If you’ve ever been lucky enough to spend time with a cow, you already know they are gentle animals who are affectionate, emotional, and intelligent. These big puppies have extremely good memories and it has been found that they not only recognize faces, but they will remember faces even after a long period of time. Cows also remember where to find the best grazing spots and directions to their favorite watering hole.

And now there is yet more evidence that shows just how emotionally complex cows truly are. A new paper recently published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Animal Behavior and Cognition, written by neuroscientist Dr. Lori Marino and doctoral student Kristin Allen dives into the details of these interesting animals. This is the fourth paper produced with grant money from Farm Sanctuary’s The Someone Project, an endeavor aimed at using scientific evidence to raise the public’s understanding of farm animal cognition and behavior. The researchers conclude that cows possess high emotional sensitivity, even having the ability to “catch” each other’s feelings (when one individual experiences an emotion by witnessing that emotion in another). Pretty amazing, right?

Well, that’s not all the researchers found. They also concluded that cows are deeply affected by their own emotions, even showing “pessimism” and “optimism,” they can also have “Eureka” moments and are affected by painful moments. In another touching conclusion by the researchers, they noted that when a mother cow sees a vehicle she is not familiar with, she will put her body between the vehicle and her calf.

Diane, a cow that lives at Farm Sanctuary, is clearly one of the “optimistic” cows and loves to do her happy dance!


“We wanted to dig into the objective scientific literature [on cattle] and say, ‘What do we know, who are they?’ and then put that back out to the public domain,” Dr. Lori Marino told Newsweek.

Cows are just like our cats and dogs. They crave affection and enjoy building bonds and relationships with others – no matter the species. Sadly, because cows and other farm animals are typically considered “food,” they are treated like commodities rather than individuals. Most never get to experience the incredible bonds of family or friendship. Instead, they are subjected to a life filled with fear, stress, and sadness – but we can change that.

Please share this post with your friends and family so that they too can see how affectionate and intelligent animals are. You can also learn more about these amazing animals by visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries where cows get to live in peace. You may even get a cow kiss!

Image Source: Jeni Simpson/Flickr