Wednesday, July 1, 2009

DANTE: TIPPED OFF!
























































For those of you who don't know already, Dante is a purebred Maine Coon cat. Not all, but many Maine Coons have lynx-tipped ears, and Dante counts among them.

Although nobody knows fur sure, there has always been a suspicion that Maine Coons came about from matings between resident lynx and farm cats. Certainly, they share some features in common, such as their tipped ears, square jaw, large paws and snowshoe-like feet. However, it's just possible that regular long-haired cats developed these features from generations of living in the harsh Maine environment. Your guess is as good as mine.

In any event, this post is meant to tip you off to Dante's ear tips. Often, they are not so noticeable -- it all depends on the lighting. Much as blondes or redheads need mascara to show up their eyelashes, Dante's red ear tips require a certain light setting to display themselves. Maine Coon cats with dark ear tips look much more lynx-like. These pictures of Dante, however, do indeed exhibit his lynx tips to good effect. I, purrsonally, find them very appealing.

I was investigating the purpose of these outgrowths of fur at the top of the feline ear and read a couple of different theories. One is that the tufts on their ears are a hearing aid, which the lynx certainly requires in his hunting ventures, and the other is that they help to keep the ears from freezing in the frigid winter months. Both of these reasons make sense to me. I'm sure Mother Nature has multiple purposes for her design.

So, if Dante has one tip that you should take away today, it's that you should always cover your ears (prefurably with fur -- faux will do) in the winter!

18 comments:

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Gemini is not maine coon but she does have ear tufts--but not so nice as yours Dante!

Fin said...

Your ears are darling!!

Angel and Kirby said...

Dante has lovely tips!

8GR8LOLCATS said...

I love the HUGE tips on our Eurasian Lynx at our zoo...

I've always COONtended that the idea that the Maine Coons who reach enormous physical PURR-PURRtions... as those who reside in the wilds of Maine sometimes do- must have some larger cat genes in them. If they are in fact hybrid it would be many many generations back. Maine Coon breeders completely reject that they are a hybridized breed. Friends of ours who have traveled up there and seen some of the native "barn cats" enormous enough to stand and bend over to drink out of a rain barrel...

I think though that the tips on the cats ears are achieved through breeders selecting cats who have tips and selectively breeding them to cats who have larger ears with tips! I think the tips are charming... The huge muled ears would not occur in nature to animals who have to endure cold climates... which again is achieved by breeders selecting larger eared cats to breed. Large ears are nature's temperature control device to diffuse high temperatures- as in the desert hare or the desert fox... Cold weather creatures keep their ears closer to their heads so that they don't become frostbitten... the arctic hare and fox... Abyssinian Cats- who would have been a desert animal and the Serval- who had the largest ears in the feline family.

Dante is a most fabulous cat with extreme type. Everything about him full-tilt extreme. A most excellent example of selective breeding!

Reese =^..^= said...

Great pictures of the tips and very interesting information.

Eric and Flynn said...

You have lovely ear tufts Dante. We like the second and third photos the best. They show off your strong but kindly facial features.

Milo and Alfie said...

Thse are very cute ear tips. We haven't got any!

The Creek Cats said...

Ear tufts are mom's favorite feature on a kitty! Chevelle has them! Dante's ear tufts are magnificent!

Gandalf and Grayson said...

Dante, we love your tufts! You also have a magnifurcent set of whiskers! Akshully, you are just plain gorgeous!

The Meezers said...

you haf great ears!

Everycat said...

Top quality ear tips there Dante, you are so majestic. We read that bit ear tips or tufts are there to help us discern tiny changes in air current, that helps alert us to things moving. A bit like our whiskers pick up air movement. They definately give you the style advantage.

Whicky Wuudler

The Island Cats said...

Dante is a purrfect specimen of a Maine Coon!

The Monkeys said...

Your Lynx tips are beautiful, Dante! We agree that there are probably multiple reasons why most Maine Coon cats have this feature and it's nice to look at, too!

Daisy said...

You got some real cool ear tufts, Dante!

susan said...

Beautiful Lynx tips!!!!!!!!!!!

Susan

Furkidsmom said...

Those are magnificent tips!!

Sniffie and the Florida Furkids

Jasmim said...

Maine Coon are very beautiful! Mommy want have another cat with this breed, until I like the idea of having a little brother ....

Jas & Gi

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

He is a proud, handsome and noble cat!