My Special Relationship With Bombays and the story of Midnight

by Dr. Larsen

When I was in high school, I volunteered at a veterinary clinic where I saw a poster of various cat breeds including one that looked like a miniature panther. The cat – called a Bombay – was beautiful and I fell in love with the breed. I asked my mother if I could have one. Her answer: If you can come up with the money. I spent the next two years babysitting to save enough for a Bombay kitten.

We made the way from our home in Louisiana to a little city in Mississippi to pick up the kitten. It turned out that the kitten I was to get was not a perfect Bombay. The nose wasn’t short enough, the eyes weren’t copper enough. The breeder said I could have the “imperfect” kitten for a lower price. Or should I choose from a half dozen more “perfect” kittens? While I was trying to decide, that little black kitten with the gold eyes and not quite short enough nose dropped a toy mouse in my lap. He looked up at me as if to say, “can we go home now?” That was it.

Midnight has been with me through high school graduation, undergraduate school, graduate school, and then veterinary school. He has traveled with me from Louisiana to Alabama and finally, to Michigan. We have played fetch a thousand times. He can sit and shake (for a treat, of course), and walks to work with me on a harness and leash. He was a therapy cat in Alabama, bringing joy to many veterans at the VA hospital. He was the best “volunteer” for wet labs at vet school. He is my very best friend.

I now know that Bombay cats aren’t easy to come by. In fact, they’re quite rare. The Bombay was created by crossing a sable Burmese and a black American Shorthair. Many people see a black cat and call it a Bombay. Just like many people call a gray cat a Russian Blue. No one needs to make a cat into a certain breed. In fact, most purebred cats are at higher risk for many health conditions. Luckily, the Bombay is a relatively healthy breed.



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