Many people are happy to acknowledge the impressive mental capabilities of dolphins and dogs, yet farm animals have a bad rep when it comes to intelligence rankings, and unjustly so. Cows are inquisitive, thoughtful, and extremely emotional animals who display a whole range of incredible behaviors when given the chance to fully express themselves.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of cows never get the opportunity to let their true personalities shine as they spend their entire lives trapped inside the farming industry, treated as nothing more than milking machines. Having had the honor of spending time with our beautiful rescued calf Luna, as well as seeing many other cows living free from exploitation, I’ve been able to experience just how amazing these animals really are. In honor of celebrating all their awesomeness, here at 10 little known things that most people would never believe cows do:
1. They Come to Their Name
People are always surprised to learn that farm animals are able to recognize their name and come when called, just like a dog or cat. Luna from Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary proves this, showing you that she knows exactly when someone is giving her a holler.
2. They Love to Give Kisses
While cows can be rather particular about who they do and don’t like. Once you’ve been socially accepted into the circle, don’t be surprised if your welcome gift is a lick on the face.
3. They Have Interspecies Friends
Don’t let their size make you think otherwise, cows are gentle giants that have a tender side rarely seen. Samuel from Gaia Sanctuary is a big softie, and isn’t afraid to show it!
4. They Love Cuddles
Cows are beautiful, loving, and feeling individuals that enjoy cuddles just as much as you and me. They love to lay in the sunshine and will happily have strokes and rubs all day long if you have the time.
5. They Remember Faces for Long Periods of Time
Cows have incredible memories and can easily remember an recognize individual faces. Lots of sanctuaries have reported cows running over to greet visitors that they have not seen in over six months or longer.
6. They Jump For Joy
When cows are happy, they sprint around and jump into the air with excitement. Luna does it only a daily basis and who can blame her – she’s free to do whatever she wants!
7. They Grieve for Their Loved Ones
Cows are extremely sensitive creatures, and show very obvious signs of grief when a loved one is taken away from them or they lose a member of their herd. Mother cows will cry for many hours after being separated from her baby, and will be in visible distress for a long time afterwards.
8. They’ll Demand Goodnight Kisses
Every night Samuel the cow goes to the window and demands a goodnight kiss. He knows where the love is and knows exactly how to tug on the heart strings of his caretakers to make sure he gets what he wants.
9. They Drink Milk!
It may sound obvious, but a lot of people still don’t realize that cow’s milk is meant for calves! Rescue calves like Luna are separated from their mother at birth so that the milk that was supposed to be for them can be used for human consumption. As a result, calves have no choice but to drink a milk replacement formula that can lead to all sorts of dangerous health problems, especially during those first few precious weeks of life.
10. Mother Cows Nurse Their Babies for up to 3 Years
On dairy farms, cows don’t get the chance to nurse their young. If they are lucky they may get to spend one of two days with their baby before never seeing them again. In sanctuary settings, mothers have been known to nurse their calves for as long as three years.