Let’s be clear from the outset: petting a Canada lynx is something you should never do. Not at home, and certainly not in the wild. But Max Lynx, the happy kitty in this video, might be the one exception to that rule.
Born in a zoo and brought to a wildlife centre run by Bernadette Hoffman in upstate New York, Max helps his handler bring wildlife education to libraries, schools, and other youth organizations, so he’s fairly accustomed to people—and to the occasional chin scratch, as you can see above.
Purring aside, the close encounter showcases some of the traits that make the Canada lynx such a majestic creature. For one, those massive paws act as snowshoes, letting them hunt in deep snow in northern regions, where their preferred prey is the snowshoe hare. Those big eyes and tufted ears also help them hunt at night. And though Max might look fairly large in this clip, the average lynx weighs only 20 pounds. Max’s gorgeous four-inch winter coat makes him look extra puffy.