Do Cows Bond With Humans? 5 Ways Cows Clearly Show Affection

Cows absolutely bond with humans in similar ways that dogs can bond with humans. Cows will show affection through mooing, following you, laying down next to you and allowing you to cuddle them. 

Ever wondered whether a cow can genuinely connect with a human being? This article will cover a few ways cows actually do.

Cows And Humans Can Be Best Friends

Cows can in fact bond with humans and they seek affection by cuddling. Earlier scientists such as D.H. Lawerence stated that cows form long-lasting relationships with humans for as long as they’re able to do so.

Most humans do not recognize a dairy cow’s friendship as quite as important as their Homosapien friendships, this is due to the role that the dairy cow plays in a human’s life.

Most cows are brought up on dairy farms and a cows’ udder is used as their main objective, which is to produce milk and other dairy products. Greetings are used by cows, and sometimes they’ll run towards their cow friends like a human would run up to their best friends after not seeing each other for some time.

How Cows Show Affection

Dairy cows are affectionate beings which is shown in several ways:

  1. Laying down next to humans
  2. Leaning into you in preparation for a cuddle
  3. Eating out of your hand
  4. Licking you (as awkward as that may be!)
  5. Playing with and mooing at you
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Humans gain a boost of oxytocin when hugging cows. This is the same exact chemical that is released when a human is being cuddled or when experiencing love with another human.

The natural stimuli when connecting with a dairy cow do not compare to any other mammal that you could connect to. Cows are considered social beings and we as humans connect with them on that level due to our natural empathetic nature.

Cows Do Feel Emotions Just Like Us

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly whether cows feel emotions. A 2019 study from the University of Sydney highlights how cows can verbalise their emotions through different various moo’s and their relative pitch. Cows, much like dogs, tend to lower their pitch if they’re not happy or angry at other mammals.

woman patting cows next to white fence

Baby calves tend to moo at their mother cows in order to express their needs, such as food, water or just affection. Baby calves tend to change their pitch to keep up with these demands and the mother cows are usually attuned to it.

The moo’ing method really does create strong bonds between the calf and the mother cow. Individual cows really do have maternal instincts when it comes to birthing and feeding their babies.

Do Farmers Create Real Bonds With Their Cows?

It’s really difficult to say whether farmers do create genuine and bonds with their dairy cows, or whether they’re just kind to them until they’re no longer commercially viable. Some farmers are attached to their cattle with personal names but also remained detached, viewing their cattle as a source of income, food and milk.

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Can this be truly genuine? Naturally, we see dairy cows as a source of profit and food supply. Most armers often do treat their cattle fairly and with respect, despite their final intentions.

Benefits Of Bonding With Cows

Some vegetarians have been promoting the wellness trend of hugging a cow a day keeps the stress at bay. This philosophy may be more true than we all like to think. In the Netherlands, a study highly suggest that hugging a cow for only a few moment can be very therapeutic.

person hugging cow

Dairy cows tend to have slower heart rates and are warm-bodied bovines, which leads to very therapeutic attributes for us humans. The stress levels of a human can decrease from just hugging a cow, leading to a calming and peaceful sensation.

Cows and Feeling Empathy

Cows appear to be deeply affected by spending time with humans, with some holding grudges as they tend to do. They’re social animals and like to maintain their sociability with other species as well as their own.

Adult cows do really experience empathy and a connection with a human, despite expectations that the cow will provide a yield for its owner for years to come.


Born in Malta but raised in Kent, the garden of England, Yasmin learned that the chicken was an important species to our natural survival. She became fascinated and compassionate about all things cow-related which led her to become Vegan for 3+ years. Today in 2022, she lives in Malta with a passion for all things that have naturally grown up on farms.

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