There are two types of well known “cat” with ringed tails. They are both mammals. One is a member of the raccoon family, native to arid regions of North America. It is a wild animal and it is not a cat but nonetheless it is called a ring-tailed cat. This is because its tail has black rings on it. I’m not going to describe that animal because this site is about cats except to say that it can be tamed and be a pet (a mouser – see photo at base of page). The other ringed tail cat is a genuine purebred cat called the American Ringtail. Below are three photographs of this cat breed.
It is a fairly new breed and of course it is unique. It was founded in 1998 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Susan Mandley rescued a kitten with a ringed tail, meaning that the tail is held upright (tail up) and turned over at its tip in the shape of a ring. She decided to create a new cat breed. The American Ringtail is another example of a cat breed being created out of a genetic mutation. The tail curls over like this because of this mutation. It is believed that two genes are at work, one dominant and one recessive. The dominant gene is sex-linked and it produces the aerial tail. The recessive gene produces the curl in the tail.
Importantly, there are no health issues associated with this gene and therefore this is a healthy cat. As I understand it, it is a standard looking cat not bred to extreme which can be adopted in a very wide range of coat types (but read below).
I have a page on this cat breed which you can read by clicking on this link. It appears that this cat breed is no longer being supported or at least the cattery where the breed was bred may have closed down as the website appears to have been closed. It is or was owned by Susan Mandley and Beth Gardner. It was called the Singaling Cattery.
P.S. For completeness I have to say that there are many tabby cats with black rings on their tails. You see them all the time.
Picture of the “other” ring-tail which is not a cat!
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