American Ringtail Cat Information and Pictures - PetGuide (2024)

American Ringtail Cat Breed History

The American Ringtail Cat is also referred to as the Ringtail Sing-a-Ling. This is a fairly new experimental breed that started with a rescued cat named Solomon in 1998. When Susan Manley found him, he was a 2-day-old kitten who needed to be bottle-fed in order to survive. As he grew and reached the age of 4 weeks, she noticed that he had a unique tail that would curl over his back.

After having Solomon examined by a veterinarian, it was determined that there was no underlying medical issue or deformity that caused his tail to curl. The cat seemed perfectly comfortable and content, holding his tail curled over his back when relaxed.

In 1999, Susan started a breeding program whose goal was to reproduce this curled tail, which she had also noted in other feral cats throughout the northern California neighborhood where she lived.

A few breeders began working with Susan by 2005. The cats with curled tails were bred with purebreds and Domestic Shorthair cats. And in that same year, The International Cat Association, also known as TICA, gave this new breed “Registration Only” status.

The American Ringtail Cat (also known as the Ringtail Sing-a-Ling) is a fairly new experimental breed.

Breed Traits

This breed is still considered experimental because it is so new, and you may need to put more effort into locating an American Ringtail cat than you would for other feline breeds that have been around much longer. But this breed is already really popular because of its attractive appearance and wonderful personality. These cats do well with other animals, making them great family pets. And they even enjoy communicating with owners by meowing back when spoken to.

American Ringtail cats are very affectionate, outgoing, friendly, and loyal, though they may be a little shy around strangers. They are great with children, and often develop a really strong attachment to one particular member of the family. You might be surprised by how close your bond with your feline companion becomes as you spend time snuggling with your fur baby and encouraging exercise through play.

These cats are also curious and love to explore, so it is a good idea to keep that in mind if you are thinking about adding an American Ringtail to your family. You can take steps to ensure your pet won’t have access to any areas of your home that might be dangerous or any materials and products that might be toxic, just in case your inquisitive pet does something they shouldn’t.

As you get to know an American Ringtail, you’ll also discover that these cats have fun personalities, and you might uncover some cute habits as well. For example, these feisty felines might enjoy analyzing running water and may also hide their food throughout the house for consuming later on. These characteristics are considered “wild traits” that may be carried over from their feral roots.

Also, keep in mind that, because they enjoy climbing, playing, and exploring, owners should have plenty of toys and cat trees for American Ringtails to keep busy throughout the day. Setting up an area where your kitty can safely look out the window at the trees and wildlife can also help keep your pet occupied and mentally stimulated during the day, especially when you aren’t home.

Overall Description

American Ringtails are attractive cats, and they have a few distinguishing features. First off, they can be described as medium to large in size, and their bodies can be long as well. Also, these active kitties are muscular, with their back being strong and flexible. They typically feature medium-sized paws, along with webbed feet like other kitties. You might notice your cat spreading the toes nice and wide during a play session or when jumping and climbing during a case of the zoomies.

When it comes to their fur, American Ringtail cats have a short coat that is super soft. You might even describe it as feeling velvety, plush, or silky. And these kitties can feature a variety of eye colors too (more on that below).

Keep in mind that when American Ringtail kittens are born, the tail won’t be curly. Instead, it will start out straight. So, these kittens will look like other kittens from other breeds at first. Then, their most unique characteristic will become apparent as they grow. The tail will start to change its shape, so rather than being straight, it will start to curl. Before long, you will see that the tail can rest on the back of the cat, which is so adorable.

What’s also interesting about this breed is that the tail is broad, particularly at the base. And, like the rest of the body, it’s muscular. The bones are well-developed, and they aren’t fused together. This allows the cat’s tail to have good range of motion. But can an American Ringtail cat ever hold the tail straight without it being curled all the time? Yes, and that’s yet another fascinating feature about these kitties that can help differentiate them from other cats.

Owners of American Ringtails might also notice that these cats use their tails more than other cats do, and they keep it curly when they’re content and relaxed. For example, in addition to being utilized for balance, the tail can be used to slow them down when coming down from a cat tree, or to slow down after a high-speed chase.


The American Ringtail cat is bred to exhibit all patterns and colors. So, these kitties might have solid color coats, tabby patterns, calico or tortie coats, or a two-color combination like black and white or orange and white. Eye colors might be shades of green, gold, or blue.

Because of this variety within the breed—much like you would find with the Domestic Shorthair—you might have two American Ringtails that look completely different, thanks to the various eye and coat colors, as well as coat patterns, that are possible.

Grooming Requirements

This breed can feature a coat that is short or medium in length. Cats with medium length coats would require regular grooming, probably around two times a week, while those with a short coat might do well with a brief grooming session at least weekly.

Overall, this breed doesn’t shed too much, so grooming once a week can help keep the fur soft, shiny, and healthy. Plus, this is a smart step to take if you want to keep as much fur off your furniture and clothes as possible, and if you want to help your cat avoid hairballs.

American Ringtail Cat Information and Pictures - PetGuide (2024)
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