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Home > Cats > Can Cats and Raccoons Mate? Vet-Verified Explanation

Can Cats and Raccoons Mate? Vet-Verified Explanation

raccoon and cat on the roof

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When it comes to romance between humans, it’s often said that opposites attract. In the animal kingdom, we find some examples of “opposites” or different species mating, such as horses and donkeys. While it is thought that cats and raccoons can mate based on anecdotal evidence, there’s not a lot of scientific confirmation of it happening.

In this article, we’ll discuss why cats and raccoons mating is possible in theory and whether they could reproduce together. We’ll also address a longstanding myth regarding raccoons and the origins of a popular cat breed. Finally, we’ll tell you why cats and raccoons interacting is more likely to result in danger than romance.


Could Cats and Raccoons Mate?

Cats and raccoons are both part of the order Carnivora but are from different family, genus, and species classifications. The animals are usually close in size, but raccoons run bigger than cats on average. Generally, cats are domesticated animals, and raccoons live in the wild.

Feral cats and raccoons have repeatedly been observed eating from the same food bowls. Female cats have also been known to accept and nurse orphan raccoon babies. It’s possible that raccoons raised by cats would be comfortable enough to try to mate with them when grown.

Reportedly, tame and wild male raccoons will attempt to mate with cats. However, scientific observations and reports to support this happening are not yet available.

raccoon featured
Image Credit: edbo23, Pixabay

Could Cats and Racoons Reproduce?

The offspring of two different species reproducing are known as hybrids; examples include mules (a donkey-horse hybrid) and ligers (lion-tiger hybrid). Hybrid animals are often infertile. Commonly the parent animals are from the same genus but not always. Goats and sheep can reproduce although they are not from the same genus.

A research study published in 1993 found that cats and raccoons have the same number of chromosomes.1 It also found similarities in the karyotypes or characteristics of these chromosomes.

Historically, numerous newspapers, journals, and letters reference animals thought to be cat-raccoon hybrids. Some claimed that the animals resulted from breeding of cats and raccoons.2 However, all these parentage assumptions are based on the supposed physical resemblance of the cats in question to a raccoon.

To confirm that cats and raccoons can reproduce would require genetic studies of the supposed hybrids, which have not been done yet. So, while cats and raccoons can probably mate, it’s not officially known whether they can reproduce.

But What About Maine Coon Cats?

Maine Coon tortoiseshell cat sitting on cat house
Image Credit:, Shutterstock

As one of the world’s most popular breeds, Maine Coon cats originated in the United States in the 19th century. The early history of this breed is somewhat cloudy, which has allowed several origin myths to arise. One is that the Maine Coon is the result of raccoons and cats mating.

Some stories suggest that Maine Coons also could be the result of bobcats and domestic cats mating. Both most likely stem from similar physical characteristics observed in raccoons or bobcats and Maine Coons. For example, Maine Coons have ear tufts like bobcats and fluffy, ringed tails like a raccoon.

Without genetic research to know for sure, we can’t say that Maine Coons descended from raccoon-cat hybrids. However, the more plausible story is that Maine Coons developed from long-haired cats that sailed to America onboard ships and then mated with local kitties.

Early breeders probably encouraged the fluffy coats, ear tufts, and fuzzy feet to protect the new cats from the cold winters of Maine, and they became standard for the Maine Coon.

Cats and Raccoons: Tragedy or Romance?

While we don’t know with certainty that cats and raccoons can mate, we can confirm that the two species frequently have negative or dangerous impacts on each other. Raccoons carry a variety of diseases and parasites that can infect cats, such as rabies and worms.

They have also been known to hunt small cats if other food is scarce. Feral cats can take a toll on local wildlife by hunting, possibly including young raccoons. In general, it’s not a good idea for cats and raccoons to interact due to the potential danger to both species.

Raccoons can also be destructive, and some diseases they carry also infect humans. It’s best not to encourage raccoons to keep coming around your house even if your cat enjoys looking at them.

Raccoon featured,dodo71, Pixabay
Image Credit: dodo71, Pixabay



Although we don’t have conclusive proof that cats and raccoons can mate, anecdotal evidence suggests it is possible. We also don’t know that the two species can’t reproduce, but they probably didn’t make the Maine Coon cat even if they could. Because raccoons can pose a danger to your cat and home, your pet should avoid close encounters of the romantic kind or otherwise.

Featured Image Credit: Joanne, Flickr

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