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American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures

Height: 8 – 10 inches
Weight: 7 – 15 pounds
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Colors: Brown, pied, black, cream, white, orange, tabby, gray
Suitable for: Families with older children, singles, seniors, first-time cat owners
Temperament: Affectionate, curious, outgoing

American Ringtails can also be known as the Ringtail Sing-a-Ling. They are a relatively new cat breed. The primary distinction between these cats and others is their curling tails that shape a ring towards their back.

American Ringtails are sweet cats that tend to get along with most others they encounter, including other animals and humans. They usually are quite loving and relatively patient, for a cat. Most cat associations still consider them a rare cat breed, and it can be a challenge to locate a breeder for these felines.

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What’s the Price of American Ringtail Kittens?

American Ringtail kittens can be a challenge to find since they are still thought of as a rare breed. However, if you can find a breeder for these kittens, you can expect to pay between $500 and $1,000. They are currently only recognized by The International Cat Association, but as “Registration Only” status.

Although it is not very likely that you will find these cats in a shelter, it is still worth looking. Adopting an animal from a shelter gives an abandoned cat a new family in a way that a bred cat is practically guaranteed.

If you do find yourself looking into breeders for American Ringtails, then ensure that the breeder you decide to adopt your cat from practices healthy breeding habits.

You can do this by asking to get a tour around their facility. Any good breeder will always accept this since they don’t have anything to hide. Many of the best breeders are proud of their breeding facility. They should show you all of the areas in which they allow their cats. While going through the facility, check for safety measures they have put in place and the facility’s cleanliness.

Beyond getting a tour through their facility, you should also ask to see the parents’ registration or certification papers. Also, check through the parents’ veterinary records since these can make you aware of any possible diseases that could be genetically inherited. If you see evidence of any, alert your vet so that they can watch for these specifically as your cat ages.

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3 Little-Known Facts About American Ringtail Cats

1. American Ringtails Were First Developed From a Feral Cat in 1998

The American Ringtail is still considered by many to be an experimental breed. The entire line of the breed began with one feral cat who was rescued in 1998. The cat’s name was Solomon. Susan Manley adopted him as a 2-day-old kitten who had been seemingly abandoned by his mother.

Susan bottle-fed him so he would survive, and he eventually grew into a strong and healthy cat. When he reached 4 weeks old, she noticed that his tail curled uniquely over his back in a way that wasn’t typical to most cats.

She eventually took Solomon to be examined by a vet. This veterinarian determined that this was not a medical issue that was causing the curl of the tail. The cat was comfortable, in no pain, but simply holding his tail curled over his back whenever he was relaxed.

The following year, 1999, Susan began her own breeding program. The primary goal of this program was to reproduce the trait of the curled tail. It helped when she noticed that some of the other feral cats in her neighborhood were also exhibiting the ringed tail trait and could be used in her breeding program.

In 2005, her breeding program expanded, and more breeders began to work with her on these cats. They were primarily bred with other purebreds and Domestic Shorthairs. That same year, The International Cat Association gave the breed their current “Registration Only” status.

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2. These Cats Are Bred to be All Colors and Patterns

Since the other side of this cat’s genetic parentage has never been firmly set, they can come in all kinds of colors and patterns. The breed has become more established, but previous to this, many different purebreds were used to produce the American Ringtail we have today.

As a result, these cats can come in all different colors, patterns, and shades. These cats have a very versatile coloring pattern. Instead of being known for a typical pattern like many of the pure breeds we have today, they are only known distinctively for their curled tail.

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3. The Ringed Tail of the American Ringtail Comes From a Genetic Mutation

If a physical deformity or a medical illness isn’t what has caused the cats’ ringed tail, then what is it? A genetic mutation causes the ringtail. It doesn’t cause the cats any pain or harm, so breeding them to enhance this trait isn’t deemed cruel. They can straighten their tail and move it around if they want. It isn’t stuck in a ring.

When these cats are first born, the kittens have straight tails. However, as they grow older, they will steadily grow longer and begin to curl towards their back smoothly.

Their tail is muscular, and the feature of the ring develops because the bones that grow at the base of the tail do not fuse together. They can uncurl it, but the curl is often where the tail sits whenever they feel relaxed. The curl doesn’t impact their balance or movement either, since they can move it around when necessary.

Interestingly, American Ringtails seem to use their tails even more than other cats. Because of how it is naturally shaped, they can use it to slow them down more effectively. You might notice this in instances when they descend from a tree or if they want to slow down in a high-speed chase.


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Temperament & Intelligence of the American Ringtails

American Ringtails are very friendly cats. Their sociability doesn’t stand out too far from the attitude of many other typical cat breeds, but it is something to appreciate if you frequently have guests over. They have an average intelligence level, so training them to do much more than use their litter box shouldn’t be expected.

These cats have a wonderful personality, seeming to communicate with their owners as they speak with them. They are affectionate and quite outgoing, although shyness can surface around strangers.

American Ringtails like to explore and sometimes want to hide their food instead of eating it immediately. Some of these traits are thought to be because of their recently feral roots.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

American Ringtails are a good choice for families, particularly those families with slightly older children. They do not have a lot of patience if kids mishandle them. Gratefully, these cats are quite robust and will not be injured easily. Teach your kids and the cat how to interact with each other to encourage a good relationship.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

American Ringtails can experience the need to protect their territory against other animals. However, if you socialize these cats from a young age and do not allow them to foster aggression towards other animals, they tend to tolerate others.

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Things to Know When Owning an American Ringtail Cat:

Food & Diet Requirements

You can free feed your American Ringtail. At times, if their food is left out for too long, they might try to hide pieces of it around the house. If you experience consistent issues with this, monitor the times when you feed your cat and put them on a schedule.

Exercise 🐈

These cats will typically keep themselves in pretty good shape if they have enough space around the house to play. They do enjoy climbing and playing with toys, so giving them something interactive or a climbing toy to make their own space is suggested.

To keep these cats in as good a shape as possible, try to take at least 20 minutes to play with them. With toys are games, encourage them to move around, jump, and run.

Training 🧶

Training these cats is a challenge. It is easy to teach almost any cat to use a litter box, but from there, their attention spans do generally not hold very long.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your cat is an excellent way to spend one-on-one time with them. The American Ringtail typically has a coat length that is short or medium. Their coats usually are effortless to maintain, and they tend to keep themselves clean.

Brush your cat about two times a week to work out any mats or tangles, or simply spend some bonding time with them and develop your relationship. They do not shed very much, but brushing helps to keep their fur soft and shiny.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Although their ringed tail doesn’t cause them any specific health problems, American Ringtails are still cats that can experience some issues as they age.

Minor Conditions
  • Eye problems
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Deafness
  • Constipation
Serious Conditions
  • Arthritis
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Male vs. Female

There are no major differences between males and females in this breed. Generally speaking, the personality traits of your American Ringtail will be more influenced by their parents than by their sex.

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The American Ringtail is a unique cat breed that is still relatively new. They are considered experimental by most cat associations and have only gained small recognitions thus far. Their ringed tails set them apart, although their coat colors and patterns do not. Care for these cats are otherwise very typical compared to many other cat breeds.

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Featured Image Credit: Chunky Monkey American Ringtail Cat 3rd Generation Image Credit: Suemanley1, Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0