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CONTROL OF PET POPULATION IS OWNERS' JOB

Dear Abby: Regarding the woman who was embarrassed to ask whether her tomcat could mate with a rabbit:

What she should really be embarrassed about is owning an unneutered male cat.While it is true her cat cannot father "kittirabbits," unless he is neutered soon, he will undoubtedly be responsible for helping to produce many kittens, thereby contributing to the disgraceful situation of millions of animals being put to death because there are no homes for them.

In addition, Abby, when her tomcat is neutered, he will make a much more socially acceptable pet - and will stop trying to get funny with the bunny.

- Margaret Marshall in Seattle

Dear Margaret: Your point is well-taken. And while we're on this important subject, all dog owners should have their pets spayed or neutered so that unwanted puppies won't have to meet a cruel end.

A well-to-do animal lover in Los Angeles contributes generously to the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), requesting that her contribution be used expressly for spaying and neutering. Perhaps others may want to do the same.

P.S. Sandy and Bob Miller of Ellicott City, Md., sent me an interesting chart distributed by The Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

"Two uncontrolled breeding cats - plus all their kittens and all their kittens' kittens, if none are ever neutered or spayed, add up to: first year: 12; second year: 66; third year: 382; fourth year: 2,201; fifth year: 12,680; sixth year: 73,041; seventh year: 420,715; eighth year: 2,423,316; ninth year: 13,958,290.

Boggles your mind, doesn't it?

Dear Abby: A remarried widow wrote complaining about sleeping with her husband's two dogs, who kept her awake. You replied that maybe he should try to train the dogs to stay in a basket by the bed. From my experience, that will be hard to do.

During my college days, I had a little dog that slept with me in my sleeping bag. We were both freezing in a trailer. Years later, I left her with my Gramma when I was going to be out of the country. Gramma asked me to train her to sleep in a basket before I left. The pooch didn't understand, so I decided Gramma could set the new rules for the new place.

I returned a month later and found little black doggie hairs between Gramma's sheets. "What's this?" I asked.

"Well," Gramma blushed, "it was easier to teach an old Gramma new tricks."

- S.K. Chew, Oregon

Dear Abby: This may not help "Stumped in Delaware," who didn't know how to tell a man his zipper was open, but readers of your vintage (and mine) will surely enjoy the laugh.

My father, as he became older, also became slightly forgetful about zipping himself up. When this happened, Mother came up with a great reminder. She would softly sing "Zippity Doo Dah" as she went about her work or recreation.

It worked immediately - every time.

- Love My Memories in Menlo Park, Calif.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)