What cat breed is Garfield (cartoon cat)?

What cat breed is Garfield? Garfield is a ginger, tabby tomcat and he is not a pedigree, purebred cat and therefore is not a member of a cat breed. He is probably based on a tabby cat because of the markings (black lines) drawn on his back which resemble the mackerel tabby pattern and the red (orange) tabby is a very well-known and popular cat. Garfield has the character of a moggy tomcat. That opening para was written on June 6, 2018.

Update May 18, 2022: I have noticed that there are now many websites which claim that Garfield is a Persian cat. It has become fact. This is contrary to what I have stated in the opening paragraph on this page. It seems certain to me that this information comes from Wikipedia. In their opening line they state that Garfield is a “cynical, orange, Persian tabby cat”. The authors of this Wikipedia page do NOT provide any reference to support that statement. Wikipedia is known for providing references for the information that they state on their pages. I stress, there is no supporting reference for this “fact”. The Wikipedia page has 30 references in all and not one supports the fact that Garfield is a Persian. Secondly, the authors have not capitalised the word “Persian”. This is an error which has not been picked up by the administrators as at the date of this update.

I have the best book on cartoon cats, in the world: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Cartoon Animals by Jeff Rovin. It is an awesome work and written in great detail. Mr Rovin does not on any occasion in his section about Garfield state that this cartoon character is based upon a Persian cat.

Jim Davis, as mentioned below, is the creator of Garfield. He said that he named Garfield after his grandfather who had two middle names, one of which was “Garfield”. And he decided to come up with a comic strip about a cat because the “noticed there were a lot of comic strip dogs who were commanding their share of the comic pages but precious few cats”.

I have to conclude, at this time, that Wikipedia is incorrect and therefore every author of every other website is also incorrect unless someone can prove to me otherwise. Importantly, I think, is the fact that Garfield, the cartoon character, behaves like a moggy tomcat. He does not behave like a refined Persian cat. Persians are very genteel and delicate. Garfield behaves like a rough and ready tomcat which he is.


 

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I searched for any information that might lead me to believe that Garfield was a purebred cat and part of a cat breed but nothing showed up. I have the best book on cartoon cats in the world1 and there is nothing in it to suggest that Garfield is purebred and pedigreed.

Garfield is the creation of a guy called Jim Davis and he first appeared on June 18, 1978. By 1991 he had appeared in 2000+ newspapers nationwide and translated into 12 languages.

Named after Grandfather

Garfield was named after Davis’s grandfather, whose name was James A. Garfield Davies. Davis originally wanted to come up with a comic strip about a gnat but changed mind to a cat because there were lots of comic strips about dogs which were doing well but there were very few cat comic strips.

What cat breed is Garfield?

Wife allergic to cats

There is nothing to suggest in the early days that Jim Davis modeled Garfield on a purebred cat. It is likely that he didn’t know much about purebred cats in any case but was familiar with ginger tabby tomcats as most of us are. In fact, my research indicates that Davis did not own a cat and that his wife was allergic to them. His creation was not born out of a love of cats it seems but for commercial reasons.

When he was working he drew his cartoon strips 8 to 10 weeks in advance of publication. In 1988 a Saturday morning cartoon show, Garfield and Friends, was aired as well as numerous prime-time animated specials. They were half adventures and many of them won Emmy Awards including the first one, Here Comes Garfield in 1982. Garfield is the star of more than a dozen bestselling books.

Character

As to Garfield the cat’s character he is a complete slob. He is sometimes aggressive and always unrepentant: “Grovelling is not one of my strong suits”. Garfield attacks dogs, hates jogging, bites the postman, refuses to diet, watches too much television and sleeps too much. He loves lasagne and doesn’t like cat food because “The bouquet leaves something to be desired”. He weighs 15 pounds as an adult. But he doesn’t consider himself fat just “under-tall”.

1. The Illustrated Encylopedia of Cartoon Animals by Jeff Rovin.


Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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4 Responses

  1. Cat's Meow says:

    Being purebred suggests good manners and Garfield has none that I have seen. That leads me to believe that Garfield is random bred.

  2. Jane Carter says:

    I don’t think of Garfield as a cat, I find it hard to see him as a cat either. Jim Davis hasn’t put too many feline characteristics into his creation. I think Garfield is a representation of how many men feel like kicking over the traces. It’s almost like the cat was chosen to highlight the frustrations of modern man.

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