Library Blog

Happy National Garfield the Cat Day

Garfield the Cat book jacket

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the beloved Garfield comic strip. Garfield is arguably one of the most recognizable icons, known for his laziness, fondness for lasagna, and bright orange fur. The Garfield comic first appeared in print on June 19, 1978, and although the comic was originally syndicated in just forty-one newspapers, Garfield would eventually appear in more than 2,500 newspapers worldwide!

Cartoonist Jim Davis spent nearly a year and half developing Garfield, working on character sketches that would capture Garfield’s unique personality. Davis drew from his own life growing up on a farm with lots of cats to create Garfield, even naming him after his grandfather, James A. Garfield Davis.

Full of deadpan humor, witty one-liners, and lots of snarky sarcasm, Garfield has resonated with people since the very first comic and continues to be a source of comic relief. Over the years, the famous comic strips have been compiled into books for easy viewing. In addition to books, Garfield has made an appearance on a wide variety of household products: posters, notebooks, sticky notes, calendars, bookmarks, magnets, mugs, t-shirts, and much more have sported the famous feline. But the item that helped turn Garfield into the icon he is today was the eye-catching stuffed Garfield with suction-cupped feet and a “Stuck on You!” badge that became the must-have car accessory of the mid to late 1980s.

With the success of the comic strip, Garfield quickly made the transition from print to television on October 25, 1982 on his first special, Here Comes Garfield. Twelve specials later, Garfield was comfortably enjoying the limelight of his television stardom. In 1988, Garfield joined the Saturday morning cartoons in the animated series, Garfield and Friends, which aired through 1995.

In the early 2000s, Garfield once again captured our attentions, only this time in theaters. Garfield: The Movie (2004) and its sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) ushered the cat into the new millennium. In 2009, Garfield returned to television with another animated series, The Garfield Show, which aired through 2016.

Today, Garfield is still just as popular as when he first appeared in 1978. Young and old alike enjoy his sense of humor and his selfish attitude. So, spend some time today doing all of Garfield’s favorite things: napping, eating, and doing whatever you want, when you want.

For More Information

Most of the facts in this article came from the book Garfield at 25: In Dog Years I’d be Dead by Jim Davis. This book gives a brief history of the early years of the Garfield comic strip and includes tons of illustrations and comics celebrating Garfield’s 25th anniversary. For more Garfield fun, check out our collection of books and graphic novels and TV series and specials.

Kelly M.

Kelly is an Adult Librarian in the Canfield Unit at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. She earned her Master’s in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2019. Kelly loves all things bookish, from playing word games to dabbling with creative writing. And, of course, reading as many books as possible from all genres, though she especially enjoys romance and YA novels. Kelly also likes crafting, baking, listening to country music, and spending time with her family.