Friday, May 24

Merry Christmas. I got you a little cow.

Dear Santa, I have been very good this year. Could you bring me a miniature cow, please? I promise I will take great care of it. Please, please, please!

While it may seem ridiculous, miniature cows have become a popular Christmas gift in recent years.

“I just picked one up this morning,” Allie Sine, a rancher from Wright City, Missouri, said Thursday.

The animal, a brown micro 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 that Ms. Sine, 27, said she sold during the holiday season.

“At Christmas things really get better,” he said. “Usually, the wife wants one and the husband comes to meet us.”

The popularity of mini cows can be attributed, at least in part, to TikTok, where videos of the creatures have gained millions of views. Ms Sine, who goes by @minimooos on the platform, has 742,000 followers.

After watching one of his videos, it’s easy to see why the animals have become highly sought after. Miniature cows are cute and fluffy. It looks like someone aimed a shrink ray at a normal cow and shot it.

“They’re like Golden Retriever dogs,” Ms. Sine said. “You can just go out and love them all over.”

Alyssa Rorah, a 30-year-old rancher from Maquoketa, Iowa, confirmed this.

“They will run around and play with you,” said Ms. Rorah, who also has a popular TikTok account dedicated to little cows. “I get videos all the time from families where their 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 reach 42 inches tall. About a third the size of a standard cow, they are still very sturdy. A miniature cow can weigh 500 to 650 pounds, Ms. Sine said, and live up to 20 years.

Despite their sweetness and dog-like mannerisms, they are not meant to be kept indoors.

“I’ve seen some very popular people on TikTok who have them in their house and do other things that are unrealistic,” Ms. Rorah said. She suggested that some people might describe them as pets only on their social media accounts. “Actually,” she continued, “it’s not what it seems like every day, having your own cow in the house. I think it’s misleading.”

Ms. Sine noticed a morning routine video posted by a cow influencer that showed a woman waking up and giving a kiss to 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 cow’s last day in the house, before it heads to its permanent home in the barn.)

Ms. Sine said she is very careful about who gets to buy one of her cows, which range in price from $8,000 to $20,000. She gently weeds people out by asking them how many acres of land they have and whether they already have other livestock.

“We have a lot of people who 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 would-be buyers of miniature cows to think ahead. “There are fewer facilities that can accommodate them, in case they are not suited to the recipient’s lifestyle,” an ASPCA spokesperson said.

However, at least on TikTok, cows’ popularity 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 the average suburbanite to share a home with a tiny cow: “You can’t have a micro cow “, says the comedian. . “You He can not have an indoor cow. You live in a dead end!”