Book VI, Chapter X
About the different practice of crowing and courting of roosters and capons in these parts, and of cats and their intercourse as well, which is not the same as in Europe, etc.
Translated by Kendal Simmons ’23
The roosters in Spain and in many other parts of the Christian world (and, I believe, in all of Europe and the majority of the known world) crow at midnight and as the sun is about to rise, and some, the best of them, crow three times throughout the night, as follows: the first crow comes two or three hours after nightfall, the second crow comes punctually at midnight, and the third and final crow comes a quarter of an hour before dawn or whenever the sun is about to rise. This is a very common occurrence for those who wish to research it further. In these parts, however, the roosters crow differently. Some of them crow during the prime evening hours, or rather two hours after dusk and again one hour before the break of dawn. But none of them ever crow at midnight. Other roosters crow during the first watch and do not crow again for the rest of the night, until another day passes, and they return to crow at that very same hour. So, as I have mentioned, some roosters crow during the first and last part of the night or one of the two, but never at midnight. The rest, for the most part, crow an hour and a half or two before the sun appears on the horizon, though some seemingly crow closer to daybreak and only cease once the sun rises more than a lance above the horizon. The capons here crow at the same times and most crow as if they had not been castrated, even though their crow is neither as robust nor as clear as the crow of a rooster. Moreover, like the roosters, they continue to court the hens, despite lacking the seeds to do so. And, without even having seen a rooster, the hens lay eggs in company of the capons. As a frequent occurrence of this land, I wanted to experiment with it within the confines of the fortress. Furthermore, the chicks that are separated from the roosters and raised with the capons have done the same thing in the same way that I described earlier. The women of my house and of others, as well as those whom I have asked, tell me that those eggs cannot be fertilized by a hen nor can chicks be hatched with them.
As for the cats, I say that in Spain, France, Italy, Sicily, and all of what I have seen of Europe and Africa, when they are in heat and their natural instincts call them to intercourse, it is usually during the month of February or the fifteen days before or after. During all other parts of the year, they are not lustful, nor do they have intercourse, not even in thought; very rarely would such a thing be seen. In these Indies, the cats have another custom, which is to have intercourse during all months and times of the year. They do so with less noise and fewer cries than in Europe, for the most part silently and without angering the neighbor’s ears. In my experience, while studying or reading recreationally at night in Spain, I abhorred the cats, and their love quarrels would anger me greatly. However, as I have mentioned, the cats here normally have intercourse during every month of the year, without any cries or noises. As a result, they have significantly multiplied in quantity and have headed to the countryside, setting off for the thickets and groves. They have become feral, hunting mice and lizards to eat their fill, soon forgetting their homes, never to return. The dogs, of which there are many on this island, have done the same thing, greatly damaging the livestock. But experience has provided a remedy to this, which is that once the cat or dog is about three or four months old, their ears are cut. They then rest inside the house because if they leave for the field, dew droplets, water, and rain can enter their ears and cause them a lot of discomfort. So, they take refuge indoors and do not go to the countryside.
Image: Retrieved from A Hand-book to the Game-Birds, Volume 2 by William Robert Ogilvie-Grant in 1896.