No, Bombay cats are not hypoallergenic. Despite being low-shedders, they can trigger an allergic reaction just as much as any other non-hypoallergenic cat breed. They should not be kept around people who have severe cat allergies but may be a good fit for people with mild allergies. The key is to keep their dander under control.
If you or anyone you know is looking to get a Bombay cat for a pet, keep reading.
What is a Bombay cat?
The Bombay cat is a medium sized cat that can weigh between 6 to 11 pounds. They can live up to 16 years of age. They have a dramatic deep black coat. They are entirely black, including their paw pads. This coat is dominant, but occasionally a litter produces a sable-colored kitten, and some associations permit these kittens to be registered as Burmese.
Their head is pleasantly rounded with no sharp angles. Their face is full with considerable breadth between the eyes, blending gently into a broad, well-developed, moderately rounded muzzle that maintains the rounded contours of the head.
In profile, there is a moderately visible stop. A moderate stop is not considered a break, but a slight indentation at the bridge of the nose between the eyes, providing a change of direction from a rounded head to a medium, rounded muzzle. The end of their nose is slightly rounded down, completing the roundness of the head.
They have medium-sized ears that are set well apart on a rounded skull, alert, tilting slightly forward, broad at the base with slightly rounded tips.
Their eyes are set far apart with a rounded aperture. Color ranging from gold to copper, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
Legs are in proportion to the body and tail. Paws are round, with five toes on front legs and four on the back legs.
Their tail is straight, medium length, neither short nor whippy.
Bombay cat personality
Bombay cats are aloof and independent cats. They are endearing, playful, loving, and agreeable with any suggestion from their humans, like an invigorating game of fetch or a cuddle session on the couch.
Due to being part American Shorthair and Burmese, the Bombay is a great balance between the former’s calmness and the latter’s friskiness. They are clever and people-oriented but are not too chatty. These cats will get their thoughts across if they have something vital to impart. They will stare at you with their copper eyes and repeat their message until you give them your full attention. If you sit down on the couch, do not be surprised to see your Bombay beside you a few moments later.
Bombays are very attached to their families and tend to love the entire family rather than bond with one person. Some experts say that they are great with well-behaved children.
Known for their curiosity and high intelligence, Bombays love to follow their human companions all over the house. They love to keep an eye on your every move.
Are Bombay cats hypoallergenic?
No, they are not hypoallergenic. No cat is truly hypoallergenic because all cats have the protein allergen Fel D1 in their saliva, which transfers to the dander on their fur when they are grooming. However, Bombay cats are low-shedders compared to other cat breeds which can make them a good option for those who want to get a cat for a pet but may have mild cat allergies.
How much do Bombay cats shed?
The tight-knit coat of the Bombay cat means that they shed very little. While shedding itself is not the reason why you are allergic to cats, the less a cat sheds, the less frequent self-grooming sessions need to be. Petting and semi-weekly brushing removes loose hair and maintains the coat’s shine.
Bombay cats have a short, low-maintenance coat that does not need as much brushing, combing, and grooming as many other cat breeds. This means you will not have to do as much hands-on grooming for a Bombay cat’s coat, which will less the transmission of the protein allergen as well.
What exactly causes cat allergies?
All cats produce the glycoprotein Fel D1 to some degree. The protein is a naturally-occurring component found in cat skin, saliva, and urine. The protein allergen is unique to cats.
It is not found in cat hair, but is however transferred to the hair when the cat grooms itself. They lick their fur, paws, tails, and bodies and transmit the protein with every lick. When the protein dries it sticks to the cat’s fur. When you pet your cat, the protein is transferred to your skin.
It is the action of constant self-grooming and licking that keeps the protein in constant circulation on your cat and in your household.
What do I do if I want a Bombay cat but have cat allergies?
Before bringing a Bombay cat into your home, try performing a sort of trial run. If you have a friend who owns a Bombay, or if there are breeders near you, contact them and ask if you can spend some time with their cat. Make sure to interact with both adult cats and kittens. Take note of how your body reacts to being in contact with this specific breed.
This trial run is a vital step because if you jump straight to procuring a Bombay cat and later on realize that it may not be a perfect fit, you risk having to rehome the poor cat.
Tips on reducing dander and allergens
Bombay cats have a low maintenance coat, so all they need is semi-weekly brushing to remove any loose hairs and to keep it shiny and smooth. Baths are not really necessary unless the cat rolls on something smelly or dirty. A bath once a month is enough to wash away any old hair and dander. If your cat is not a fan of baths, you can always just wipe down their bodies with a damp towel to achieve the same results.
If possible, give your cat breed-appropriate cat food. Consulting with your veterinarian will help you understand which brand and type of cat food will supply your Bombay cat with all the nutrients they will need. Giving your cat foods rich in Omega 3 once in a while will also help keep their coat healthy and shiny. Always make sure that your cat’s water bowl is fresh to keep them well hydrated, because a dehydrated cat will get dry skin and dry skin can cause more dander to be released into the air.
Cleaning is key
Vacuum your floors and curtains to rid your home of fur and dander. Wipe down surfaces that dander may have possibly landed on. Use a microfiber cloth to pick up the dust and dirt more effectively. If your budget allows it, buy an air purifier to help filter out the dander and any other allergens in the air circulating your house.
Keep the cat out of the bedroom
Keep your bedroom dander-free by making it off limits to your kitty. This ensures you have a space in your home where you are free of allergens. Make sure you change out of your outside clothes before jumping into bed.
Wash your hands after touching the cat
Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after any physical interaction with your cat. This is to avoid inhaling the protein allergen when you touch your face.
If none of the tips above work, consult with your physician about what antihistamine medication is the best for you.
The Bombay cat is not considered hypoallergenic, but they are a good choice for people who only have mild cat allergies. This is because they are low-shedders who require little maintenance on their shiny black coat.
If you are dead set on taking home a Bombay cat there are several things you can do to lessen the allergens in your home. You can groom your cat properly by brushing them twice a week and bathing them once a month at most. Give them breed-appropriate cat food so they are healthy and have no adverse reactions that may cause a rash.
Clean your home regularly by vacuuming floors, curtains, and fabric furniture, as well as wiping down surfaces where dander may have settled. Invest in an air purifier if you can afford one. Wash your hands after touching your cat and drink anti-allergy medication if you have to.
Image: istockphoto.com / FedotovAnatoly