often engage with puzzle toys to challenge their sharp minds.

Health and Care

Two Black Cats next to a tree

Responsible pet ownership involves being aware of the specific health and care requirements of one’s pets.

For both the American Shorthair and the Bombay cat breeds, a proactive approach to health maintenance and an understanding of common health problems are crucial for their well-being.

Common Health Issues

American Shorthair:

  • Heart Disease: Susceptibility to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease, which can be detected early with regular health screenings.
  • Sinus issues: Some may experience sinus problems due to their facial structure.


  • Heart Disease: Like American Shorthairs, these cats can also be prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • Breathing concerns: Their short muzzles can sometimes lead to respiratory issues.
BreedHeart DiseaseSinus/Breathing Issues
American ShorthairHypertrophic cardiomyopathySinus issues common
BombayHypertrophic cardiomyopathyShort muzzles cause concern

Grooming and Maintenance

American Shorthair:

  • Weekly Brushing: Requires minimal grooming, with a weekly brushing to remove loose hair and maintain coat health.
  • Food Intake: Should be monitored to prevent obesity, which can exacerbate health issues.


  • Weekly Brushing: Similar to the American Shorthair, they benefit from a weekly brushing routine.
  • Food Intake: Monitoring is essential due to their propensity for weight gain.
BreedGroomingFood Intake
American ShorthairWeekly brushing adequateMonitor to prevent obesity
BombayWeekly brushing recommendedMonitor closely for weight management

Related: Bombay vs Black Cat: Understanding the Differences Between Breeds

Conclusion – Black American Shorthair Cat vs Bombay

In comparing the Black American Shorthair and Bombay cats, this article illuminates the distinctive traits and rich backgrounds of two of the most elegant feline breeds.

Black American Shorthairs, celebrated for their robust health and adaptable nature, boast a dense and sleek black coat, marking their stature as versatile companions.

Meanwhile, the Bombay cat, a breed engineered to mimic a miniature panther, captivates with its shiny black coat, round eyes, and a rare breed charm that is both alluring and majestic.

Noteworthy for their short muzzles, these “mini panthers” exhibit a serene demeanor coupled with a muscular build, reflective of their breed standard.

Although each breed presents a unique set of characteristics—from the Bombay’s affectionate nature to the American Shorthair’s independent streak—they share a commonality in their shiny black coats and round eyes, exuding elegance and mystery.

Their presence enriches the diversity of domestic shorthairs, contributing to the cat community with their distinct personalities and aesthetic appeal.

As rare breeds with specific care needs, both the Bombay and Black American Shorthair continue to fascinate and charm cat enthusiasts, adhering to their breed standards while offering companionship and beauty in equal measure.

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