American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster (2024)

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  • Characteristics
  • Temperament
  • Intelligence
  • Exercise
  • Health
  • Training
  • Grooming
  • Fun Facts

Breed Overview


8–10 inches


7–15 pounds


15–20 years


Brown, pied, black, cream, white, orange, tabby, gray

Suitable for:

Families with older children, singles, seniors, first-time cat owners


Affectionate, curious, outgoing

The American Ringtail is also 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 form 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 pretty loving and relatively patient for a cat. Most cat associations still consider them a rare breed, and locating a breeder for these felines can be challenging.

American Ringtail Cats Characteristics



A high-energy cat needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep healthy and happy, while a low-energy cat needs minimal physical activity, but still needs mental stimulation. When choosing a cat, It’s important to ensure their energy levels match your lifestyle.



Cats that are easy-to-train are more willing and skilled at quickly learning prompts and actions with minimal training. Harder-to-train cats are usually more stubborn or aloof and require a bit more patience and practice.



Certain cat breeds are more prone to various genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat in those breeds will have these issues, but they do have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.



Due to their size or potential genetic health issues of a specific breed, some cats have shorter lifespans than others. Proper nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation, and hygiene also play an important role in your cat’s lifespan and quality of life.



Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other cats and animals. Cats that are more social have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches or jump on laps for cuddles, while cats that are less social shy away, hide, are more cautious, and even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed or gender, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to many different situations.

American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster (1)

American Ringtail Kittens

American Ringtail kittens can be a challenge to find since they are still a rare breed. They are currently only recognized by The International Cat Association, but with “Registration Only” status.

Although you will not likely find these cats in a shelter, it is still worth looking. Adopting an animal from a shelter gives an abandoned cat a new family and loving home. If you research breeders of American Ringtail cats, 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. Reputable breeders will always show you around since they have nothing to hide. Many of the best breeders are proud of their breeding facility. They should show you all the areas where 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 they 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 them specifically as your cat ages.

American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster (2)

Temperament & Intelligence of the American Ringtails

American Ringtail cats are very friendly. Their sociability doesn’t stand out too far from the attitude of other 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.

They have a wonderful personality and seem 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 feral roots.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

American Ringtails are a good choice for families, particularly those with slightly older children. They do not have a lot of patience if kids mishandle them. Gratefully, these cats are pretty 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, they tend to tolerate others if you socialize them from a young age and do not allow them to foster aggression towards other animals.

American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster (3)

Things to Know When Owning an American Ringtail Cat:

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

You can free-feed your American Ringtail cat. 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 you feed your cat and put them on a schedule.

Exercise 🐈

American Ringtails 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 interactive toys and a climbing tree is ideal.

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

Training 🧶

Training American Ringtails is a challenge. It is easy to teach almost any cat to use a litter box, but the American Ringtail’s attention span does generally not last very long.

Grooming ✂️

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

You can brush your cat about two times a week to work out any mats or tangles, and some American Ringtails grow to love the experience. They do not shed very much, but brushing helps keep their fur soft and shiny.

Health and Conditions 🏥

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

Minor Conditions

  • Eye problems
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Deafness
  • Constipation

Serious Conditions

  • Arthritis

American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster (4)

Male vs. Female

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

American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster (5)

3 Little-Known Facts About the 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 of most cats.

She eventually took Solomon to be examined by a vet. The veterinarian determined it was not a medical issue causing the tail’s curl. 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 breeding program. The program’s primary goal was to reproduce the trait of the curled tail. It helped when she noticed that some of the other feral cats in her neighborhood also exhibited 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. They were primarily bred with other purebreds and Domestic Shorthairs. The International Cat Association gave the breed its current “Registration Only” status that same year.

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 various colors and patterns. The breed has become more established, but before this, many purebreds were used to produce the American Ringtails we have today.

As a result, they can have several colors, patterns, and shades.

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 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 American Ringtails are first born, the kittens have straight tails. However, they will steadily grow longer as they age and begin to curl towards their back.

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. 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 since they can move it around when necessary.

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

American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster (6)Final Thoughts

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 recognition by one organization (TICA) thus far. Their ringed tails set them apart, but their coat colors and patterns resemble other felines. The care requirements for American Ringtails are otherwise very typical compared to many other breeds.

