How Do Cows Show Affection to Humans?

How Do Cows Show Affection to Humans

Anyone who’s owned cows will tell you that there’s a special emotional bond they can share with humans. Why? Because like humans, cows can also show emotion and feelings of affection. This guide will explain how cows show love and happiness with us.   

How do cows show affection to humans? Cows show affection to humans by licking, cuddling, playing, mooing, following people, and allowing humans into their space. Cows grow to trust humans, and who signs of love and emotion.

Behind that big body of a cow is a very affectionate creature. You might miss noticing these signs of affection if you aren’t familiar with the cows’ love language. The good news is, I am going to explain a bit more about how cows show emotion, affection, and love. 

6 ways in which cows show affection

The different ways cows show affection to humans and the signs of love and trust to look out for are all listed in more detail below. I’ll admit, cows have a not-so-cute way of showing love. It’s understandable, though — I mean, they’re animals after all. 

I like to imagine that cows think of humans as their ‘safe haven’. They see us feeding them all the time and looking out for them in every way possible. It’s these caring acts that make cows grow to trust you. 

1. Following you around when they spot you

Does your cow leave its pasture mates or abandon what it’s doing to follow you around? Maybe it’s seen you strolling across the fields. Or perhaps it follows you around when you’re on your cow poo cleaning mission. 

How do you get a cow to trust you
If a cow follows you, it stands to reason that the cow trusts you.

Cows don’t do this to annoy you. It means they like you, are excited to see you, and want to spend time with you. If it’s eating grass in the field and stops to follow you around, you can bet that your cow loves you more than it loves its food. 

Cows will obviously follow you around if they’re used to you bringing them food at a particular time. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like you, though. In fact, this also shows that your cows are smart because they’ve mastered your routine. 

When cows follow you around as you bring them food, it’s because they view you as their leader— a leader who they trust will always satisfy their cravings. 

The bottom line is this; if a cow follows you about, the cow trusts you and could be very close to showering you with affection. After that feed occurs of course.

Handy Hint: If you own cows and they stare at you, it probably means they want feeding or some attention!

2. Mooing and jumping when they see you 

You’ll know if a cow likes you when it greets you with a chorus of mooing as you approach its presence. As if to say, “I’m happy you’ve come”. 

How cows show love to humans is by mooing and acting all excited. If a cow moos when it sees you, this is a cow’s “happy noise”. This vocal gesture is a cow’s way of saying hi to their favorite person. Pay attention to how a cow reacts when you enter its presence. 

If it moos and jumps while running towards you, as shown in this video, know that you’ve already won its heart.  

3. Licking your face when close to you

Another way that cows show affection and love is by licking. If a cow trusts and loves you, it won’t hesitate to lick your face when it’s near you. It may be uncomfortable considering how rough a cow’s tongue is. But, it’s nothing to worry about. 

A cow licking you is its way of showing how much it treasures you. Watch how this cow licks the face of its caregiver in this video. It’s obvious that this cow is comfortable being around him. 

An affectionate cow will also try to rub its nose on your face and gently touch you with its mouth. 

4. Being in a playful mood when around you

A cow that’s fond of you will be playful around you. Look at how these cows play soccer with their owner in this video. You can tell that the cows are so used to their owner and aren’t afraid to bond through play. 

A cow will not just play with anybody — it has to be with someone they’re familiar with and trust. If a cow plays with you, it’s a sign that you’ve already earned its affection. 

5. Allowing you to keep them company

Like humans, cows love some “me-time”. It’s not unusual to see a cow lying on the grass alone, probably caching some fresh air. You might think that the cow wouldn’t appreciate it if you interrupted its quiet time in nature. 

Do cows show affection to humans
Cows do show affection to humans, providing the trust is there.

Well, here’s some good news. A cow with affection for you won’t mind if you sit close and even touch it. The cow will be in a relaxed state when around you and trusts you completely.

6. Cuddling when lying next to you

Cows enjoy cuddling with people they know and are fond of. Cuddling is one of a cow’s favorite ways of saying “I love you” to their human companion. A cow will rest its head on their owner’s chest because they feel safe when around their owner. 

And one last thing about love and trust… 

One thing is cows don’t rush to show affection to humans. A cow must trust you first. Cows know the people in their lives, and they show appreciation in their own way. 

They have excellent memories and adaptability, which makes them very trainable. If you handle them with patience, understanding and consistency, they learn to trust you. They know what to expect from you and what is expected of them. They are creatures of habit, and if you help them build acceptable patterns of behavior, they can be very easy to handle.

Small Farmer’s Journal, Cattle Handling Guide

How cows show affection to other cows

Cows show love to one other, too. They have a funny way of showing affection to each other.

Do you know that cows have a favorite in the herd? A cow will prefer to hang out with a particular cow over others.

Here’s how you can tell whether two cows share a strong bond.

Handy Hint: We know cows are big-hearted creatures, but there’s actually lot of misinformation about them having more than one heart; here’s the truth.

Engaging in mutual grooming 

When spending time together, cows that have affection for one another will groom each other. You’ll notice this when they’re lying down or standing facing each other. 

They’ll lick each other’s face, neck, head, and any part that may be hard for their cow “friend” to reach.   

Cow hugs

A cow that has a soft spot for another cow will give hugs. And how will it do this? By locking its head on the other cow’s neck.

Sharing their breath

Cows that share a bond have a habit of rubbing their faces against each other. They’ll share breath through their nostrils. 

Reciprocating a cow’s affection

Cows love it when you show them love right back. But, it’s always safe to let the cow make the first move. If it’s not in the mood for your advances, a cow might react aggressively.

Allow a cow to give you the green light before being too touchy or coming into their space. By doing so, the exchange of affection will feel natural; not forced. 

Here’s what you can do to return the affection:

  • Cuddle them back
  • Give them a belly rub
  • Scratch or rub their favorite spots like on the back and behind the ears
  • Talk to them in soft tones when petting them (but don’t keep as pets please!)
  • Give them gentle hugs

How can you tell if a cow is happy?

You can tell a cow is happy by monitoring its body language. When in a happy state, a cow will look relaxed and comfortable, interact with other cows as usual, and jump while running because of excitement. 

You’ll also notice a change in their ears’ position. When happy, a cow’s left ear leans forward while the right ear leans backward. 

How do you get a cow to trust you?

The secret in getting a cow to trust you is by your constant presence. When a cow sees you often, it’ll develop trust towards you. Take it to the field. Let it watch you bring it food and water. Be the one to milk it. When you do this repeatedly, you’ll win a cow’s trust.


Now you know more about how cows show affection to us humans, and details of how they show emotion and love to each other. Cows are very emotional animals. 

You might also like…

Image of affectionate cows in the header via

Categorized as Cows