15 Trivia Tidbits About Garfield
In 1978, a comic strip introduced the world to a cat who loves lasagna and sleep, hates a certain day of the week and judges everyone that does not feel the same. Garfield, the sardonic, lazy orange cat, has conquered movies, television, video games and books. A big, fat hairy deal, the character has become such a transcendent part of pop culture that he’s three levels past the point of deconstruction.
So grab your pooky while we grab some tidbits about the iconic crabby tabby...
Move Aside, Odie
Jim Davis’ creation of the lasagna-loving cat was an amalgamation of his childhood days spent on a farm amongst two dozen barn cats and the fact that there used to be tons of cartoon strips about dogs, but few featuring felines. Davis saw a gap in the cartoon market and turned all those farm cats sauntering around in his memory into one big temperamental tabby.
Garfield Turns 45 This Year
On June 19, 1978, the first ever Garfield strip was published, introducing both the grumpy goofball and his overly chirpy owner, Jon Arbuckle, who must surely spend a fortune on satiating the big boy’s appetite.
That Time Garfield Showed Up in an American Express Commercial
In 1984, Garfield and Davis starred in a TV commercial for the credit card titled “Do You Know Me?” It sees the cartoon cat in a live-action restaurant setting, cleaning up a meal while Davis tries to sell people on the American Express card.
Garfield and the Gender Wars
In 2017, Garfield’s Wikipedia page went into lockdown following disputes over the cat’s gender identity. The hubbub was ignited by Davis’ comments a few years prior during an interview with Mental Floss, where he stated, “Garfield is very universal. By virtue of being a cat, really, he’s not really male or female or any particular race or nationality, young or old. It gives me a lot more latitude for the humor for the situations.”
The comment spawned a Wiki edit war and even Congress reportedly weighed in when an editor with a congressional IP address removed Garfield from a “male characters” list. Davis eventually told The Washington Post that Garfield is, indeed, male, further confusing everyone as to how the creator’s original statement should be interpreted.
Garfield Got Beat Up by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The dour ginger cat once showed up in an issue of the TMNT Magazine that ran during the 1990s. Titled “Garfield Meets the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” the happening was a one-pager and saw Garfield disguise himself as a turtle called Garfello in an attempt to eat the green homies’ pizza.
Davis Regrets the Zombie Garfield Merch
As the cartoonist told Mental Floss, “A few years ago, there was a Zombie Garfield. It was really gnarly, and I thought, ‘Oh, this will be fun.’ So I did it, and it sold okay. It was really interesting. But then I looked at it later, and I go, ‘It did nothing for the character’s advancement.’ I figured I just did it because it was cool, and everybody was doing it at the time. I just didn’t have a warm, fuzzy feeling after doing it.”
The Samuel L. Jackson Quote Hiding in the Movie
A hidden gag in the 2007 direct-to-video Garfield Gets Real features a strip with a Jules Winnfield quote from Pulp Fiction in the form of Arbuckle telling Garfield, “I’m a mushroom cloud-laying motherfucker, motherfucker.” The strip isn’t an official Garfield cartoon; it’s an edited version of a 2005 comic that circulated on the internet under the title, “Jon Snaps.”
The Cartoon Strip Has a Guinness World Record
Garfield Once Had the Most Bizarre Theme Park Ride
Called Garfield’s Nightmare, the theme park ride in Pennsylvania shut down in 2020, and no one’s really sure how much Davis was involved. The boat ride featured a variety of cutouts suspended under black lights in the shapes of pizzas, ice creams and characters with giant teeth. The nightmare ride ends with vegetable cutouts adorning the side walls and a tableau of mice preparing a bowl of cat stew.
Garfield Is Named After a President
Davis named Garfield after his grandfather, James A. Garfield Davis, who in turn was named after the 20th President of the United States, who oddly enough died on a Monday.
Those Garfield Car Window Toys Caused a Crime Spree
Not only were those “Garfield Stuck on You” toys the result of a manufacturing mistake — instead of sucking cups, they were supposed to have Velcro on their tiny paws — but the Garfield car window plushies also caused a string of car break-ins. In just five months in 1987, the LAPD reported around 40 cars getting their windows smashed, only for the perpetrators to steal nothing but Garfield’s smug fluffy butt.
The Woman With the Largest Garfield Collection in the World
While many folks worldwide are mega Garfield collectors, Cathy Kothe has the official record as she’s been collecting everything Garfield for almost 40 years. Back in 2019, her household was filled with more than 14,000 pieces of Garf merch and memorabilia.
The Fans Saved Garfield From an Early Demise
Davis said that when he first started publishing his cartoon strip about the cat with the insatiable appetite, around 40 newspapers featured it, with the Chicago Sun-Times being the biggest of them all. “But then the Chicago Sun-Times dropped the strip. As that was the biggest paper I had, I thought this was the beginning of the end,” he told The Independent.
Lucky for him, fans were already obsessed with the comic, and the paper soon dealt with around 1,300 readers demanding to see more of the feline furball in their newspaper funny pages.
Why Garfield Hates Mondays
Davis revealed to HuffPost that the surly, sarcastic cat despises Monday because, well, there’s always another Monday. “Garfield does not have a job, Garfield does not go to school, and every day is the same,” the creator of the grumpy goofball explained. “Nevertheless, every Monday is just a reminder that his life is the same old, same old cycling again and for some reason even though his life is pretty much the same every day on Mondays specifically, awful things tend to happen to him physically.”
Garfield Is Never Topical Because He’s Universal
Davis explained to The Washington Post why Garfield never spoke on pop culture or current events. “It’s a conscious effort to include everyone as readers,” he said. “If you were to mention the football strike (of 1982), you’re going to be excluding everyone else in the world that doesn’t watch pro football. Garfield is an international character. Therefore, I don’t even use seasons. The only holiday I recognize is Christmas. I don’t use rhyming gags, plays on words, colloquialisms, in an effort to make Garfield apply to virtually any society where he may appear. In an effort to keep the gags broad, the humor general and applicable to everyone, I deal mainly with eating and sleeping. That applies to everyone, anywhere.”