American Ringtail Cat Breed: Essential Guide, Facts & Tips

Emma Fulton Emma Fulton 6 Min Read

If you’re a feline aficionado with a flair for the unique, chances are you’ve already heard about the American Ringtail Cat. But if you haven’t, brace yourself for a delightful discovery.

Understanding the American Ringtail Cat

Imagine an enchanting creature that stands out from its feline counterparts, flaunting a distinctive, curved tail that rings the bell of novelty. That’s the American Ringtail Cat for you. Officially acknowledged as a breed in 2005, these cats, with their quirky tails that curl over their backs, have been charming cat lovers since the late 90s.

The American Ringtail Cat’s journey began in 1998, when a Californian stray kitten with an unusual tail was adopted. This unique breed is known not just for its ‘ringed’ tail but also for its friendly disposition, setting it apart in the vast universe of cat breeds.

Brief Overview of the Breed’s Characteristics

At a first glance, the American Ringtail Cat might look like any other domestic cat, but a closer inspection reveals its unique features. Beyond the coiled tail that gives it its name, this breed also showcases a medium-sized, muscular build draped in a coat of soft, silky fur, which can come in a range of colors and patterns.

In terms of temperament, the American Ringtail is known for its friendly and active nature. They are the quintessential curious cats with a penchant for exploration. But don’t be mistaken, these cats are not all about fun and games. They also have a calm and affectionate side that shows up around their human families, making them a beloved choice for those seeking a pet with personality plus.

As for care needs, these cats are quite low maintenance. Regular grooming, a balanced diet, and ample playtime usually suffice. But just like any other breed, these cats have specific needs that cat owners should be mindful of, to ensure their health and happiness.

Dive in with us as we unravel the captivating world of the American Ringtail Cat, a breed as engaging as it is unique. Through this journey, you’ll get to know these fabulous felines better, and perhaps, just perhaps, you’ll find your next feline family member.

The Origin and History

In the world of cat breeds, the American Ringtail Cat holds a unique position. Its intriguing tale of origin and the journey of its evolution, quite like its distinctive tail, is an exciting curve in feline history.

The Birth of the Breed

In 1998, a Californian woman named Susan Manley found a two-day-old kitten abandoned by its mother. The kitten was unique – its tail curled over its back, forming an arch that seemed both unusual and fascinating. With a keen sense of observation and a heart full of compassion, Susan took the kitten in and named him Solomon.

Solomon was not just another rescue cat for Susan. She realized that his ringed tail was not an anomaly but rather a genetic trait that could give birth to a new cat breed. Inspired, she embarked on a journey to develop a breed that featured this distinctive tail. Thus, the American Ringtail Cat was born.

Evolution and Recognition of the Breed

Susan began to document Solomon’s growth and development, paying particular attention to his tail and the genetic implications it could have for future offspring. Intriguingly, Solomon’s tail did not impair his balance or mobility, suggesting that this unique trait could be a viable breed characteristic.

In 1999, a year after Solomon’s birth, Susan began a breeding program, using domestic shorthair cats as the foundational breed. It soon became evident that the ringed tail trait was dominant. Kittens born out of this program displayed the same curved tail, indicating that this feature could be reliably passed down to future generations.

Given the uniqueness and stability of this trait, Susan started to seek recognition for this new breed. In 2005, seven years after the journey began, the International Cat Association (TICA) officially recognized the American Ringtail Cat as an experimental breed. Since then, this breed has carved out a niche for itself in the world of cat lovers, enthusiasts, and breeders.

The American Ringtail Cat’s evolution is an inspiring testament to human curiosity, love for animals, and the willingness to embrace the unconventional. From an abandoned kitten to a recognized breed, the American Ringtail’s tale reminds us of the joy and wonder hidden in the unexpected corners of life. And as we continue to learn more about these unique felines, it is safe to say their story is far from over.

The Physical Characteristics

When it comes to physical characteristics, the American Ringtail Cat is as charming as it is distinctive. Not your run-of-the-mill feline, this breed carries an air of uniqueness that is, indeed, captivating.


The American Ringtail Cat is a medium-sized cat, boasting a muscular build that is both strong and agile. The males, typically larger than the females, can weigh anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds, while the females usually fall between the 8 to 12-pound range. Regardless of gender, these cats carry an athletic aura about them, a tribute to their robust physicality.

Covering this well-structured frame is a coat of fur that is plush to touch and pleasant to the eye. The texture of their fur is smooth and silky, creating a luxurious layer that adds to their overall appeal. The breed exhibits a variety of coat colors and patterns, ranging from solid hues to tabby markings. Whether your preference is for a monochrome masterpiece or a multi-colored marvel, the American Ringtail Cat has got you covered.

The head of the American Ringtail Cat is proportional to its body, supporting a pair of oval-shaped eyes that can vary in color. Their medium-sized ears are wide at the base, narrowing towards the top, while their cheekbones are well-defined, enhancing their facial structure.

Unique Traits

Of course, the most defining physical feature of the American Ringtail Cat, the one that makes this breed a standout, is its tail. Unlike the straight tails seen in most cat breeds, the tail of an American Ringtail cat coils over its back, forming a circle or a ring. This curl can be tight or loose, depending on the individual cat, but it’s always there, a signature feature that earns the breed its name.

