With some very visual physical similarities between the Maine Coon vs Lynx, it’s easy to understand why owners ask ‘are Maine Coons part lynx?’. Although these two species are not genetically related, there are a few key factors to consider, to explain why this myth came about.
Maine Coons are not part lynx, despite their visually similar appearance, and reputation for being great hunters. Both species have impressive lynx tips on top of their pointed ears, though some Maine Coons will never grow these. Their furry padded paws and thick fur, mean both cats are well-equipped to survive cold Winter climates.
For those of you interested in learning more about the Maine Coon vs Lynx cats, keep reading to further understand why so many people query whether Maine Coons are related to Lynx cats.
Are Maine Coon Cats Related To Lynx?
In order to fully understand this subject, we will cover a range of factors relating to the Maine Coon vs Lynx cat’s history, physical appearance, and capabilities.
Below are the contents covered in this article. To save time scrolling, click on the link, to skip straight to the sections of interest:
- Physical Comparison
- Lynx Tips
- Personality And Temperament
- Maine Coon Lynx Hybrid
- Maine Coon Lynx Mix
1. Origins: Maine Coon Cats
The origins of the Maine Coon cat are shrouded in mystery, despite the many popular legends and myths that have remained popular, for many decades.
There are three key folklore tales, including:
- Maine Coons are part Raccoon
- Descendents of Marie Antoinette six Turkish Angora cats
- Descend From Viking Ship Cats
Maine Coons Are Part Raccoon
The first myth claims that the Maine Coon cat is part raccoon.
Advocates of this line of thought point to the following physical similarities between the two species, as evidence that the myth is true:
- Visually Similar: i.e. color, and physical build.
- Long bushy tails
- Large size: Physically large animals
- Superb Climbers
- Love of water: Both species are fascinated with water
- Semi-Prehensile Paws: Use their semi-prehensile paws to grasp food
- Black Ring On Tail: Some Maine Coons are born with a black ring around their bushy tail, similar to the raccoon.
Marie Antoinette’s Turkish Angora Cats
Legend has it that Marie Antoinette, the former Queen of France, was completely devoted to her six treasured Turkish Angora Cats. Her love and devotion was put to the test during the French Revolution, as she made her desperate attempts to escape France.
It is thought that Marie convinced Captain Samuel Clough to let her aboard his ship, bound for the United States. He permitted her six Turkish Angora cats to travel aboard too, however, her journey did not end happily. Instead, she was captured and executed in 1793, though her precious cats did in fact make it safely to Wiscasset, Maine. Having fulfilled his obligations to the former Queen, he released the six felines into the wild.
The premise of this folklore tale, is that the long-haired Turkish Angora cats went onto breed with the short-haired domestic cats living in Maine. The Maine Coon breed is thus considered to have descended from these animal interactions.
Viking Ship Cats
One of the more conceivable myths points to the possibility that Maine Coon cats are descendents of the Norwegian Forest Cat.
According to this legend, the Vikings kept long-haired cats aboard their ships, known for their superb hunting skills and ability to keep the ships mouse population at bay. Many specialists speculate that the Viking ship cats are likely to have been large Norwegian Forest cats, that mated with short-haired domestic cats whilst the ships docked.
If the history of Maine Coon cats has sparked your interest, why not take a look at my in depth article: “Where Do Maine Coon Cats Originate?” for further reading.
Unlike Maine Coon cats, the origins of the Lynx are somewhat clearer.
According to this website, there are four lynx species in today’s society, including:
- Eurasian Lynx
- Iberian Lynx
- Canada Lynx
- Bobcat (Lynx Rufus)
Although extinct in the UK since the medieval period, these carnivores are thought to have evolved from the Issoire Lynx. This Lynx lived in Africa and Europe during the late Pliocene to early Ice Age. Scientists claim there might even be an earlier ancestor of the Lynx species that we recognise today, pointing to the Pliocene felid from North America (source).
2. Physical Comparison: Maine Coon vs Lynx
If we study these two cat breeds in greater detail, we can see that there are many similarities, and differences between the two species.
