a tortoiseshell maine coon side profile

Do Maine Coons Always Have Ear Tufts?

Of all the distinguishing physical features a Maine Coon possesses the ears and the ear tufts perhaps define the breeds ‘look’.

A Maine Coon is almost synonymous with those large pointed ears, distinctive tufts, and pointed tips.

But are ear tufts indicative of the breed?

Do Maine Coons always have ear tufts?

Maine Coons don’t always have ear tufts. Ear tufts otherwise described as lynx tips are not a defining feature on every Maine Coon from birth. Many Maine Coons do not have ear tufts but the ears should be large, pointed, and have ear furnishings.

There’s no doubt that when you look at a Maine Coon your eyes are drawn to the prominence of the ears.

The Maine Coon has a physical presence that is very distinguishable on sight.

It is a physically large cat, with a fluffy tail, a mane, and pointed tip ears.

There is a large amount of variance from one Maine Coon to another, and just as a Maine Coon can be the same size as an average cat or very large, they can have ear tufts that are small, or large lashes.

Maine Coon ears describing ear tufts, lynx tips, and ear furnsishings

The lack of ear tufts or lynx tips on a Maine Coon in no way implies that your cat isn’t a Maine Coon.

A purebred Maine Coon can have no ear tufts.

The lack of ear tufts doesn’t alter a Maine Coons ability to do anything, nor does it affect their personality.

What Are Maine Coon Ear Tufts

There can be a lot of confusion regarding the ear tufts on a Maine Coon.

Maine Coons can often more resemble that of a bobcat or another wild animal. Many wild animals often have these ear tufts.

The ears of a Maine Coon can be described in 3 different ways.

Maine Coon ear tufts or lynx tips are the spikes of hair at the tips of the ear.

The hair on the inner portion of the ear is more commonly referred to as ear furnishings.

Ear tips refer to the physical tip of the ear and aren’t related to the hair on the ear.

Maine Coon ears are quite thick with fur to cope with harsh winters, but ‘ear tufts’ and ‘lynx tips’ are interchangeable terms.

Maine Coon ear tufts come in no particular variety and can vary from animal to animal.

It’s much more a function of genetics than anything else, but diet and grooming can take their part.

Although we normally refer to the hair as ear tufts, and occasionally lynx tips, they can less commonly be referred to by the name ear tips or ear tassels.

Ear tips shouldn’t be confused with the physical part of the ear, but nevertheless, the language sometimes gets used.

The term ‘ear tufts’ can often be confused with the term ‘ear furnishings’.

Ear furnishings are the light hair inside of the ear which is often prominent on a Maine Coon.

a maine coon looking majestic

Is There A Difference Between Ear Tufts And Lynx Tips

There’s no difference between using the terms ear tufts and lynx tips.

They are both terms that describe the ‘flick’ of hair at the tip of the ear that makes a Maine Coon have a more wild-like look.

Ear tufts is a term to use interchangeably with lynx tips. Ear tassels is another term to describe the same physical trait.

Do All Maine Coons Have Lynx Tips?

Not all Maine Coons have lynx tips. Many people assume a cat is not a purebred Maine Coon if lynx tips aren’t present.

This isn’t the case and it’s perfectly possible for a Maine Coon to have no discernable lynx tips.

There’s no way to tell when lynx tips will develop on a Maine Coon, as some cats can develop them later, and some as a kitten. Some Maine Coons will never have lynx tips.

Why Does A Maine Coon Have Ear Tufts?

Maine Coon lynx tips are unlikely to provide any warmth, but when crawling through the undergrowth, these flecks of hair may keep debris out of the ear.

There’s also the possibility they are sensors and can tell the Maine Coon when their ears are nearing physical objects such as branches or rocks.

Some scientists have also suggested that lynx tips may help filter and funnel sound directly into the ear, helping the Maine Coon hear prey more accurately.

a maine coon having its ear tickled

Why A Maine Coon Has Ear Furnishings?

The Maine Coon has a rather prominent set of ear furnishings.

Taking a look at the inner sanctum of the inner ear you are likely to witness a vast set of fine interlocking hairs.

The hairs of the inner part of the ear are there to help your Maine Coon hunt.

The ear furnishings are incredibly sensitive to air movement and sound vibrations and help the Maine Coon detect prey.

They also help keep debris and dust away from the ear so it keeps the ear clean and functional.

Whether they can help channel sound into the ear isn’t yet determined.

alita the maine coon near plants

Conclusion

Maine Coons always don’t always have ear tufts or lynx tips.

Maine Coons have ear furnishings and they help the cat hear prey better.

My Alita has developed ever so slight lynx tips as you can see in the above photo. You could almost miss them.

These ear furnishings also work as natural air filters for your Maine Coon by deflecting debris so that their ears stay clean.

The ear tufts may not always show up until the Maine Coon grows older or reaches adulthood.

About the Author

MaineCoon

My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

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Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One