A couple of weeks ago, this big cat simply moved in with us. Personality he's got, but pretty he isn't. One half of one ear is gone, one of his big corner fangs is missing, he's got scars on his head, a big no-hair patch, scarred on one side, and he limps. The strange thing is that he eats like a horse, his coat has a nice shine, and he doesn't seem sore anyplace. Should we have Buster checked by the vet anyway? We're hoping all his troubles are behind him. -- H. E.

Very probably, Buster's behind is the source of many of his troubles, but not necessarily the end of them. . . Certainly he should go to the doctor for a checkup, but, probably more to the point, he should go in for surgery. If he has not already been neutered, doing so now could solve some of his problems, though not, of course, all. DEAR DR. MILLER:

I want to keep a pair of rabbits, but my mother won't allow it. She said I could have one rabbit, but I'm afraid it would be too lonely. Can you help me convince my mother that two rabbits would be healthier? -- N. F. y

Two rabbits would undoubtedly be less lonely than one, though I've known a lot of awfully happy pet rabbits who made it a very long time without any kind of partner. Your mother would probably be less reluctant to have you keep two if they're the same sex. In this regard, two males are likely to fight, but two female rabbits often get along quite well. DEAR DR. MILLER:

It's just logical I suppose that my little canary, Goldie, will lay more eggs if she's healthy than if she isn't. But what about if she's happy? Could she lay eggs even is she wasn't terribly happy?

It's hard to say just how happy Goldie would have to be before she began laying eggs, but hormones have a considerable effect on her happiness or lack of it. They have even more to do with her egg-laying ability, or lack of it. Generally, good health does indeed have a lot to do with the process. If Goldie were in poor health, she wouldn't start to lay eggs in the first place.