Garfield the Beloved Orange Tabby Cat Turns 40

Garfield the cat
Garfield Alcon Entertainment

This calls for some lasagna! Garfield — the beloved orange tabby cat — turns 40 today.

That’s right, the first-ever comic strip featuring the Monday-hating feline was published on June 19, 1978. The world fell in love with the fictional furball whose sarcasm became a Sunday morning favorite, even leading to a hit animated series and a 2004 movie with Bill Murray.

Garfield’s creator, cartoonist Jim Davis, reflected on the first year of Garfield’s existence in an interview with The Guardian published on Tuesday, June 19.

“Here I am, 90 days into my dream career, and I lose a newspaper,” Davis told the outlet of the Chicago Sun-Times quickly dropping the comic strip in ‘78. “I thought, ‘This is it, it’s downhill from here.’”

However, the cat — who Davis says is a composite of the dozens of strays that lived on his childhood farm — was quickly brought back to the paper after 1,300 phone calls and letters were received demanding the cartoon be published again.

Now, 40 years later, Garfield is still a household name, and at the age of 72, Davis continues to find joy in writing and roughing out the strips himself, though he now has a full team that helps produce the cartoon in its entirety.

The cartoonist believes “Garfield is everyone’s alter ego.” He added: “We live in a time when we’re made to feel guilty about overeating, oversleeping, not exercising. Garfield not only does all that stuff but he’s cool with that. I think in a way he relieves our guilt.”

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda penned the foreword for Age Happens, a book that celebrates the monumental anniversary. In the book, Miranda described Garfield as “an ironic, detached cat who is mean to everyone and somehow all the more lovable for it.”

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