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Dear Alice,

I’m crazy about cats but my landlady won’t allow pets. I’ve tried to make nice with the neighborhood nora-neko (alley cats) but, to be honest, their stumpy twisted tails gross me out. What the heck is that, anyway? Some kind of infection? My landlady claims Japanese people don’t like tails on cats so they tie strings around kittens’ tails to make ’em fall off. Tell me it ain’t so!

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