Related Reads:

  • Unique Spotted Cat Breeds (With Pictures)

Featured Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster (2024)


American Ringtail Cat Breed Info: Traits, Personality & Pictures - Catster? ›

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

What is the personality of an American ringtail cat? ›

Breed Traits

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.

Can you domesticate a ringtail cat? ›

The ringtail is easily tamed and can make an affectionate pet as well as an effective mouser (move over housecats, you've got competition).

What cat breed has best personality? ›

  • Abyssinian - the "You Only Live Once" cat.
  • Ragdoll - the laidback cat.
  • Persian - the ultimate lap cat.
  • Burmese - the curious kind.
  • Chartreux - the polite cat.
  • Exotic Shorthair - the loving cat.
  • Maine Coon - the gentle giant.
  • Scottish Fold - the sweetest feline.

What are some fun facts about ringtail cats? ›

In the wild a ringtail will live around 6-9 years. They live much longer in a zoological setting. They weigh about 1-2 pounds and are 24 inches in length (including the tail). In August 1986 the ringtail became the State Mammal of Arizona.

What is the lifespan of a ringtail cat? ›


The life expectancy of ringtails is about 7 years in the wild. A female kept in captivity reached the age of 16 (Poglayen-Neuwall 1988).

Are gray cats talkative? ›

Some grey cats are known to be quite talkative, while others are more reserved. But don't be surprised if your grey kitty shows a keen interest in what you're doing, whether you're preparing a meal in the kitchen or lounging on the sofa.

Are ringtail cats nice? ›

American Ringtail cats are very friendly. Their sociability doesn't stand out too far from the attitude of other 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.

How rare is a ringtail cat? ›

Ringtail are common in the southwestern portions of the United States and Mexico. In Nevada, they are found mostly in the southern parts of the state with small portions stretching up into the east and west.

What is the lifespan of a ringtail in captivity? ›

Ringtails are one of the smallest species of the Procyonidae family. Ringtails have an average lifespan of 7 years in the wild and 14.3 years in captivity.

What is the friendliest type of cat? ›

If you're looking for a new feline friend, here are some cuddly cat breeds to consider welcoming into your home!
  1. Maine Coon. The Maine coon, nicknamed "America's cat," sits at the top of the friendliest cat breeds list. ...
  2. Siamese. ...
  3. Ragdoll. ...
  4. Abyssinian. ...
  5. Birman. ...
  6. Sphynx.
Apr 28, 2022

What is the most affectionate cat breed? ›

Most Affectionate Cat Breeds
  • Ragdoll. Ragdolls are often described as "puppy-like" cats due to their affectionate and docile nature. ...
  • Maine Coon. ...
  • Siamese. ...
  • Persian. ...
  • Burmese. ...
  • Sphynx. ...
  • Scottish Fold. ...
  • Birman.

What color cat is the sweetest? ›

The University of California, Berkeley conducted a study on this topic and found a few things to be true regarding color variations: Bi-colored and orange cats were found to be friendly. Tri-colored, white and black cats were found to be more antisocial. White cats were the most lazy, shy and calm.

What do ringtail cats like to eat? ›

Ringtails eat a wide variety of foods. Birds, rodents, carrion, reptiles and amphibians, and insects such as grasshoppers and crickets form the bulk of their diet, although they also eat native fruits and berries as well.

What is the behavior of a ringtail? ›

They are excellent climbers, with several behavioral and physical adaptations: ringtails can maneuver along cliffs and ledges by ricocheting from wall to wall. They can also climb in small crevices by pressing all four feet on one wall and their back against the other.

What is the nickname for a ringtail cat? ›

Ringtails have long been popular for their pest-control skills. In the 1800s, the species earned the nickname “miner's cat” because ringtails often lived in gold-mining camps, keeping unwanted insects and mice at bay and providing entertainment in an otherwise harsh environment.

What is the trait of an American Shorthair cat? ›

The American Shorthair personality is easy-going and friendly. Like most cats, they're curious about their surroundings. These cats are highly people-oriented and enjoy spending lots of time with their families.

What are the characteristics of the American cat? ›

She is easy going and placid. The American is a loving cat and will attach herself to all members of the family. While the American loves to play, she doesn't need hourly attention. If she is in the mood to play, she will bring her parent a toy.

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