Maine Coon Cat Ear Tufts

Maine Coon ear tufts - classic tabby and white appearance - Photo by foxypar4 (Flickr)

One of the defining characteristics of the Maine Coon's appearance is the ear tufts, the hair that grows from the tips of the ear flaps (the outer ear). They are called "lynx tips". They are reminiscent of the caracal, a wild cat. The caracal has the best ear tufts of all cats, wild or domestic. They are used to communicate. The lynx also has lynx tips, of course!

But of all the domestic cats, the Maine Coon has the most prominent ear tufts. They are enshrined in the breed standard: "EARS: Shape: large, well-tufted". Maine Coons also have long ear hair inside the ear that flops out as the picture above shows.

The ear tufts fall into the category of "ear furnishings". This is cat fancy language. In humans, ear hair is undesirable - quite the opposite in the cat fancy.

Most moggies, random bred cats, have hair inside the ear but it is less extravagant compared to Maine Coons. The Persian cat has lots of ear hair that sprouts out of the inside of the ear flap. The Persian ears are small without ear tufts (perhaps very small ear tufts meaning lynx tipped).

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