Dear Dr Miller:

Will a bird who has never eaten muchgrit before and suddenly really begins to eat a lot, get too fat?

C.K.

Might get too heavy. Gravel could overload the bird generally and its digestive tract in particular. Get the grit out of the cage right away and leave it out for a few weeks. If the bird is doing all right in the meantime, then try again with only an occasional sprinklingof grit. If there is any question about the bird not doing well, have it checked by the doctor immediately. Grit in moderation can be a useful digestive aid for many birds. In large quantities, it can be dangerous to the point of causing a complete obstruction in the digestive tract.

DEAR DR MILLER:

Our cat used to go out as much as in the daytime as he did at night but now he hardly goes out in the daytime at all. I think that's because his feet get too hot. My brother doesn't think so because he has lots of hair on his feet (my cat, not my brother).

T.R.

Few feline feet have enough hair on the bottom to insulate against a sizzling sun-baked surface. Mad dogs and Englishmen may, at one time, have gone out in the midday sun, but Felis domesticus; hardly ever. Feline hot feet are some of the reasons.

DEAR DR MILLER:

My father and I went to the flea market. We didn't bring home with us anything but fleas. Father said we should have known. I'm ashamed to say we gave fleas to our dog who never had any before. Do humans get fleas too? I mean, are there different kinds? And how come they like dogs, if that's what we had?

K.F.

There are hundreds of species of fleas including human, cat and dog. These fleas species, depending sometimes on how hungry they are, will all feast interchangeably. Human fleas also bite dogs and cats, cat fleas chomp on the dogs and Homo sapiens, etc. If your dog was hopping, mad about the episode it was understandable, but it's really hard to tell, unless, you are an expert, which fleas "fleed" the flea market with you to end up carousing on your canine.