This tail curl is not an outcome of any human intervention; it’s a natural phenomenon driven by the breed’s unique genetics. What’s even more fascinating is that this curled tail does not affect the cat’s mobility or balance. They are just as agile and graceful as any of their feline counterparts, if not more.

Another striking trait of the American Ringtail Cat is their hind legs. They are noticeably longer than their front legs, which gives them a slightly elevated rear, enhancing their athletic appearance.

The Temperament and Behavior

There’s more to the American Ringtail Cat than meets the eye. Sure, they’ve got looks that could make any cat-lover swoon, but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll discover a personality that’s just as captivating.


Forget any preconceptions you might have about these athletic felines being distant or standoffish. Nope, not these guys! The American Ringtail Cats are incredibly friendly, sociable little critters who adore hanging out with their human buddies.

Now, these cats aren’t your typical furballs. They’ve got energy to burn! They’re not just content to lounge around; they’re always up for an adventure, always ready to play. Got a new toy or found an unexplored nook in your house? You can bet your last dollar they’ll be the first to investigate!

That being said, don’t think they’re all play and no chill. Despite their boisterous disposition, they know when it’s time to hit the pause button. Whether it’s curling up for a good old snooze or pursuing a hapless toy mouse, these cats know how to balance their energy and peace, making them great companions who can vibe with their owners’ moods.

Interaction with Humans and Other Animals

Granted, American Ringtail Cats can be a tad reserved when meeting strangers, but who isn’t? Don’t mistake their initial restraint for shyness. Given a bit of time, they warm up to new faces, showing off their friendly side once they feel at ease.

Now when it comes to family, they’re all heart. These kitties form deep connections with their humans, kids included. Their energetic, playful nature makes them the perfect playmate for children who can keep up with their spirited antics.

As for mingling with other pets, American Ringtail Cats are more than up for it. Whether it’s another cat or a dog, they’re usually game to share their territory and play sessions. Of course, as with any other pet, it’s best to introduce them gradually to ensure a smooth, stress-free transition.

Care and Maintenance

Caring for an American Ringtail Cat isn’t a Herculean task. Just like any feline friend, they’ve got their unique needs, but with a dash of understanding, a sprinkle of effort, and a whole lot of love, you’ll have a happy and healthy Ringtail by your side.

Nutrition and Health

When it comes to grub, American Ringtail Cats aren’t too picky. However, feeding them a balanced diet rich in high-quality proteins is crucial to ensure they thrive. Canned cat food is typically a hit with these felines, but don’t forget the occasional dry food to help keep their teeth clean.

Health-wise, they’re usually robust. But as with all cats, they can be prone to certain health issues like obesity, especially if their love for food is indulged too much. Regular vet check-ups are essential to keep an eye on their weight and overall health.

Worried about preventative measures? Regular vaccinations, routine deworming, and flea and tick treatments should be part of their healthcare regime. These simple steps can go a long way in preventing common health issues.

Exercise and Play

Did we mention American Ringtail Cats are energetic? You bet they are! So, keeping them physically stimulated is key. Invest in a good variety of toys – think balls, feather wands, or laser pointers – to keep them entertained. They’re natural climbers, so cat trees and scratching posts will be a hit too!

Activity doesn’t always mean play, though. Teaching them to fetch or engaging in interactive games will not only work off that energy but will also strengthen the bond between you two.

Grooming and Hygiene

American Ringtail Cats sport a gorgeous coat, and to keep it that way, a bit of grooming is in order. Brush their fur once or twice a week to keep it shiny and prevent matting. They usually groom themselves pretty well, but a helping hand is always appreciated!

When it comes to hygiene, regular teeth brushing and nail trims are par for the course. Plus, check their ears periodically for any signs of redness or bad odor – these could indicate an infection.


Well, there you have it – the remarkable American Ringtail Cat, in all its glory. They’re as unique as they come, with a charming curl in their tail that sets them apart from the feline crowd. Born out of an intriguing genetic mutation, these cats have evolved into a breed that captivates us all with their enticing physical traits and endearing personality.

This is a breed that exudes charm, both inside and out. Their notable physical features, highlighted by that curled tail and athletic physique, only scratch the surface. Dive deeper, and you’ll find a lively, friendly, and curious personality that adds layers to their appeal. Plus, their ability to form deep bonds with their human family, their sociable demeanor with other pets, and their love for exploration and play, all come together to make them a truly delightful companion.

Final Thoughts

For those contemplating bringing an American Ringtail Cat into your life, it’s safe to say that you’re in for a treat. These cats are not only visually stunning but are packed with traits that make them wonderful household pets. They’re friendly, active, and curious, but also know when it’s time to wind down and snuggle up for a cozy nap.

However, prospective owners should bear in mind that this breed thrives best with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and some grooming. Plus, despite their initial caution around strangers, given time and patience, they can warm up to new faces, showing their true friendly colors.

In the end, owning an American Ringtail Cat isn’t just about having a pet. It’s about welcoming a new friend, a playful companion, a curious explorer, and a loving family member into your life. Now, who wouldn’t want that?

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