Are Raccoons Related to Cats? The Maine Coon is one cat that is said to be a hybrid of a cat and a raccoon. Unfortunately, due to a lack of written documentation, the origins of the Maine Coon cat are a matter of considerable conjecture that has been passed down through the ages.
Raccoons are not related to cats. In fact, according to genetic tests, ring-tailed cats and cacomistles of the genus Bassariscus, from which they separated around 10 million years ago, are the closest relatives of raccoons.
Let’s discover whether raccoons are related to cats and get answers to some of the most frequent questions about this relationship.
ARE RACCOONS RELATED TO CATS?
According to genetic studies, the closest relatives of raccoons are ring-tailed cats and cacomistles of the genus Bassariscus, out of which they diverged around 10 million years ago.
However, ring-tailed cats are not related to our domestic cats, although there are some ideas that ring-tailed cats were related to cats long ago. But in actual fact, ring-tailed cats belong to the Procyonidae family, while cats belong to the Felidae family.
Like most cats, raccoons—especially males—go through a stage when they live alone. Raccoons will eat almost everything you give them because they are omnivores. But, on the other hand, cats have fussy eating habits.
But there are similarities also in their behavior. Raccoons and cats can be mischievous, intelligent, curious, excellent climbers, and excellent hunters. In addition, both raccoons and cats like to play.
Conclusively, raccoons are not really related to modern cats since they belong to different families and have not crossed each other paths in the past.
IS A MAINE COON CAT PART RACCOON?
If you’ve ever had a Maine Coon cat or are interested in the history of this large-boned, robust cat breed, you’ve probably heard of this strange-sounding urban legend.
According to urban legend, the Raccoon is an ancestor of the Maine Coons. It contends that many years ago, a domestic cat and a raccoon mating resulted in the Maine Coons’ very existence.
Over the years, this myth has picked up a lot of steam.
Many people view the unmistakable resemblance between the brown tabby coloration of the Raccoon and the Maine Coon cat as crucial proof in favor of this story.
They contend that the unique long, bushy tail of the coon is too similar to the Raccoon’s tail to be disregarded.
Many still feel that this is the Maine Coon cat’s real history. But because of current scientific advancements, this myth has been definitively disproven as being physiologically inconceivable.
CAN RACCOONS AND CATS BE FRIENDS?
Both a cat and a raccoon have the potential to be adversaries. A raccoon is a curious creature, but its main concern is obtaining food, so if it seems to be friendly with your beloved cat, it’s just becoming friends with the cat’s food.
Raccoons and cats are not interested in chasing each other and instead tend to ignore the other, although if they meet outside, they can fight over territory.
DO RACCOONS EAT CATS?
Raccoons and cats may fight, and on occasion, they might feed on small animals kept outside, including chickens and rabbits.
Raccoons may even feed on kittens and tiny cats if there is no other food source, although they also frequently can be observed chowing down together when cats are fed outside.
The most frequent cause of raccoon encounters with pets is feeding them outside.
Follow these straightforward guidelines to lessen the likelihood that your cats may come into contact with raccoons:
- Pet cats should always be kept inside.
- If cats are fed outside, they only do it during the day and take the food away immediately.
- Don’t let cats go loose unattended or in groups.
Whether or not your pet will likely come into touch with a raccoon, these precautions are still beneficial. Maintain current immunization records for your pets, and ask your veterinarian what to do if they come into contact with a raccoon.
ARE RACCOONS DANGEROUS?
Raccoons do not pose a threat to humans. However, they may become hostile toward food or injured animals if they have access to human food (trash, pet food, or purposeful feeding). Despite their best intentions, people frequently murder their loved ones by being compassionate.
Raccoon feeding is dangerous, and keeping raccoons as pets is prohibited in some locations.
To scare away a raccoon approaching you, shout, pound your feet, clap your hands, and create noise. Despite how goofy it may seem, this is the best strategy to keep raccoons away from humans.
Fortunately, raccoons in most locations don’t transmit rabies, so you or your pets aren’t at risk.
How to Prevent Raccoon Problems
- Raccoons should not be fed since doing so makes them less frightened of people and increases their risk of getting hit by a car or getting trapped and dying.
- Discreet trash cans and compost
- Grab any fruit that has fallen to the ground.
- Don’t allow the seed in the bird feeders to overflow.
- Feed pets indoors rather than leaving food outside.
- When keeping pets outside, keep them inside from dark till daybreak.
- Keep your cat indoors: Keeping your cat inside or providing an enclosed space is the only way to ensure their safety.
