Why Do Maine Coons Have Ear Tufts?

Why Do Maine Coons Have Ear Tufts?

By Jennie @ Maine Coon Cats World

April 11, 2023

This post may contain affiliate links and Maine Coon Cats World may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking on our links.

Maine Coons are a unique and beloved breed of cat, known for their distinctive physical features. One such feature that sets them apart from other cats is their ear tufts. These tufts are long, wispy hairs that grow out of the top of the ears and can reach up to two inches in length.

The Maine Coon’s distinctive ear tufts, are sometimes referred to as “lynx tips.” But why are they called that? The answer lies in the resemblance between the Maine Coon’s tufts and those of a lynx. Lynxes are large wild cats known for their long ear tufts, which help them to hear better in snowy environments. Similarly, the Maine Coon’s ear tufts may have evolved as a way of helping these cats navigate through their natural habitats in colder climates.

So why do Maine Coons have these adorable ear tufts? While there is no definitive answer, one theory suggests that they may serve as a form of protection for the cat’s sensitive ears. The tufts could help keep out debris such as dirt or insects while providing additional insulation against cold temperatures.

Another theory points to the historical origins of Maine Coons as working cats on farms and ships. Their ear tufts may have helped to make them appear more intimidating and fierce to potential predators or rodents.

Some experts believe that ear tufts may also play a role in regulating body temperature. Cats are known for regulating their body temperature, and the long hairs on the ears may help trap heat close to the body during cold weather or release excess heat during hot weather.

Save $75 on Litter-Robot Bundles

Others speculate that the ear tufts may be a vestigial trait left over from ancient wildcat ancestors.

While there is no definitive answer to why Maine Coons have ear tufts, it is clear that these furry adornments only add to the breed’s unique and majestic appearance.

In addition to their ear tufts, Maine Coons are also renowned for their large size and bushy tails. Their rugged good looks make them a popular choice among cat lovers and have helped them earn a reputation as one of the most beloved breeds in the world. Whether you’re drawn in by their striking features or simply charmed by their friendly personalities, it’s easy to see why so many people adore Maine Coon cats.

Why Do Maine Coons Have Ear Tufts?

Cat Breeds with Ear Tufts

Other cat breeds also have ear tufts, although they may not be as prominent as those of Maine Coons. One such breed is the Norwegian Forest Cat, which also has a similar origin to the Maine Coon. This breed was used on ships and farms in Norway to control vermin, and its ear tufts provided protection against frostbite. Another cat with ear tufts is the Siberian Cat, which is native to Russia and has long been valued for its ability to survive harsh winters. Its ear tufts are believed to help protect it from snow and cold.

Additionally, the American Bobtail is another feline breed that can have ear tufts. These cats have a unique bobtail that resembles that of a rabbit or bobcat but often have slightly pointed ears with small tufts of fur at the tips. While there isn’t an exact answer as to why American Bobtails develop these features, many believe they could be related to their wild ancestors who lived in colder climates where long hair was needed for warmth.

Save $75 on Litter-Robot Bundles

Ear tufts likely developed in these breeds due to their need for protection against harsh weather conditions or predators in their natural habitats.

Norwegian Forest Cat


In conclusion, the ear tufts of Maine Coon cats serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. These tufts, also known as lynx tips, help to protect their ears from harsh weather conditions and prevent debris from entering them during hunting activities. Moreover, ear tufts are considered an attractive feature by many cat owners and breeders alike, which is why they are highly sought after in the Maine Coon breed.

While there is no conclusive evidence on the origin of these ear tufts in Maine Coons, some theories suggest that they may have developed as a result of natural selection or selective breeding practices. Regardless of their origins, however, one thing remains clear: these distinctive features have helped to make the Maine Coon one of the most beloved cat breeds in the world today.


Find out more about Maine Coon Cats

Find Maine Coon Kittens for sale near you

Save $75 on Litter-Robot Bundles

Written by Jennie @ Maine Coon Cats World

I'm Jennie, the creator of Maine Coon Cats World and Ragdoll Cats World. I have been owned and loved by Ragdoll Cats for almost twenty years and have recently introduced a Maine Coon Cat into our family, Eddie, who we think it the best cat in the world but shhhhh ... don't tell our Ragdolls that! We love sharing our knowledge of all things related to Maine Coon Cats with you at Maine Coon Cats World!

You May Also Like…