Do Cows Cry? (Watery Eyes, Fear And Other Signs)

Do Cows Cry

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Can cows cry? This question is often asked as we, humans, do not believe that animals are capable of feeling any emotions. It is not true, they can feel a lot more emotions than we give them credit for. However, everyone would agree that cows and other animals do feel pain, do they cry about it? That’s the ultimate question.

We all have witnessed cows standing in the middle of a lush field, chewing grass, and staring vacantly. Most of us are convinced that there is not much happening behind those big, beautiful eyes. Most of the time, it is true but cows are capable of feeling emotions when they sense something wrong.

The cow is an intelligent creature and considered most respectable in India. They are sensitive animals and emotionally sophisticated. They may not feel pain or understand emotions as much as humans do but to say they do not feel pain at all would be wrong.

Do Cows Cry?

Yes, Cows cry, They also have emotions and feelings. Fear, grief, hunger loneliness can be some reasons. Tears are not the only sign that cows are feeling sad or in trouble. Here are different opinions on the tears of cows.

It is a topic of heated controversy online whether cows cry or not. Some state that cows do not bother at all with emotional distress and only feel pain in its pure sense or from external irritation.

Considering majority opinion, cows do cry either audibly or by shedding tears. Some farmers think cows’ tears are just as meaningful as crocodile’s but most farmers agree that they would bawl or cry for days or weeks when separated from their calves. 

Those living in the close proximity of a cattle farm can hear the midnight bellows and listen to them call out forlornly through the dark hours. It is not possible to fully understand cow’s emotions and it would be unfair to compare them to human beings. 

Cows are subjected to evolutionary principles and feel more emotions than most animals. In fact, cows feel a wide range of emotions, so, next time you see them staring into the distance, know that there is a reason behind it.

Why Do Cows Cry?

There are many factors that play an important role in making a cow cry. Just like humans, it can be a lot of reasons that made them cry. Just because animals do not speak, farmers have a hard time understanding why.

These gentle giants do cry, just because they are big in size does not mean that they are immune to feeling emotions. Understanding an animal’s emotions can be a complicated process but not impossible, following possible reasons can cause distress and make cows cry.


Do not take their huge size into account, the bovine is gentle at heart. By no means they are fierce or picking up fights every now and then.

Cows are herbivorous prey animals in the wild which means they have high self-preservation skills. They travel in large herds for protection, searching the landscape for grass and other vegetation.

Cows cry out of fear when they sense a suspicious activity in the surrounding area. Cows wail when they are scared to alert other herd members of the danger lurking in the shadows.

Fear is an important emotion for prey animals they call out for help with their fearful cries. They alert the herd of the possible danger with their cries.


How would a mother feel when her kid is separated from her? She would feel distressed and grief-stricken. The same goes for cows as well they cry out loud for weeks when calves are separated from them. 

When male calves are born to a dairy cow they are often sent to a facility to be raised as veal hours after the birth. When the calf is taken away, it is common for mother cows to cry and sob for days on end. Male calves are often sent away by the farmers at a very young age because they are unable to produce milk.

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Research studies show that cows long for their calves and make frequent high-pitched cries. When calves are nearby, they feel their presence and let out deeper, calmer moos.


Yes, cows do feel stress, it is either because of the pain or when they find themselves in an unfamiliar situation or environment. Cows feel distressed when they are shifted to a new place. 

Cows are known to get distressed when being milked. Farmers use different techniques to keep them calm and reassure everything is fine and they are safe. 

Farmers try to calm them and make them happy with plenty of feed, loads of space, fresh water, and even air conditioning. This makes the naive creature somewhat comfortable during milking. Cows cry out to call the herd to ensure that the fellow herd members are around.


It may seem untrue for a cow or an animal to feel lonely but herd animals do feel lonely from time to time. Cows, being pack animals, form deep, social bonds with the other animals.

Like humans, cows too have best friends, they also mourn the loss of a loved one or lost family. They have different moos depending on their mood. They form a strong emotional connection with cows and sometimes humans as well.

When separated from their herd, they feel lonely and scared and let out high-pitched cries to find their herd again.


Hunger, an evolutionary trait shared by most social animals including human beings. Being hungry makes cows cry when they can not find anything to eat. 

Cows wail audibly when hungry and the interesting thing is herd members reply to the cow’s wailing to comfort it. They respond the same way as the human try to comfort the person crying. 


Farmers are well aware that cows should be milked at regular intervals during the day. If they are not milked timely, it may lead to unpleasant situations like potentially painful conditions like mastitis developing in their udders.

Cows feel distressed, irritated, uncomfortable, and eventually cry when they are not milked on time.


How Do Cows Cry?

Most people ask how do cows cry? Do cows cry with tears? Crows let out cries using different ways depending on how strong they are feeling about something. They cry, wail, bawl, let our frequent high-pitched moos, and by shedding tears.

Seems quite similar to humans, right? Many studies state that cows have specific moos for different situations. The most famous one is the distinctive “crying” moo which has a higher pitch reserved for situations where they are distressed or upset.

When Do Cows Cry?

It would have been weird if cows cried at a specific time. It is just that they cry when feeling distressed. However, farmers and people living in the neighborhood can vouch for the fact that cows usually cry more at night.

It is a way to communicate with the herd as they can not see each other in the dark hours. Cows reassure the herd is around by letting out a cry or a moo. 

Cows do not just cry to ensure the herd’s presence but also to let them know if there is a predator nearby. 

Do Cows Cry Before Slaughter?

The slaughter process can be extremely stressful and scary for the cows it is possible for them to cry out of fear or stress. Slaughterhouses try to calm the cow before slaughtering as excessive stress hormones taint the beef and affect the flavor.

What Kind of Emotions Do Cows Feel?

Cows are known for feeling a wide range of emotions, they feel separation anxiety, joy, and loneliness. They mourn the loss of their lost family and have special calls just for them. Cow’s current or emotional state of mind can be revealed through the physical signals.

Concluding Thoughts

Cow do cry because of the number of reasons discussed above. However, their understanding of emotions can not be compared with humans as both process different situations differently. Cows do feel sad and cry either because of loneliness, separation anxiety, or simple worry. 

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