July 6, 2024 at 12:41 pm

Research Shows Cuddling A Cow Is Actually Great Therapy For You Both

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

In a society were cows are more food than friend, spending a few hours cuddled up with our favorite vegetarians could sound like an odd proposition.

After all, there’s a reason they tell you not to name animals that you’ll one day use as food.

Honestly, researchers say cuddling cows is so good for your mental health that you just might decide being a vegetarian doesn’t sound so bad after all.

And once you find out how much the cows benefit, too…it’s just not right, y’all.

Katherine Compitus, one of the research team behind a recent paper, released a statement on their findings.

“Bovine-assisted therapy may not only be an effective treatment model that benefits human participants. It appears to be enriching to the cattle participants as well, as shown by their proximity to and continuous interactions with humans.”

The Human-Animal Interaction Scale is a 24-item self-report instrument designed to assess interaction with a therapy animal, and experts believe it’s actually an accurate metric of how happy the animal is during the interaction.

Source: Shutterstock

The HAIS measures the experience of both parties, and what research has learned about cows – once thought to barely have brains at all, nevermind feelings – might be surprising.

“Cows are not just simple herd animals, but instead show evidence for complex cognitive and social behaviors, as well as rich emotional lives.”

For those reasons, once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot a happy cow (and they don’t just live in California).

“Cattle that are uncomfortable with a human presence show an increase in stress signals such as vocalizations when involved in therapy work, while cattle that enjoy human company will have reduced stress signals.”

This could look like the cow laying down or starting to lick or smell the human in question.

“Cows are known to engage in social grooming and the licking behavior may indicate familiarity or a desire to establish a rapport.”

While observing the therapy cow, this study found that, after about 45 minutes of human contact, the cows were almost all happy to accept food, hugs, and pets, often licking and smelling them in return.

Sadly, if you are a male, you may not be so readily accepted, however, because the cows also all showed a strong preference for cuddling female humans.

“It is unclear without further testing whether the animals sought out the attention of women in general, or if the women were more likely to initiate the actions when compared to the men participants.”

Source: Shutterstock

That said, they feel completely comfortable stating that the cows and humans were better off for the interactions.

“Animal-assisted therapy has been studied with a variety of populations and conditions, from treating substance abuse to autism, often with positive results. However, to date there has been little research addressing the therapeutic benefits of animal-assisted interventions with farm animals. The study is exciting in that it opens up a new area on whether some therapies may be initially stronger based upon gender and not procedure.”

I told you this information just might change your mind about cows.

So cuddle with care…for your heart.

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