In Overt's sentence, it does not make sense to say "cattle were the first animals in human history to be domesticated."
One has to say "cows were the first animals. . . ."
As the OED explains, cattle means "live stock," and adds that it is "a collective term for live animals held as property, or reared to serve as food, or for the sake of their milk, skin, wool, etc.
"The application of the term has varied greatly, according to the circumstances of time and place, and has included camels, horses, asses, mules, oxen, cows, calves, sheep, lambs, goats, swine, etc. The tendency in recent times has been to restrict the term to the bovine genus, but the wider meaning is still found locally, and in many combinations."
And, as the Merriam-Webster dictionary explains, cow is used to refer not only to female bovine animals but also to all bovines, regardless of sex: "a domestic bovine animal regardless of sex or age."