Categories: Cartoon Cats

What cat breed is Garfield?

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.

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.

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.


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.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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

    • Cool answer. That said some humans with an impeccable pedigree are complete sh*ts ;)

  • 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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