Geneticists have mapped the genome of Cinnamon, a 4-year-old Abyssinian cat from Missouri, making felines the latest animal to have their DNA deciphered.

Why is this important? Cats are prone to more than 250 diseases, many similar to our own. The better we understand their genetic makeup, the better we might develop treatments for AIDS, retinal disease, diabetes, cancer and SARS. (Of course, there’s more than a little financial incentive for researchers to find feline treatments, too.)

Maybe when researchers are done with that, they can move on to what’s really on our mind: why are cats so darn catlike?

And because inquiring minds want to know, according to the press release: “Cinnamon is a shy cat. While the other cats in Dr. Kristina Narfstrom’s ophthalmology research center at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine vie for the attention of veterinary medical students and technicians, Cinnamon is more reticent, preferring to sit quietly and watch the other cats play and carouse.”