Cows are emotional, social animals who make and keep best friends, love physical affection, show an appreciation for music, and are deeply curious about other creatures and the world around them. They’re also ADORABLE.

If you need proof that cows are some of the gentlest and most lovable creatures on planet earth, check out these incredible facts that prove cows are friends, not food:

Cows make close friends and keep them for life, showing signs of stress when they’re separated from their bestie. Seriously, try to not cry over this story about two blind cows who found friendship later in life when they met at Farm Sanctuary.

They can live for up to 20 years. When cows are not exploited by the meat and dairy industry, their natural lifespan can be up to 20 years. That is over 4 times the life expectancy of cows used for food. Obviously, cows were intended to share this Earth with us for a much longer time.

Cows are incredibly intelligent. They are capable of learning associations and using past experiences to determine their future actions. When faced with a challenge, cows get very excited with elevated heart rates and brainwaves.

Cows are full of love. They love attention from kind people and truly appreciate a gentle belly rub or a scratch behind the ear. Even cows who have been mistreated or abused in the past can heal over time, forgive and learn to trust people again.

Their memories last a lifetime. They can remember and recognize faces even after long periods of time. So if you ever meet a cow, be nice to her because she will remember you. Cows also have good spatial memory. They can remember where things are located such as food, water, shelter, best grazing spots and most importantly, the location of their babies.

Their vocabulary is bigger than ‘moo.’ Although cows do communicate with various ‘moos,’ they also use a complex system of body positions and facial expressions.

A sacred bond exists between mother and calf. Mothers are attentive, protective and loving. A mother cow may nurse her calf for as long as three years and even after weaned, they remain close to each other for life. There is also a sense of maternal community as other cows in the herd will help nurture calves if necessary.

If all of these amazing facts have you wanting to meet a cow for yourself, you’re not alone. I remember my first time meeting a cow and feeling the positive energy radiating from the curious and gentle animal. It’s truly a magical experience!

Thankfully, you too can experience meeting a cow. Visit one of the many animal sanctuaries where cows get to live in peace and safety and show them how much you love them.