On the 19th of June 1978 the fuzzy orange tabby cat, Garfield made his first comic strip appearance (shown below), and that date has been considered as his birthday ever since. Born in Mama Leoni’s Italian Restaurant, Garfield found a home with Jon Arbuckle where he soon settled into a life of lasagne, sarcasm, and sleep.
Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, had the mission to come up with a character who would stand the test of time, and be universally relatable. Who wouldn’t feel a kinship with a fat, ginger cat who hates Mondays and exercise?
No? Just me?
On his birthday today I celebrate the cynical, old feline by introducing him and his family, and moments from his life in comic strip, with some of his wise and not so wise moments! Hopefully we can introduce him to some new fans too.
Eat, sleep, eat, sleep… Garfield’s life is the lazy person’s dream. He has a loving family, regular food supply, and companions to annoy. He honestly doesn’t see the point in a lot of things, including exercise, being nice to people for no reason, and Mondays.
He has many words of wisdom (some of which we get to enjoy later on in our Top 10), and sometimes his quips really hit the nail on the head, from wise words such as these: “Never leave your food dish under a bird cage”, and “Life is like a hot bath. It feels good while you’re in it, but the longer you stay, the more wrinkled you get”, neither of these can be denied as true pearls of wisdom.
It is no secret that Garfield is fat and proud. He consumes lasagne and pizza to the point of almost bursting, and we all know what those carbs can do to someone as lazy as Garfield.
Much like my own cat, the chubby ginger consumes most things including Jon’s houseplants, and smaller pets such as birds, but NEVER spinach! One of Garfield’s real fears is dieting and exercise, and he would much rather avoid both altogether.
Jonathan Q. Arbuckle is described as Garfield’s owner but we all know it doesn’t quite work that way with cats… He is an awkward geeky guy with a heart of gold, and is forever hopeful Garfield will one day care a jot about anything other than food and sleep.
Despite being basically clueless with women, and having a serious case of ‘foot-in-mouth syndrome’ at times, Jon does get the girl- in the form of Garfield’s veterinarian!
A few months after Garfield was introduced to us, Jim Davis had Jon Arbuckle adopt Odie after his owner was written out of the comic. His slobbery nature is a bane of Garfield’s life, and his sweet and happy nature is in stark contrast to Garfield’s constant grump.
Poor Odie bears the brunt of Garfield’s sadistic streak, but doesn’t seem to care, as the postman seems to get worse treatment. Odie is a loving and naive dog, so puts up with a lot, but he is just really happy to be involved!
I have always seen Liz as a human female version of Garfield. She is sarcastic, with a dry sense of humour, and cares more for animals than humans. Garfield’s only complaint now is that Liz remarks upon his ferocious appetite and bad diet, but of course he ignores her! Jon fought hard to seduce Liz, she was never going to be easy, but in the end she saw his good heart and endearing geeky nature.
Garfield was at first jealous of Liz and did not want to share Jon Arbuckle with anyone else but she proved herself to be a good influence on Jon,and having a veterinarian around can’t be all bad!
Nermal was introduced in 1979 as, what Jon described as, ‘The World’s Cutest Kitten’, much to the annoyance of Garfield who became quite jealous. As with Odie, Garfield expresses his jealousy by being possessive and aggressive, but Nermal doesn’t help himself by taunting Garfield about his age and appearance.
Nermal may look like an adorable, grey ball of fluff but he is also a vain, face mask-wearing, coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking tomcat. Still, he must watch his back because Garfield will never stop trying to post him to Abu Dhabi.
10 Of Garfield’s Best One-Liners
I’m not over-weight, I’m under-tall.
I’ll rise, but I won’t shine.
I am hungry. Therefore I am.
If you want to appear smarter, hang around someone stupider.
If people were meant to pop out bed we’d all sleep in toasters.
You can bet it wasn’t an exercise freak who invented power steering.
His I.Q. is so low you can’t test it. You have to dig for it.
The most active thing about me is my imagination.
Never trust a smiling cat.
Show me a good mouser, and I’ll show you a cat with bad breath.
Happy birthday, Garfield, here’s to many more decades of laughs and lasagne!