Maine Coons lynx tips are often considered to be one of the most distinguishing features of the breed. Often confused with ear tufts and ear furnishings, many people regard lynx tips as a necessary feature which Maine Coons must have if they are going to be considered a purebred. This isn’t a very accurate way to determine a Maine Coons pedigree status though, and leads me to wonder do all Maine Coons have lynx tips?
Whilst many Maine Coon kittens start developing the desired lynx tips by roughly two weeks of age, some Maine Coons will not develop tips until two years of age when their fur has fully grown in. Alternatively, some Maine Coons never develop lynx tips at all. The length and volume of Maine Coon lynx tips vary widely between cats.
Keep reading to find out if the purebred status of a Maine Coon cat is put into question, should they not develop the highly desirable lynx tips.
Maine Coon Lynx Tips
When we speak of Maine Coon lynx tips, we are referring to the pointed lengths of hair that grow out of the top of a Maine Coon ears, starting where the ear visibly tapers off into a point. The length and volume of a cats tips will vary widely, and are ultimately determined by each cats individual genetic makeup.
Whilst this particular cat breed might be famous for their regal looking lynx tips, you might be surprised to hear that these tips are not actually just there to look good! Instead, they are a completely functional physical attribute of the Maine Coon cat, which developed when Maine Coons were required to evolve and survive the harsh Winter climates of Maine, in the United States. Did you know that the tips actually help to help protect the Maine Coons ears from the cold?
Many people assume that a Maine Coon cannot be of purebred status, if the cat does not develop the desired Maine Coon lynx tips. This is completely untrue though, since a large number of Maine Coons never grow a set of lynx tips at all. The presence (or lack of) lynx tips bares no relation to a cats pedigree status. In fact, Maine Coons without lynx tips are just as worthy of being called Maine Coons!
Here is a picture of a Maine Coon with lynx tips, so you can get a better understanding of what the long tips actually look like:
Difference Between Lynx Tips, Ear Tufts And Ear Furnishings
There is more to Maine Coon ears than you might first think. Have you seen just how many terms are used when referring to a Maine Coons ears? It’s not surprising that many people use the wrong terminology when trying to explain the features of their Maine Coons ears.
Here are the three key names given to the fur that grows from a Maine Coons ears:
- Lynx Tips
- Ear Tufts
- Ear Furnishings
The table below brings clarity to what each of the ear lingo really means:
|Maine Coon Ear Lingo||Description|
|Lynx Tips||Pointed lengths of hair that grow upwards from the narrow tip of a Maine Coons ear. Range in size, length and volume. Can reach up to 4 inches in length! Not all Maine Coons have lynx tips|
|Ear Tufts||All Maine Coons have wispy hair that sprouts out of their inner ear. Ear tufts play an important role in protecting a Maine Coons ear organ from external factors like the environment e.g. rain, snow, wind. The long hair helps to prevent debris getting into a Maine Coons ears, whilst also filtering sound into the cats ears efficiently|
|Ear Furnishings||Another name for ear tufts. A Maine Coons ear furnishings grow out of the cats inner ear, acting as a protective covering for the cats ear organ (source)|
Do All Maine Coon Cats Have Tufted Ears?
When answering this question, it is important to understand that there is a clear difference between Maine Coon lynx tips, ear tufts and ear furnishings. Take a look at the table above, if you need to swot up on the differences.
All Maine Coons will develop ear tufts that sprout out of their inner ear. These ear tufts are more important than you might first assume. Firstly, they keep a cat’s ear organ warm, protecting a Maine Coons ears from the environmental elements (e.g. snow, rain, frost). Secondly, ear tufts stop debris getting into the Maine Coons ear, which could cause damage. Thirdly, the tips help your cat filter sound into the ear, and can range anywhere up to 4 inches in length!
When Do Maine Coons Get Their Lynx Tips?
Maine Coons lynx tips are considered by many to be highly desirable, and one of the most distinguishing features of this particular cat breed. So when do Maine Coons get their lynx tips?
Newborn Maine Coon kittens do not really have any visible lynx tips. Instead, these tend to start appearing by the time a kitten reaches 2 weeks of age. They then continue to grow, reaching full length by the time your Maine Coon reaches 2 years of age. Coincidentally, this tallies with when the cats fur coat has also grown to its full length.
If you are concerned that your brand new, 12 week old Maine Coon kitten, has not developed any lynx tips yet, don’t panic, because some Maine Coons will not develop any until they are older. Should your Maine Coon reach 2 years of age though, and still doesn’t possess a fine set of lynx tips to be proud of, then it is safe to assume that your cat will never grow any.
Finally, some cat specialists claim that the Maine Coon cats we know and love today actually have more ear tufts / ear furnishings, than the first Maine Coons that originated in Maine. This is thought to be the result of breeders being selective in their breeding patterns and choices (source).
Are Certain Maine Coon Colors More Likely To Grow Lynx Tips?
I thought it would be really interesting to determine if a Maine Coons lynx tips were somehow linked to the color of their fur. For instance, are white Maine Coons more likely to grow a set of lynx tips, than a blue Maine Coon? If a link could be established, buyers desiring a Maine Coon with these regal looking lynx tips could therefore increase their chances of having one, by only purchasing Maine Coon kittens with certain fur colorings.
Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find any research that indicates there is a higher probability of the white, blue, or tabby Maine Coon colors etc, developing Maine Coon lynx tips, than any other coloring. Instead, it seems to all come down to the Maine Coons individual genetics.
The best tips I could give purchasers wishing to own a Maine Coon with impressive lynx tips, are:
- Purchase kitten, whose parents have long lynx tips. This genetically increases your chances that the kitten will develop them too when they are older.
- Maine Coon kittens have usually developed small lynx tips by 12 weeks of age, therefore purchasers should only consider buying Maine Coon kittens with already visible lynx tips. These small tips will ultimately grow larger, as the cat ages.
If you look at the picture gallery below, you can see what Maine Coon lynx tips look like on different colored Maine Coon cats:
Are Maine Coons Part Lynx?
Many people mistakenly assume that the Maine Coon cat is actually part Lynx, or somehow genetically linked to this wild cat. This is because both cats are physically large, and both species also have ear tufts that grow where the cats ears begin to taper off into a point. Coincidentally, the Maine Coons ear tips are also extremely similar to that of the lynx’s.
Scientists have discounted this assumption as biologically impossible, however, it’s definitely not hard to see why this mistake is so easily made.
Take a look at the picture below, which shows a strong physical resemblance between the two cat breeds:
So, do all Maine Coons have lynx tips? The simple answer to this question is no. Whilst some Maine Coons will have long impressive pointed tips that extend upwards from the more narrow and pointed tip of a Maine Coons ears, another Maine Coon might only have very short lengths of hair growing out of their pointed ears.
Ultimately it is down to personal preference whether you are a lover of Maine Coon lynx tips, or not. Whatever your viewpoint though, it is important to keep in mind that the lack of lynx tips on a Maine Coon cat does not make them any less worthy of the ‘Maine Coon’ breed name. Nor does a lack of lynx tips indicate in anyway, that the Maine Coon is not of purebred heritage.