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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > American Ringtail Cat: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

American Ringtail Cat: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Chunky Monkey American Ringtail Cat 3rd Generation

The American Ringtail Cat is also known as the Ring Sing-a-Ling. This is a relatively new breed that was first developed in 1998. The characteristic that sets this cat apart from others is their curved tail. The curve, or “ring,” in the tail curls up over the back. This was originally caused by a genetic mutation. Aside from this prominent feature, the American Ringtail resembles a Domestic Shorthair cat, with a soft, silky coat.

Height: 8–10 inches
Weight: 7–15 pounds
Lifespan: 15–20 years
Colors: All colors and patterns can be seen in this breed
Suitable for: Singles, families, seniors, multi-pet households, first-time cat owners, children
Temperament: Loving, affectionate, outgoing, curious, friendly

American Ringtails are loving cats that get along well with other pets, children, and family members. They can be shy around strangers but tend to warm up quickly. Since this is a new breed, locating a kitten may be difficult.

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


American Ringtail Kittens


You can expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 for an American Ringtail kitten, but finding a breeder may be difficult. This is a cat that isn’t commonly bred.

Since the ringed tail is caused by a genetic mutation, these cats may be born in any litter of feral or domestic cats. Therefore, it’s always good to check rescues and shelters in your area to see if an American Ringtail is looking for a home.

If you find a breeder with American Ringtail kittens, it’s important to make sure that the breeder is reputable. They should be willing to let you visit the kittens, see the parent cats, and answer any questions that you have.

Your kitten should also be seen by a vet at least once before you bring them home and have their age-appropriate vaccinations. A reputable breeder will put time, care, and money into the breeding process to ensure that they’re producing healthy cats.

If you have any doubts about the breeder, it’s best to find someone else you’re more comfortable with. Purchasing an unhealthy kitten can lead to more expensive vet bills later.

Temperament & Intelligence of the American Ringtail Cat

The American Ringtail Cat is friendly, affectionate, and loyal. Their curiosity makes them active explorers and they love to climb. This is a cat that needs a cat tree in the house.

They have fun personalities and are generally laidback and happy. They should have plenty of toys to keep them busy and satisfy their need to hunt and capture prey.

They’re smart cats and like to stay mentally stimulated. Puzzles and interactive toys will keep them entertained and busy, especially when they’re home alone.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

American Ringtails make ideal family pets. They’re good with children, but they don’t have much patience for being mishandled. If the children in the house know how to interact with and respect cats, the two will get along well.

Does This Cat Get Along With Other Pets?

American Ringtails can get along with other pets, making them ideal choices for multi-pet households. This is especially true if the cat was brought into the home as a kitten and was able to grow up with other animals. Bringing an adult cat into a home with other pets may be more difficult. It can take them a while to adjust and get used to the others.


Things to Know When Owning an American Ringtail Cat

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

American Ringtails can eat the same diet as a Domestic Shorthair cat. Cats are obligate carnivores and require protein in their diet from animal sources. A diet full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats will keep them energetic and in shape.

Treats should be used as rewards and encouragement for good behavior, but avoid offering too many to your cat. Their weight should be managed to prevent health problems. Luckily, these cats are full of energy and like to stay active, helping them burn calories.

Exercise 🐈

American Ringtails love to jump and climb. A tall cat tree will keep them happy. They like to run and play with toys.

They should be encouraged to stay active by having a set playtime every day. Interacting with your cat will help them get the exercise that they need. Toys and laser pointers will keep them running and jumping. An American Ringtail should have about 30 minutes of playtime each day to stay healthy.

Training 🧶

American Ringtails can learn their names and how to use a litter box. Beyond that, you may have to invest time and use plenty of positive reinforcement to train them to learn tricks.

It’s difficult to hold their attention for long because this cat is always on the move. They’re active and curious, so they don’t want to focus too long on one thing.

Grooming ✂️

Keeping your American Ringtail clean is easy because they do most of the work themselves through grooming. Brushing your cat a few times a week will help keep their coats smooth and shiny while removing loose hair. This cuts down on shedding and hairballs.

Their nails need to be clipped regularly for good paw health and to prevent overgrowth. Brushing their teeth is a good way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to dental disease.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Since the American Ringtail is still a new breed, they don’t have many known health issues. Some conditions can develop as the cat ages, like they would in any other cat breed.

Male vs. Female

The choice between a male and female American Ringtail Cat is based on your personal preference. There’s no significant difference in personality, but some cat owners say that males are more affectionate and females are more independent.

Whatever your choice, make sure to get them spayed or neutered if you don’t plan to breed them. Cats that aren’t altered and don’t breed are at a higher risk for certain cancers and health and behavior problems.

Mammary gland and uterine cancers are more frequently seen in female cats that aren’t spayed. Male cats are at risk of testicular and prostate cancers.


3 Little-Known Facts About American Ringtail Cats

1. The ringed tail is not painful.

The ringed tail is caused by a mutation of a recessive gene. The bones in the tail are not fused. American Ringtails use their tails for balance and to slow their jumps. They can curl their tails around a person’s hands while they are petting them. The tail can also be held straight when the cat wants, but a curled tail is a sign that the cat is relaxed and happy.

2. Solomon was the first known American Ringtail Cat.

In 1998, a woman named Susan Manley found a 2-day-old kitten in her California neighborhood. Susan bottle-fed and cared for the kitten, naming him Solomon. When he was 4 weeks old, she noticed that Solomon’s tail was starting to curl over his back.

When a veterinary examination showed that no medical issue or deformity was causing the curl, Susan started a breeding program to create more cats with curled tails. In 2005, the International Cat Association gave the American Ringtail a “Registration Only” status.

3. They still have wild traits.

Since the American Ringtail was started by a feral kitten, the breed today still has wildcat traits. They may try to bury their food after eating in an attempt to “save it” for later. They have an interest in drinking running water rather than from a bowl. They’re also strong mousers and stalk and hunt their toys around the house as if they were prey.


Final Thoughts

The American Ringtail Cat is set apart from others by their signature curled tail, but this breed is similar to other domestic cats in nearly every other way. They have a few wild traits left in them from their feral roots, but they are typical housecats.

Finding a kitten may be difficult because this is a rare breed. If you’re looking for this cat, be sure to check shelters and rescues in your area to see if one is available.

The American Ringtail is a loving, affectionate cat that makes a great addition to any household. They get along with kids and other pets and are always looking for ways to let their fun personalities shine.

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

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