Since welcoming Blind Murphy into our home over a decade ago (may he rest in peace), I quickly learned that my heart belonged to handicats. Whether they are gimpy, blind, disfigured, deaf, or a little on the “special” side, handicats are loyal and can give just as much love (if not more) as able-bodied cats. This is why I have reluctantly opened our home to a few others over the years:
- Zoe, an Abyssinian born deaf and with a mild case of cerebellar hypoplasia
- Elvis, a black longhair that showed up at our back door with FIV
- Predator Face, born with a gross hare lip and an extraordinarily expensive case of something called polyploid rhinitis
And then there’s Damien, our maltese. He suffers from a condition in which many can relate: feline resting bitch face.
To those unfamiliar with feline resting bitch face (or, as known in the medical community, F.R.B.F), allow me to explain. F.R.B.F. is a rare disorder where the afflicted feline’s facial expression unintentionally conveys displeasure, irritation, or annoyance when in a relaxed state.
You may not realize it, but feline resting bitch face is a physical disability. Damien can’t make it through a single day without somebody interrupting him to ask, “Are you mad?” or “Is something wrong?” or “Are you okay?” Not only do these questions interfere with living a normal life, it serves as a depressing reminder of his handicap.
In addition to the excessively intrusive regard for his feelings, Damien’s social life has also been impacted by this impairment as it is not easy making friends or finding a job when your typical facial expression deems you unapproachable. The latter is why he receives a healthy disability check every month from the Social Security Administration. Thanks, Uncle Sam.
F.R.B.F. is non-fatal, but scientists have yet to determine its cause. So if you’re worried that your cat may also suffer from feline resting bitch face, ask yourself:
- Does your cat appear chronically bored?
- Do you believe your cat is exceedingly judgmental?
- Have you or anyone in your household referred to [insert your cat’s name here] as “smug,” “contemptuous,” “unlikeable,” “conceited,” “pretentious,” or “apathetic”?
- Have you ever avoided asking your cat an important question because they look like they don’t want to be bothered?
If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, your cat may be suffering from feline resting bitch face. I would suggest making an appointment with your vet for further testing and lab work.
Maybe one day, there will be a cure for feline resting bitch face. Until then, I can do my part by raising awareness in the hopes that those afflicted can be treated just like you and me.