American Ringtail cat has only been around for about twenty years but gained more popularity than some other breeds that has been around for centuries. However don’t let this fool you, it is still considered a rare breed of cat. It gets its name from the shape of its tale which forms a ring shape towards its back.
American Ringtail or Ringtail Sing-a-Ling is a sweet and loving breed that gets along with both humans other animals. Coming from a lineage of feral cats it has some feral qualities but not on the wild side. Its feral qualities make it even more adorable.
In 1998, Susan Manley rescued a two days old male feral cat which was seemingly abandoned by its mother and had to be bottle-fed in order to survive. Manley named this rescue cat Solomon and after 4 weeks she realized that Solomon was not quite like other feral cats. He had a unique tail that curled over his back.
She took Solomon to a veterinarian and had him examined. The veterinarian assured her that there was no underlying medical condition or deformity to cause the tail to curl and determined that it was a genetic disorder. The cat also seemed quite content and comfortable with its curled tail. Even more interestingly, the cat seemed to curl its tail over its back when it was relaxed.
After having Solomon Manley realized that there were other feral cats with the same curled tail in the vicinity she lived in Northern California. Only after a year, in 1999 Manley started a breeding a program in order to produce this curled tail. By 2005 she had a few breeders working with her using purebreds and Domestic Shorthair cats to expand her breeding program. The same year The International Cat Association (TICA) gave the breed “registration only” status and its 2016 “Standing Rules” document American Ringtail is still categorized under experimental breeds section.
American Ringtails are large, long and muscular cats with a long, flexible and strong back. Their most distinguishing physical feature is, of course, their curled tails.
The tail is actually straight when the kitten is born but as it grows, the tail begins to smoothly curl over its back. The tail itself is also muscular and broad, especially at the base. It has well developed bones which are not fused together. The tail has complete range of motion with no limitation of movement whatsoever and if the cat wishes, it can straighten its tail without any pain or hardship. The curl is most obvious when the cat feels relaxed.
The tail curl doesn’t impact the cats ability to move or their balance. American Ringtail can move its tail whenever and however it wants and it even uses its tail more than other cats. Due to the natural curled shape of the tail, they use it to slow down while climbing down from trees or running.
They can come in all eye colors, coat colors and patterns. Their coat is silky and smooth with short or medium length hair. They shed lightly. If you are looking for a breed that doesn’t shed at all, you may want to have a look here.
Generally American Ringtails grow from 7 to 15 pounds in weight. It can live between 15 to 20 years and there is no known medical condition caused by the tail mutation to impact its health.
American Ringtail is a very friendly and loving breed with an amazing personality. It can get on well with other animals if socialized at a young age and also children as long as the children are kind to it which makes it a great family cat. If you teach your children how to handle a cat, there wouldn’t be any issues.
They are also known to communicate with their humans vocally when spoken to which is adorable. Although they are very loving and friendly towards all members of the family, they tend to from even a more special bond with one individual of the family they choose.
Their affectionate, loyal and outgoing nature turns to a little shyness around strangers but this disappears when strangers become frequent visitors.
Due to their feral roots, they tend to hide food throughout the house in order to consume later. American Ringtails love observing, drinking and sometimes playing with running water. They also like climbing and, being a curious breed, exploring. So having cat trees and lots of toys to keep your kitty occupied is a good idea.
American Ringtails are not the brightest cats in the block so training them to do complex tricks is hard but they can be trained to use the litter box as easy as any other cat.
While American Ringtails with shorthair need grooming once a week like most other shorthair cats, the medium-length coats may require grooming twice a week. This breed doesn’t shed much and weekly grooming would be enough to keep its fur healthy, shiny and soft.
American Ringtail is rare and you may have to make a little research to find one but their popularity is rising with each passing day.
Their curled tails don’t cause them any pain or discomfort and they even benefit the natural curl by using it in ways most other cats can’t. Since there is no health issues or discomforts related to their natural genetic mutation, breeding this cat is not considered an animal cruelty on contrary to some other breeds where the requested physical traits come with some known health issues.