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by Abigail Van Buren

Simple Rules of Etiquette Are Really the Cat's Meow

DEAR ABBY: As a confirmed cat-lover, I couldn't help identifying with the enclosed "Rules of Etiquette for Inexperienced Cats." I'm sure your other cat-loving readers will get a kick out of it. If you agree, feel free to print it. The author is unknown. -- KITTY MC DOWELL, LEHIGH ACRES, FLA.

DEAR KITTY: (As a cat-lover, you are aptly named!) I do agree, and here it is:


-- If you have an upset stomach, get into a chair quickly. If you cannot manage this in time, get to an Oriental rug. Or, shag is good.

-- Determine quickly which guest hates cats. Sit on that lap during the evening. He won't dare push you off, and will even call you "nice kitty." If you can arrange to have cat food on your breath, so much the better.

-- For sitting on laps or rubbing against trouser legs, select colors that contrast with your own.

-- Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

-- For guests who say, "I love kitties," be ready with aloof disdain, claws applied to stockings or a quick nip on the ankles.

-- Do not allow closed doors in any room. To get one open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once the door is opened for you, it is not necessary to use it. You can change your mind. When you have ordered an outside door opened, stand half in and half out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather or mosquito season.

-- If one person is busy and the other is idle, sit with the busy one. For book readers, get in close under the chin, unless you can lie across the book itself.

-- For ladies knitting, curl quietly into lap and pretend to doze. Then reach out and slap knitting needles sharply. This is what she calls a dropped stitch. She will try to distract you. Ignore it.

-- For people doing homework, sit on the paper being worked on. After being removed for the second time, push anything movable off the table -- pens, pencils, stamps -- one at a time.

-- Get enough sleep during the daytime so that you are fresh for playing at night between 2 and 4 a.m.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been invited to a wedding in early October. The groom has owed my husband $425 for more than eight years. Requests for repayment have been ignored. He always has some excuse not to repay the loan.

Abby, if we attend the wedding, are we required to give a wedding gift? We feel we have given enough already. -- SHAFTED IN WISCONSIN

DEAR SHAFTED: If you attend the wedding, you should give them some kind of gift -- even if it's only a token.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600