National Garfield the Cat Day

Next Wednesday, 19 June 2024

We celebrate National Garfield The Cat Day on June 19th, to honor the sassy cartoon character, Garfield, and get transported into a world where lasagna reigns supreme, Mondays are not obligatory, and naps are a priority. 

Created by Jim Davis, this adorable tabby cat is not only sarcastic, but is extremely smart and has opinions on everything from world politics to his fixation with lasagna.

This day is dedicated to celebrating the smartest feline and the entertainment he brings us, as Garfield's endearing personality has managed to charm individuals of all ages all over the globe. 

orange cat

Why June 19 is National Garfield The Cat Day?

June 19 is celebrated as Garfield the Cat Day because it's the day when Garfield's birthday is mentioned in the comic strip. Even though the strip initially said it was his first birthday in 1979, Garfield was shown as a grown cat when the strip first appeared on June 19, 1978. This implies that the birthday is more about celebrating the comic strip itself and its beloved character, Garfield.

The Birth Of Garfield

Born and raised in the beautiful city of Munice, Indiana, cartoonist Jim Davis, while working as an assistant on TK Ryan's Tumbleweeds, created a comic strip called Gnorm and Gnat in 1973.

Unfortunately, the strip did not meet with much success as it ran only for two years in the Pendleton Times of Pendleton, in Indiana. 

Davis tried a lot to get the comic strip syndicated, but the editors felt people would not be able to report to bug characters, so it was rejected. 

Davis then started analyzing popular comic strips to find out what kind of characters people found relatable, and he noticed dogs were extremely popular. However, there was a scarcity of cat characters, and he grew up on a farm with several cats. So, he drew from his experience and this led to the birth of Garfield in 1978, a character that went on to become one of the most iconic comic strip characters. 

The Life and Personality of Garfield

Garfield's character was inspired by the cats Jim Davis grew up with, and his personality, and name was derived from Davis's grandfather, James A. Garfield Davis, who, according to Davis, was a very cranky man. 

The character of Garfield's owner, Jon Arbuckle was inspired from a coffee commercial in the 1950s and Jon's friend Lyman was named after a character from his old comic strip Gnorm Gnat. To avoid confusion with another dog named Spot in a different comic strip, Lyman renamed his dog Odie.

These characters made their first appearance in a strip named Jon from 1976 to first 1978 in the Times newspaper. 

Jon made his first appearance in the Pendleton Times on January 8, 1976, shortly after Gnorm Gnat concluded. 

The Popularity of Garfield

United Feature Syndicate agreed to roll out the comic strip nationwide in March 1978, and has been known as Garfield since September 1, 1977. The last strip ran on March 2, 1978, in the Pendleton Times. 

Although, the Chicago Sun-Times stopped publishing Garfield but was forced to bring it back as readers started complaining after a trial period. 

The Garfield comic strip came back by upgrading its style, and from 1976 to 1983 it had only one look. It became slightly more like a cartoon from 1984. This change affected Garfield's appearance and made him stand on his two back legs, frequently with a slimmer silhouette and bigger eyes. 

Garfield became so popular that just after three years of being published nationwide, by 1981, it was published in 850 newspapers and has sold merchandise over $15 million. The merchandise business grew so rapidly that Jim Davis started a company called Paws, Inc, to manage the items. By 1982 the strip was published in more than 1000 newspapers. 

Garfield was in 2,570 newspapers, garnering over 263 million readers across the globe by 2002. Garfield also holds the Guinness World Record for the most syndicated comic strip.

By 2004, it was nearly in 2600 newspapers and sold approximately $750 million to $1 billion in merchandise in 111 countries. 

Jim Davis's company, Paws, Inc, acquired all the rights to the strips from 1978 to 1993 from United Feature in 1994. 

Jim Davis still oversees the creative work, but he mostly writes and does initial sketches. His assistants, Brett Koth and Gary Barker, handle a lot of the other tasks, like drawing and coloring. Davis focuses mainly on managing production and promoting the characters.

Celebrating Garfield The Cat Day

The most obvious way of celebrating the day is catching up on Garfield, either watching a film, reading an old strip or an old episode. If you want to really go all out, throw a Garfield themed party and ask everyone to dress as a Garfield character. 

It can also be observed in several, other simple ways, as Garfield is a very relatable character.

If you love lasagna, you can order or bake your favorite lasagna and enjoy it with your friends or solo. Garfield enjoyed taking a nap in the sun very much, so to honor his favorite things, you can just take a nap.

If you look around a bit, you will see the world is filled with Garfield. Are there any Garfields in your life, or are you a Garfield? Find answers to everything Garfield on this day to show your love for him. 

Garfield's Influence In Different Niches

  • Garfield has been featured in anthologies since 1980, becoming bestsellers.
  • It has a strong internet presence through Garfield.com, ProfessorGarfield.org, and various web comics.
  • The character has appeared in animated specials, such as Garfield and Friends and The Garfield Show. 
  • Garfield also starred in films like “Garfield: The Movie” (2004) and its sequel, along with direct-to-video films. The Garfield Movie was released theatrically in the United States on May 24th, 2024. 
  • The franchise has produced video games for different platforms.
  • Plans for a stage musical titled “Garfield Live” have been discussed.
  • Boom! Studios has published a monthly Garfield comic since 2012.
  • An art book titled “The Art of Jim Davis' Garfield” was published in 2016.
  • Additionally, themed restaurants like GarfieldEATS in Dubai and Toronto (2018-2020) have brought the character to life in a culinary setting. GarfieldEATS in Dubai and Toronto (2018-2020) have brought the character to life in a culinary setting.

National Garfield the Cat Day
National Garfield the Cat Day

National Garfield the Cat Day - Next years

Thursday, 19 June 2025

Friday, 19 June 2026

Saturday, 19 June 2027

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