A Letter From The Publisher: Dec. 7, 1981

As a boy, TIME Associate Editor J.D. Reed was indifferent to cats. Recalls he: "For a lot of men, cats are an acquired taste, like eating snails. A boy growing up in the Midwest wants a dog. It's a macho thing." Later in life, though, Reed's attitudes softened enough for him to work at writing poetry in a study shared with two Siamese cats—Emily and Hilda, named after Poets Emily Dickinson and Hilda Doolittle. That blend of interest in the literary and the feline eminently qualified Reed to write this issue's cover story on...

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