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TALE OF CATLIKE `CABBIT' IS HAREBRAINED

Dear Abby: In a previous column, you stated that according to veterinarian Dr. Erwin David of Studio City, Calif., it is not possible for a cat to impregnate a rabbit.

Enclosed you will find a picture of a "cabbit," the name given to the offspring of a female rabbit that was impregnated by a cat.As you can plainly see, Abby, the front half looks like a cat, and the hindquarters look like a rabbit. Pictures don't lie.

- Proof from Tampa, Fla.

Dear Proof: I sent the picture to Dr. David asking for an explanation. His reply:

Dear Abby: The picture you sent is that of a Manx. Interspecies breeding is genetically impossible. A possible explanation for "cabbit" sightings:

There is a breed of cat called the Manx; it has no tail - just a stump similar to a rabbit's. In addition, it has a broad, round rump, and its hind legs are longer than its forelegs, giving it a rabbit-like posture and a hopping gait.

I am enclosing pictures of a Manx from a book of cat breeds. Don't they look exactly like "cabbits"?

- Erwin D. David, D.V.M.

Dear Dr. David: They certainly do, and I'm sure this is the reason for the confusion. The Manx has a classic cat face - and the rear end of an Easter rabbit. (I hope I don't lay an egg on this one.)

Dear Abby: After reading the letter from the fellow who appreciated it when a stranger told him his zipper was down, I had to write.

A few years ago, I spent a hot summer day job-hunting. I wore a red cotton dress that buttoned up the back from the hem to the neck. I stopped at a drugstore to get a cold drink at the soda fountain. All the stools were occupied, so I stood in line, waiting until I could get a seat.

After I finished my cold drink, I walked about a block to where my car was parked. When I got in, a man tapped on my window and said, "Lady, your whole backside is showing." Then he flashed a badge and added, "Be careful - next time you may not be so lucky."

I thanked him, but after I realized what he was implying, I wanted to smack his face!

Anyway, if only one person in that drugstore had told me that my rear was exposed, I would have appreciated it.

- Humiliated in Hamilton, Ohio

P.S. I never wore that dress again.

Dear Humiliated: More than a few readers wrote to share their "southern exposure" experiences - read on:

Dear Abby: When I read the letter from "Stumped in Delaware," who debated about whether to tell a stranger his fly was open, I had to write and share my own experience.

Many years ago, I was a nurse's aide in a nursing home. It was one of those days when several elderly gentlemen had forgotten to pull up their zippers, so I went around checking patients and zipping them up when necessary.

After zipping up umpteen zippers and saying my usual cheery "There you go," a blushing young man said, "Thank you very much."

Abby, he wasn't one of our patients - he was a new young priest who was visiting patients.

That was the last time I pulled up a zipper without checking its owner first.

- Mary Dykes, Lorain, Ohio

Confidential: To "Baltimore Dad Trying to Do It All": Slow down, my friend - and remember the wise words of Malcolm Forbes: "There is never enough time, unless you're serving it."

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)