This is Mutt, being groomed by Stoffel.
Mutt was born here and the only one of a litter of three Toms who wasn't afraid of Stoffel - he became her 'Toy Boy Cat' - she would spend hours grooming him and, as you can see, even enthusiastically chewed all his whiskers off, causing him to look extra dumb.
After I banished him from the house for messing, Mutt's whiskers grew back and he started disappearing into the bush, sometimes for up to two weeks, often returning with wounds and new scars from fighting.
In early October Mutt disappeared for two days and, one morning, returned home with a scrawny little kitten in tow - I took this pic a few seconds after they arrived.
The kitten looked to be about six weeks old and, apart from being very thin, seemed in good health. It was fawning on Mutt and, much to his annoyance, trying to suckle on him.
I don't know if the kitten's mother was a feral cat or not but, I think that he had accidentally become separated from the litter and had latched onto Mutt during his wanderings.
I knew intuitively that a new resident had arrived.
I named him "Spirit".
He was wary of me at first but, he's sharp - it only took him two days to figure out who the 'Provider of Food and Backscratches' is and so we became friends.
Spirit is very curious, lively and loves to play - he's already ruined a few plants, especially ferns.
Using his kitten-cuteness and ignorance of cat etiquette he monopolizes the food bowls and soon put on some weight.
It surprises me that even though Mutt is the archetypal tough Tomcat, when Spirit's playfulness irritates him to the point of craziness, Mutt flees and takes refuge in the bush instead of slapping or dominating the kitten.
Of course, Spirit has captured my heart. He has a lovely character, friendly towards humans but with a nice balance of self-sufficient bush-cat wildness.
Here he is in practice hunting mode - I've had to discourage him a few times from molesting small chickens.
Spirit's close encounter with Stoffel.
On this day, a massive Cape Cobra was eating one of my chicken's eggs and while I was taking photos, Spirit was frolicking around my feet, unaware of the danger.
Afraid that he'd bumble into the snake, I grabbed him and threw him into the house. When I came back inside, Stoffel was trying to befriend and groom him.
I don't want him to become a house cat so his contact with Stoffel will be limited.
I'll get back home sometime in January and by then Spirit will be a young adult cat - I hope his character will still be the same. I'll have to make a decision on whether or not to have him spayed.
If I don't have him castrated, Mutt will start fighting with him and one of them will eventually be forced to move away. (Mutt chased both his brothers off a few years ago).
On the other hand, I don't 'own' Spirit, I didn't choose him from a pet shop or shelter, he chose me. Castrating him will alter his nature, is it for me to interfere?
To snip or not to snip? What do you think?