Modern cattle breeds are mostly specialized to provide milk or meat and are much more productive than those of earlier times.
India is the nation with the largest number of cattle, about 400 million, followed by Brazil and China, with about 150 million each, and the United States, with about 100 million.
Other species of the genus Bos are also often called cattle or wild cattle.
Cattle can live as long as 25 years old.
Cattle keeping is also a big user of water, gasoline, and other energy sources.
Cattle naturally produce methane gas though their digestive process and, because of their large numbers, this is thought to contribute to the process of global warming.
Among the most common modern cattle breeds are the Holstein-Friesian and the Jersey for milk, and the Angus and Hereford for meat (OSU 2006).
Cattle are social animals, naturally living in groups or herds.
The word "cattle" did not originate as a name for this group of bovine animals.
A large part of the grains, legumes, and other crops grown worldwide are used to feed cattle.
Cattle (commonly called cows), are among humankind's most important domesticated animals.
Cattle keeping also can contribute to water pollution, air pollution, and soil degradation (Clay 2004).
Some Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and Scottish farmers use the term cattlebeast or simply "beast."
Cattle today are the basis of a many billion dollar industry worldwide.
Cattle were brought to North America by the Spanish in the 1500s; from them developed the Texas Longhorn'.
Cattle were originally identified by Carolus Linnaeus as three separate species.
Some were domesticated about the sixth millennium B.C.E., becoming ancestral to modern cattle.
The keeping of cattle spread over most of the world over time.
Different breeds of cattle came into being, mainly depending on environmental conditions in different locations.
The most important early use of cattle was as draft animals, mainly to pull plows.
Cattle have appeared in art from prehistoric times.
The Egyptian Longhorn was one of the first distinct breeds to develop and is pictured in the pyramids, and may be among the ancestors of modern African cattle.
Cattle belong to the biological subfamily Bovinae (or bovines).
All of these species, as well as bison, Bison bison and Bison bonasus, can interbreed with domestic cattle.
Cattle have been used in sport as well.
The world cattle population is estimated to be about 1.3 billion head.
Obsolete terms for cattle include neat (horned oxen, from which "neatsfoot oil" is derived), beef (young ox), and beefing (young animal fit for slaughtering).
Cattle hides, used for leather to make shoes and clothing, are another important product.
Cattle have also been important in religious traditions in many cultures.
The first evidence of the domestication of cattle comes from the Middle East about 8,000 years ago.
Pasture land for cattle grazing is now the largest agricultural land use worldwide.
Concerns have been expressed about the impact of cattle on the environment.
The banteng, Bos javanicus, is native to Southeast Asia and the island of Bali, where it has been domesticated and is known as "Bali cattle."
Interbreeding with domestic cattle is not known with certainly in the case of the kouprey (Huffman 2006; Clutton-Brock 1999).
Over time, domestic cattle became smaller than their wild ancestors.
The term cattle itself is not a plural, but a mass noun.
Africa has about 200 million head of cattle, many of which are herded in traditional ways and serve largely as tokens of their owners' wealth.
Europe has about 130 million head of cattle (CT 2006, SC 2006).
Within the beef cattle industry in parts of the United States, the older term beef (plural beeves) is still used to refer to an animal of either gender.
Very closely related to cattle are the other members of the genus Bos.
Feral cattle, domestic cattle which have returned to the wild, are also an environmental problem in many places (ISSG 2005).
To refer to a specific number of these animals without specifying their gender, it must be stated as (for example) ten head of cattle.