One of the most notable physical features of the Maine Coon cat, are the mass of ears tufts that sprout out from the inner section of their large impressive ears. These fluffy wisps of hair stand proud of a Maine Coons tall ears, and are known by many to also be called ‘ear furnishings’. Do all Maine Coon cats have ear tufts though, and should prospective buyers check for this physical trait before buying their Maine Coon cat?
All purebred Maine Coon cats have ear tufts that grow out of their inner ears, offering protection to the cats sensitive ear organ. Ear tufts are not necessarily present on part Maine Coons, or mixed Maine Coons though, since their mixed genetics are likely to have influenced their overall physical looks.
Growing anywhere up to 4 inches in length, keep reading to find out when the Maine Coons impressive ear tufts first appear.
What Do Maine Coon Ears Look Like?
Purebred Maine Coon cats are clearly recognizable by their ears, though it might prove more difficult to correctly identify a Maine Coon with mixed breed genetics. This is because the relative dominance of each individual cats DNA will likely impact a felines overall physical appearance, in some way.
According to the Cat Fanciers Federation, Maine Coons should have large ears that sit high on their heads, are wide at the base, and taper to a point. Maine Coon lynx tips are considered a desirable physical feature that grow outwards from the point at the top of a cat’s ear.
Maine Coon ear tufts should be visibly growing out from the cats inner ear, extending beyond the outer edge of the cats ears. Maine Coons are considered less true to the breed, if their ears are untufted (source).
Do All Maine Coon Cats Have Ear Tufts
When we speak of Maine Coon ear tufts, we are referring to the long wisps of hair that grow out of a cat’s inner ear. Breeders are encouraged to breed cats with well tufted ears. These ear tufts should also be long (anywhere up to 4 inches in length), and grow outwards past the cats outer ear.
Whilst the ear tufts might look decorative, they actually play an important role in protecting the cats sensitive inner ear organ. This is because the wispy hair helps to prevent dirt and debris from the environment reaching the cats delicate inner ear. It is also thought that these ear tufts will help to filter sound into your Maine Coons ear channel.
When Do Maine Coons Grow Ear Tufts?
The majority of Maine Coon kittens should start developing their Maine Coon ear tufts by the time they are a couple of weeks old. If ear tufts are not present by this stage, it is highly possible that a Maine Coon will never develop these prestigious wispy hairs at all (source).
Below is a picture of two amazingly gorgeous Maine Coon kittens. They both have a mass of Maine Coon ear tufts growing out of their inner ears.
What Color Are Maine Coon Ear Tufts
I have not been able to find any independent research that clarifies what color purebred Maine Coon ear tufts should be. The only preferred requirements in relation to a Maine Coons ear tufts, are that they be ‘well tufted’ (source).
There are approximately 75 different Maine Coon colorings. From an assessment of various different Maine Coon photos online, I have concluded that Maine Coon ear tufts come in a range of colors, many of which will match the Maine Coons main fur coloring. In general though, white and off-white ear tufts appear to be the most common.
Feel free to take a look at the photos below, of different colored Maine Coon cats. As you can see, their ear tufts tend to be white, or off-white in color. There are many Maine Coons however, whose ear tuft colors tend to match their main fur coat colorings.
Why Maine Coon Ear Tufts Are Mistaken For Lynx Tips
It is not surprising that many people get confused with the technical terminology for each part of a Maine Coons ear. With three key phrases to choose from, I cannot think of many scenarios where the average owner ever even needs to know the difference between Maine Coon ear tufts, and Maine Coon lynx tips.
Take a look at the table below which clarifies the key differences between Maine Coon ear terminology:
|Lynx Tips||The majority of Maine Coons have lynx tips. They grow outwards from the tapered pointed tip of a Maine Coons ear. Lynx tips significantly differ in size, length and volume, depending upon each cats individual genetics. Cats without lynx tips by 2 years are unlikely to ever grow them|
|Ear Tufts||Most Maine Coons have wispy hair that sprouts out of their inner ear. These ear tufts help to protect the cats sensitive inner ear organ from environmental factors like snow, rain, and wind. The tufts also keep the Maine Coon warm, whilst also helping to stop debris getting into a Maine Coons ears. Additionally, these tufts also filter sound into the cats ears|
|Ear Furnishings||A phrase used interchangeably with ‘ear tufts’. Both phrases refer to the same thing. See ‘ear tufts’ above for more details|
Do Maine Coons Always Have Lynx Tips?
Whilst most owners expect their Maine Coon kitten to develop a set of fine Maine Coon lynx tips at some point, this is not definitely a given. Instead, some Maine Coons will never grow a distinguishing set of lynx tips at all. Therefore, if your cat has not grown any tips by the time they are 2 years old, owners should discount the idea that they will ever grow. The two year mark is considered relevant in this matter because tip growth is thought to stop when a Maine Coons full coat has fully grown in.
If you would like to learn more about Maine Coon lynx tips, take a look at my article: ‘Do all Maine Coons Have Lynx Tips?‘.
Do all Maine Coon cats have ear tufts growing out of their ears? The quick and simple answer to that is no. This physical feature is often only expected to be present in purebred Maine Coons. That is not to say that mixed Maine Coons will never grow ear tufts. Ultimately, the part Maine Coons genetics will play a key role in determining the presence, or lack of Maine Coon ear tufts.
Breeders producing mixed, or part Maine Coons are unable to assure potential buyers that the Maine Coon kittens they sell will ever grow a set of impressive tufty ears. Individuals opting for cheaper mixed Maine Coons might therefore be disappointed when they discover that their treasured feline friend will not necessarily grow a pair of regal looking Maine Coon ear tufts.
For those of you that have enjoyed reading this article, here are a few related questions that you might also be interested in:
a) When do Maine Coons get their mane?
Maine Coon cats do not develop their full coat of fur until they reach two years old. By this point, a Maine Coons furry mane should have fully developed.
b) Do Maine Coons always have lynx tips?
Whilst a large percentage of Maine Coon cats will eventually grow their Maine Coon lynx tips, it is not a given that this breed definitely will.
Purebred Maine Coons are more likely to grow lynx tips, than mixed Maine Coon cats.
If you are lovers of the Maine Coon breed, why not read more of my informative articles. Here are a few that you might enjoy: