Humans have added cats’ DNA to what they’ve “decoded” from dogs, chimps, vermin, and cows. Just think how far this has already advanced mankind. Not.
Cinnamon, a 4-year-old Abyssinian, was the poor schmuck they “volunteered” to participate in this feckless pursuit. She had been living quietly (caged, probably) in a lab cat colony at the University of Missouri.
Cinnamon’s heritage is a long line of lab cats bred to develop retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that Cinnamon has inherited. One in 3,500 humans gets it, too. But they aren’t specifically conceived, as Cinnamon was, to slowly go blind.
Cinnamon is reportedly shy and withdrawn. She sits around, not playing with the other guinea pigs – uh, lab cats – and doesn’t vie for the lab staff’s attention. I can’t blame her if she feels depressed and confused. She’s probably watching her world slowly fade to black until she wakes up one day unable to find her food bowl.
Why would anyone, except perhaps a dog lover, do this to a cat? The scientists claim cats get 200 human-like diseases, such as AIDS, SARS, diabetes, retinal disease and spina bifida, so by studying us, they can find cures. If that’s true, what’s taken them so long to get around to it? I think what they really want to know is:
· How we sleep 23 ½ hours a day, yet are always alert.
· How we can leap many times our height from a casual standing position.
· Why we almost never fall on our heads.
· How we turn doorknobs without opposable thumbs.
· How we can hear someone thinking about opening a can of tuna.
Cinnamon apparently didn’t provide one gene her tormenters wanted to study – the domestication gene. The next time a lab assistant touches her, I hope she takes a huge chunk out of him, just to remind them she’s still in touch with her roots.