These states colored in blue have more cattle than humans. South Dakota has the most cattle per person in the United States followed by Nebraska and Montana.
- Cattle are highly emotional and are motivated by clear rewards. They have well-developed cognitive abilities and demonstrate excitement when solving a particularly difficult problem. Cattle get depressed when isolated from others, stuck indoors for extended periods of time, or otherwise denied stimulating activity.
- Cattle have advanced communication systems. Researchers in Britain found that cows communicate with one another in a highly individualized manner, with a complex “language” consisting of several distinct calls and even unique “names” for one another.
- Herds of cattle are complex societies with clearly established hierarchies. Cattle can differentiate between around 100 other individuals in a herd. Animals that display aggressive or bullying traits are ostracized, whereas leaders tend to be selected for their intelligence and capability (arguably, the similarities between humans and cattle end here).
- Within a larger group, cattle have complex social interactions and are capable of forming close relationships with others. Like humans, they tend to spend most of their time with a small, select group of “friends,” and have been known to hold grudges against other animals.
- Cattle families stick together. Contrary to popular belief, cattle do not sleep standing up. Rather, they will naturally stay close to their relatives when bedding down, with sleeping arrangements determined by hierarchy within the family unit.
- Cows have strong maternal instincts. Emotional bonds between a mother and calf form quickly. Research has shown that calves are strongly impacted by early separation from their mothers, becoming more prone to crying, experiencing weaning difficulties and generally being more anxious. This bond goes both ways, too. There’s evidence to suggest that cows will travel miles to find their calves when lost.
- Cattle feel the loss of a close friend or family member strongly. Cows in mourning have been known to shed tears for their missing loved ones.
- Similar to humans, cattle experience negative judgment bias. When a cow or steer is depressed or anxious, they are more likely to interpret ambiguous signs and situations as negative or threatening. This condition is frequently brought on by prolonged exposure to stressful, unpredictable environments. (source)