Head Defect (Burma Syndrome)

Head Defect

With its shining jet black coat and amber eyes the traditional Bombay looks like a miniature black panther. Nikki Horner had the black panther in mind when she created the Bombay breed. To develope this miniature black panther she mixed brown Burmese with American Shorthair.

In the 1970s a line of Burmese was bred in the east of the US. The cats had big success at shows in the whole US. They were called Contemporary (modern) and had extremely short noses and round heads.

This hunt for short noses led to the catastrophe in the Burmese breed during the seventies and has continued to do so. This new look caused a mutation in these Burmese lines, wich was called Head Defect. It lead to a lot of kittens being born with deformed heads, still alive (double whiskers, no eyes, no nose). The only way to ease the pain is to put the kitten to sleep.

The result is that most Bombay/Burmese with Contemporary lines is carrier of this gene that causes Head Defect, because the breeders longed for success at shows where judges preferred the extreme, modern type.

This gene that causes Head Defect is something we absolutley do not want to have in our breeding. Our intention is to keep the Traditional Bombay healthy and first of all not mate these lines to Contemporary Bombays.

The choice was obvious to us, morally and ethically we cannot defend a breeding where the defected gene is passed on. It is a challenging task, but the knowledge of breeding healthy cats compensates for all difficulties.