Below is a table that compares the physical attributes of the Maine Coon cat vs Lynx cats. The size and weight of the Lynx will vary, depending upon which type of Lynx you are looking at. We have therefore used the summary information provided by this website:
|Size||Length: 19 – 40 Inches (48 – 101 cm). Males usually larger than females. Large domestic cat||Length: 36 Inches (91.4 cm). Males usually larger than females. Medium sized wild cat|
|Weight||15 – 25 lbs |
(6.8 – 11.3 kg)
|39.6 – 59.5 lbs |
|Ears||Ear tufts, known as ‘Lynx tips’ are common, but not a indicative of the breed||Large black lynx tips|
|Tail||Thick bushy long tail||Short, black tipped tail|
|Body||Muscular build. Rectangular shaped, long body||Short bodies, with long legs|
|Paws||Fur between toes. Sharp claws||Large padded paws. Sharp hooked claws|
|Fur||2 dense undercoats. 1 longer thick, silky outer fur coat. Uneven lengths of fur, with mane of fur around neckline||Spotted cats with long light-colored fur, that gets shorter and thinner in Summer|
|Eyes||Large, slightly oval shaped eyes. Cannot see things close up well||Great eyesight. Reflective eyes.|
As you can see, full grown Lynx cats are likely to be far heavier, than Maine Coons. Their body length, however, is often considerably shorter.
Both species are carnivores, known for their superb hunting abilities. They are built for harsh Winter climates, as a result of their muscular bodies, and large paws that enable them to walk over snow.
If you are keen to identify a Maine Coon cat, check out my article: ‘How to identify a Maine Coon kitten‘.
3. Maine Coon Lynx Tips
Otherwise known as ‘Lynx tips’, I’m never surprised when my readers ask me ‘are Maine Coons part Lynx?’. The fact of the matter is that despite both breeds having very similar ear tufts, which can be seen growing out of the top of their pointed ears, this does not automatically mean that the two species are related.
Whilst the similarity is indeed remarkable, there is no conclusive evidence to indicate that it is anything more than a coincidence. Instead, it is more likely that the tufts are nature’s way of keeping the top of these cats ears warm during the harsh Winter climate.
Some websites suggest that the Lynx tips might actually have a functional value, too, since they are might also provide an additionally sensory input for these magnificent wildcats.
Before you get carried away though, please note that not all Maine Coon cats have Lynx tips. These are thus not considered a prerequisite of the Maine Coon cat breed, but instead, a feature desired only by some of the large cat associations.
If this subject intrigues you, why not take a look at my article: ‘Do all Maine Coons have lynx tips?‘. Read my conclusive findings.
4. Personality And Temperament
Maine Coons are curious, highly intelligent, and friendly. They love the attention of their human owners. Social interaction is paramount to them living happy lives.
If we compare this to the Lynx cat, however, it is clear that the two species are very different, because Lynx are ore solitary creatures that do their best to avoid interaction with humans.
Maine Coon Lynx Hybrid
Feline hybrids are the result of breeding between a domestic house cat, and a wild feline cat breeds. Although usually friendly towards humans, these hybrid cats can be unpredictable at times. Their unpredictable nature led the American Association of Feline Practitioners to warn potential owners against purchasing early generation hybrid cats, since they feared for the animals welfare and public safety (source).
10 well known hybrid cats, include:
- Desert Lynx
After extensive research, I can confirm there are no reported cases whereby a Maine Coon cat has been bred with a Lynx. The ‘Maine Coon lynx hybrid’ does not exist.
Maine Coon Lynx Mix
Despite being physically similar, there is no genetic evidence to support claims that a Maine Coon lynx mix exists.
In fact, the general agreement amongst cat specialists is that mating between a wild cat and domestic cat is unlikely. Any offspring produced would also be susceptible to genetic defects, as certain hybrid cat breeds have experienced.
Are Maine Coon cats part Lynx?
After extensive research on this fascinating subject, I can confirm that the Maine Coon cat is not part Lynx. In fact, despite the physical similarities between these two cats, there is actually no genetic link between the two breeds.
The more likely scenario, is that both of these cats evolved over the course of many years, to enable them to survive the harsh Winter climates of New England. These large cats large ear tufts, and extra big paws played a huge part in the two cat breeds survival.
1. Are Maine Coons Related To Bobcats?
Maine Coon cats are not related to bobcats, despite the physical similarities between these two species i.e. their large paws, big build, and tufted ears.
2. Are Maine Coons Part Raccoon?
Maine Coons are not genetically related to Raccoons, though they do share many physical similarities that have led many individuals to claim they are. Check out my article ‘Are Maine Coons Part Raccoon‘ for more details.