- Keep up the house: To stop raccoons from moving in, maintain sheds, garages, and access to crawl spaces and attics.
Raccoons frequently roll up fresh garden sod in search of insects. To keep bugs and raccoons away from your lawn, use non-toxic diatomaceous earth.
CAN CATS AND RACCOONS CROSSBREED?
Even though they belong to separate species, a cat and a raccoon can physically mate. However, in contrast to the other way around, a male raccoon is more likely to try to mate with a wild female cat.
A raccoon and a cat can mate but not have children.
What does this mean for the myth that Maine Coons are partially raccoons? While it seems like a sensible theory, there is no evidence to back it up.
The technique of reproductive isolation, a genetic barrier, prevents Maine Coons from having any raccoon ancestry. Although the first Maine Coons were brown with tails like raccoons, a raccoon and a cat did not marry to produce them. Therefore, it is more likely that Norwegian Forest cats are the ancestors of Maine Coon cats.
Some people prefer to think that early Maine Coons were the product of a raccoon and a cat marrying and that today’s Maine Coons are their offspring, even though it has been conclusively demonstrated that it is genetically impossible for a cat and a raccoon to procreate effectively.
Because fertilization of eggs is impossible, neither a male raccoon nor a male cat can conceive a female raccoon.
This barrier exists to preserve the unique characteristics of each of these species. More details on the underlying research are provided later.
According to DNA tests, ring-tailed cats and cacomistles of the genus Bassariscus, from which they separated roughly 10 million years ago, are the closest relatives of raccoons.
Raccoons seem to be way more related to bears for their physical appearance, and due to their higher intelligence, one can compare raccoons to dogs (only for their behavior). But in the final analysis, raccoons belong to their own family and are not related to any of these last animals.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are raccoons related to?
Raccoons are related to other mammals such as the olingos, ringtail cats, Kinkajous, olinguitos, and cacomistles. They are also associated with bears, but bears and raccoons went their ways a long time ago.
Are raccoons related to monkeys?
Raccoons are not related to monkeys, although it seems they might be related to weasels, at least indirectly. After all, monkeys are much more evolved and belong to the order of Primates.
Are raccoons related to bears?
It depends on what is meant by the relationship between raccoons and bears. Although raccoons and bears look alike, they are still not related to each other in some scientists’ opinion, while others have written that the two families (raccoons and bears) are somewhat related.
Are raccoons related to pandas?
A few scientists agree on the relationship between raccoons and Giant and Red Pandas based on a DNA test, although it seems that Pandas are closer to bears than to raccoons. The work is still in progress.
Are raccoons closer related to dogs or cats?
Raccoons are not actually related to cats or dogs, although they can have similarities in how they look or behave. In some aspects, raccoons seem like cats, while in others, they can act like dogs.
Are raccoons friendly to cats?
In some instances, raccoons can be friends with cats, especially if it is possible for them to share food. However, if the Raccoon feels threatened in its survival, it can become aggressive.
Are raccoons attracted to cats?
Raccoons are not attracted to cats. But they can be attracted to the cat food, or in some instances, maybe to play with a cat or just be curious about what a cat is doing. In addition, raccoons are not generally considering cats a prey.
Who would win in a fight, a raccoon or a cat?
Generally, in a fight between a cat and a raccoon, the Raccoon is advantaged and wins over the cat. This is because raccoons are bigger and more agile. However, some feral or big-size cats belonging to certain breeds could win over a raccoon.
It really depends on the circumstances. Indoor cats would have little chance of winning due to their domesticated behavior and untrained survival skills.
What happens if a raccoon bites a cat?
If a raccoon bites your cat, the first thing to do is to get to the vet, treat the cat for rabies, and simultaneously medicate the wounds.
Can a cat survive a raccoon?
Cats can survive a raccoon if they are bright and somehow if they have kept training their hunting and survival instinct. Some cat breeds have more chances of surviving a raccoon.
What means the word Raccoon?
The word Raccoon comes from the Powhatan language, which means “an animal that scratches with his hands.” However, there have been other meanings for the term. For example, in Latin, it means “before dog-washer.
- Maincooncentral.com, https://www.mainecooncentral.com/is-a-maine-coon-part-raccoon/
- Raccoonatticguide, https://www.raccoonatticguide.com/catfriends.html
- Human Society, https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/raccoons-and-pets#:~:text=When%20no%20other%20food%20is,when%20cats%20are%20fed%20outdoors.
- Science line, https://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=358