Dear Santa, I have been really good this year. Could you please bring me a miniature cow? I promise I will take good care of it. Please, please, please!
Although it may sound ridiculous, miniature cows have become a popular Christmas gift in recent years.
“I just picked one up this morning,” Allie Sine, a breeder from Wright City, Mo., said Thursday.
The animal, a micro brown heifer, cost $10,000 and was headed elsewhere in Missouri to be a surprise Christmas gift for a 3-year-old girl. It was one of more than 15 miniature cows Ms Sine, 27, said she sold over the festive period.
“At Christmas it really starts,” she said. “Usually the wife wanted one and the husband consented.”
The popularity of mini cows can be attributed, at least in part, to TikTok, where videos of these creatures have been viewed millions of times. Mrs. Sine, who passes by @minimooos on the platform, has 742,000 subscribers.
Once you’ve seen one of his videos, it’s easy to see why animals have become highly sought after. Miniature cows are cute and fluffy. It looks like someone pointed a shrink ray at a regular cow and fired.
“They look like golden retriever dogs,” Ms Sine said. “You can just go out and love everywhere.”
Alyssa Rorah, a 30-year-old rancher in Maquoketa, Iowa, seconded that claim.
“They will run around and play with you,” said Ms Rorah, who also has a TikTok account dedicated to little cows. “I get videos all the time of families whose kids are running around in the yard and their cows are playing with the kids.”
The smallest cows, classified as microminiatures, measure less than 36 inches at full maturity, while a miniature can be up to 42 inches. About a third the size of a standard cow, they are nevertheless very heavy. A miniature cow can weigh between 500 and 650 pounds, Ms. Sine said, and live up to 20 years.
Despite their friendliness and dog-like mannerisms, they are not meant to be kept indoors.
“I’ve seen people who are very popular on TikTok who keep them at home and other things that aren’t realistic,” Ms Rorah said. She suggested that some people might describe them as pets only on their social media accounts. “In reality,” she continues, “it’s not what it’s like every day, having your cow at home. I think it’s misleading.
Ms. Sine noted a morning routine video posted by a cow-fluencer which showed a woman waking up and kissing the little cow in the small pen next to her bed.
“I couldn’t imagine the smell,” Ms Sine said.
(In fairness, the cow’s owner explains in the video’s caption that she was filming the baby cow’s last day inside, before he headed to his forever home in the barn.)
Ms Sine said she was very particular about who would buy one of her cows, which ranged in price from $8,000 to $20,000. She gently weeds people out by asking them how many acres of land they own and if they already have other animals.
“A lot of people contact us and say, ‘Well, we only have one dog.’” Ms Sine said. “To those, we will simply say ‘No.’ »
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends giving pets only to people who have demonstrated an interest in caring for them and urges potential buyers of miniature cows to think ahead. “There are fewer facilities that can accommodate them, if they are not suitable for the recipient’s lifestyle,” said an ASPCA spokesperson.
Yet, on TikTok at least, the popularity of little cows continues to grow.
In a recent video, comedian Ashley Gutermuth warned people against being fooled by social media’s rosy portrayal of what it means for an average suburbanite to share a house with a little cow: “You can’t have a mic -cow,” said the actor. “You can’t have an indoor cow. You live in a dead end!