Cow-cuddling study has the best title ever

A new study published in the journal Human-Animal Interactions has the fabulous title "Cow Cuddling: Cognitive Considerations in Bovine-Assisted Therapy." The first sentence of the introduction is even better.

"Koeknufflen" is the Dutch term that translates directly to mean "cow cuddling" or "cow hugging". In the Netherlands, there is a tradition of traveling from the cities to the countryside to spend time with farm animals in order to decompress and emotionally recalibrate.  

Cats and dogs are used regularly in animal-assisted therapy. In this case, the purpose was to determine whether farm animals, specifically cows, could also be part of an integrated therapy model. Of particular note is that the study "considered both the human and non-human animal behaviors and analyzed these behaviors in terms of the cognitive and welfare benefits to the cattle participants as well as the human experience.

The study's results were positive, with human and bovine subjects appearing to benefit from the interactions, although there were notable gender differences. 

The results of this study show that the steers showed a strong preference for interactions with women when compared to men and, in turn, the women reported stronger attachment behaviors toward the steers. 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.

There you have it, friends. Cow cuddling – good. My personal, highly unscientific recommendation is to cuddle Highland Cows. I mean, just look at them. [via]

Previously: Watch cows relax on spa day