History & Origin
The Bombay is a hybrid breed created by the late Nikki Horner. A breeder and exhibitor since the age of 16, Horner bred award-winning American shorthairs, Burmese, exotics, Himalayans, Persians, and Siamese over her long cat fancy career. In the 1950s, while she was breeding sable Burmese and the black American shorthairs, she envisioned a Burmese with a sleek black coat and snapping copper eyes – sort of a pint-sized panther.
Because she imagined it would look like the black leopard of India, she named her brainchild after the city of Bombay. Her first effort in 1958 was a failure – the kittens she produced looked more like poor American shorthairs than black Burmese. However, in 1965 she tried again, choosing her breeding stock more carefully, and eventually she achieved the look she wanted.
Despite opposition from Burmese breeders – they were not excited about Horner coloring outside their bloodlines – in 1970 the Cat Fanciers’ Association CFA accepted the Bombay for registration and in 1976 granted championship status. TICA accepted the Bombay for registration in 1979.
Horner quit breeding at this point, exhausted from the long years of struggle to get the breed accepted. Other breeders, however, had fallen in love with the Bombay’s beauty and personality and worked to keep the breed going.
Starting over with new bloodlines, breeders Herb and Suzanne Zwecker produced Road to Fame’s Luv It Black, a breakthrough cat for the breed. Until Luv It Black’s win as CFA’s Second Best Cat in 1985, Bombays were doing poorly in the shows due to poor breed quality and opposition from Burmese breeders. Luv It Black can be found in the pedigrees of many of today’s Bombays.
GC, NW Road To Fame's Luv It Black
While still a minority breed, the Bombay has won over the opposition and gained acceptance with most International Cat Associations but yet to come in Fife....
The Bombay breed is something totally different than the breeds: Asian shorthair, Australian Bombay and the Mandalays. These other breeds are often falsely promoted as being the same as genuine American Bombays not only here in Sweden but also in Australia, New Zeeland and in England more about this is found under Look alikes.
Nikki Horner died of cancer on April 11, 1995. During nearly half a century's worth of participation in the cat fancy, she had written her name in large, florid letters across its record books. We will probably never see the likes of her 1960-through-'65 performances again. Yet when she was asked to name the most satisfying thing she's done in cats, she talked about the Cat Fanciers' Association's 1988 Invitational Show.
"When I walked into the show hall with those sky-high ceilings that had big white banners hanging down over each breed section, and I saw the one that said Bombay, I thought, 'By golly, people won't remember all the cats and all the wins I've had over the years; but when I'm gone, the Bombay breed will still be here."