As in the linked thread, beast. Dad would, say, ring the butcher to book in our freezer beast (a juicy 18 month heifer) for slaughter and packaging.
On reflection though, perhaps beast was only used for cattle ready for slaughter. I’ll need to confirm that.
As cattle are a herd animal, we very rarely had one “cattle” on it’s own. It would go crazy , running around, or jumping fences. So there would be a minimum of 3 together. Which was a bit tough for the other 2 watching the tasty heifer get one in the head. But man, tasty meat wins out.
Dairy cows were a bit better, but they didn’t like being away from their mates either.
That’s all a bit off track, but what I’m trying to say is that we rarely had one cow/steer/bull/calf on it’s own, so rarely needed a “singular” description. The times we did, we refered to it’s proper name. I’d say to Dad that a steer is sick, or he’d say the cow has calved. That sort of thing.