A relatively new feline breed, American Ringtail is not yet fully registered and is at the moment in an experimental stage as a breed. It originated only a few years back, when in 1998 a stray male kitten was rescued in Fremont, California. As the cat grew it was discovered that he tended to keep his tail in a curled position over his back. There was no deformity or medical problem found with the animal and he seemed to be in no discomfort as he held his tail in the particular manner. Soon other cats in the locality were seen with a similar 'ring' tail. After genetic consultation, a decision was eventually made to develop these unique cats as a formal breed. The original ringtail male was crossed with a foreign bodied female at the start. Since then several litters have been born with kittens that display the 'ringtail' trait. Originally called 'Ringtail Sing-a-ling' these pretty felids are now named 'American Ringtail' cats and are currently on the road to full recognition by cat breed registration bodies.
Relatively large in size, American Ringtails are long and muscular animals. Both genders can reach a weight of twelve to fourteen pounds at adulthood. They have a long and strong back. Fur is soft and silky and may occur in any color or pattern. Eye color is also not strictly defined at the moment. The tail is straight initially and then smoothly curls over the back, not touching it and being approximately of the same length. Paws are medium sized with webbed toes.
The famous ring tail is owing to two distinct genes that produce the 'upright' and 'curled' appearance of the tail. They are seen in certain feral and domestic cats and even in purebreds. They are not associated with any health ailment. The tail itself is broad and muscular at the base with well developed bones that are not fused together. The cats hold their tail in the ringed position when they are calm. It serves not only to balance the cats in their movement but also to decelerate them during a high speed pursuit.
American Ringtails are very friendly and affectionate by nature. They interact well with children and other family members even as they develop a strong attachment to one particular person. They are somewhat shy in presence of strangers though.