Native North American ringtail cats are absolutely adorable, and people are going crazy for them!


A rarely seen wild animal found primarily in the West and Southwest USA is the Ringtail Cat. Some find this elusive animal to be absolutely adorable. Let’s take a closer look at this unique animal.  Here you will find facts and also some interesting pieces of Ringtail Cat Trivia.


Image Source: CSERC

Not A Cat


Despite their name, the Ringtail Cat is not a cat. Instead, they belong to the raccoon family. The Ringtail Cat is known as a Procyonidae. In fact, the ring on their tail does resemble a raccoon tail. Also, like a raccoon, the Ringtail Cat cleans itself by licking its forepaws. It then wipes its face, ears, and snout.


Image Source: NPS



The Ringtail Cat is wary of humans. For that reason, they are sometimes called shy. Though they are related to a raccoon, Ringtail Cats are spotted way less than their wild cousins. You wouldn’t have to drive too far across the United States to find countless raccoons dead on the side of the road. Thankfully, their elusive nature keeps Ringtails off of the highways. Death by being hit by a vehicle is much less than for a raccoon.


Image Source: Privacy Chair

Other Names of Ringtail Cats


Miner’s Cat


Even though Ringtails are not a cat, as mentioned above, they have been given the nickname “Miner’s Cat.” This is because they are often seen around mining camps. The reason being is that Ringtail Cats feast on rodents. Mining camps often have a large population of rodents because rodents are attracted to food left by the miners.


Civet Cats


When a ringtail is frightened it can release a foul smelling odor from its anal gland. This is a self-defense mechanism, much like a skunk. For that reason, they have been given the name Civet Cats. Somehow the cat part of the name keeps sticking with these Procyonidaes even though they are not a cat.


Image Source: crittergal

Fox-like Characteristics


The Ringtail Cat shares many characteristics with the fox.  First, Ringtails have a long and bushy tail like a fox. The tail on a Ringtail Cat is often longer than the length of its body. Second, they have fox-like ears. Third, Ringtail Cats have sharp teeth which are perfectly made for eating rodents, insects, rabbits and ground squirrels. Fox and Ringtail Cats share much of the same diet. Ringtails also snack on snakes, lizards, frogs, birds, acorns, berries, and fruit.


Image Source: timlawsonphoto

Animals That Prey Upon the Ringtail Cat


As with most small animals, there is a large list of predators that prey upon the Ringtail Cat. Some of those predators include the Great Horned Owl, Coyotes, Bobcats and Mountain Lions. Perhaps this is part of why Ringtail Cats are considered elusive. They really need to be extra careful when they venture out to hunt.


Image Source: Casey Smartt

Interesting Calls


The call of the Ringtail Cat is loud with different ranges of calls. So even though you may not see a Ringtail, you may be able to hear one. If you hear a call that includes loud and varied pitches, it may just be a Ringtail Cat. If threatened or attacked, the Ringtail Cat will give off a very high pitched and loud scream. Adults communicate with each other via loud barking or long-high wailing. Young Ringtails speak in a series of chirps and squeaks.


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Arizona’s State Mammal


This elusive and cute animal is held in high self-esteem by some, even becoming a state mammal. The Ringtail Cat became Arizona’s state mammal in 1986.


Image Source: Jerry Kirkhart



The Ringtail Cat is almost fully nocturnal. They spend most of their days fast asleep in dens that they construct. This is likely a big part of the reason why it’s rare to have a Ringtail Cat sighting.


Image Source: CSERC

Expert Climbers


Ringtail Cats are excellent climbers. They can quickly ascend vertical walls including trees. Ringtail Cats prefer rocky piles, canyons, stone fences and places with crevices where they can hide in safety from predators. They can be found in wooded areas but it is far less common.


Image Source: NPS

So there you have it. Some common and maybe some not so well known facts about Ringtail Cats have been covered. One thing is for certain and that is, they sure are cute little critters. Since you may never see one in person, I hope you enjoyed these photos and learning about this unique mammal.

Leave your vote

0 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 0

Upvotes: 0

Upvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Downvotes: 0

Downvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey there!

Sign in

Forgot password?

Processing files…

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This