Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Garfield

Go To

The main characters in Garfield are:

    open/close all folders 

Primary Characters


Garfield Horatio III, Esquire
"Feed me."
The strip's title character. Most of the time, he's a fat, lazy, cynical cat, with Jon being the main victim of his constant sarcasm. Many of the strip's gags revolve around his constant eating and/or sleeping, as well as offering plenty of sarcasm towards Jon and abuse towards Odie.

  • Achievements in Ignorance: One of the earliest times Garfield tried walking on his hind feet, he was largely successful — even doing such things as tap-dancing and drop-kicking Odie — until Jon told him that cats couldn't walk on their hind feet, at which point Garfield promptly fell on his face.
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Garfield had several of these, one interestingly from drinking too much coffee.
  • Acrofatic: For a cat who is supposedly morbidly obese and hates to exercise, Garfield is surprisingly athletic when he wants to be. Subtly lampshaded in an early strip when Garfield ran so fast that he went straight up one wall, across the ceiling, and down the opposite wall! Jon noted that "I know cats are fast, but that's ridiculous." Another strip shows Garfield voluntarily jogging, of all things. He tells the reader that even he can run when he has the proper motivation, and in the last panel we see that he's chasing an ice cream truck.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In his animated and film ventures, he tends to be less mean-spirited and has many more Pet the Dog moments towards Jon, Odie, and others. This can probably be attributed to a difference in medium from a three-panel gag comic with no space to show consequences or any real story, to actual narratives that need to make Garfield a protagonist the audience would want to root for.
  • Anti Hero: Type V/Villain Protagonist, at least in the comic strip. This unedited comic exemplifies this well, as it is very typical of how Garfield does things in the comics. He Took a Level in Kindness for The Garfield Show, bringing him down to Type III/IV, depending on the show. He also had plenty of pet the Odie moments in Garfield and Friends. Basically anytime he's written by Mark Evanier he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Anti-Role Model: Undoubtedly.
    Garfield: Remember kids, crime does not pay!
    (Garfield steals Jon's doughnut)
    Garfield: Although it can be pretty tasty.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift:
    • In the early days of the strip, he looked much more like a normal orange housecat. By 1984, his body had become more humanoid in shape.
    • In the strips and cartoon, he never actually talked (everything heard was his internal thoughts) while in The Garfield Show and both live-action movies, he moves his mouth to show he's actually talking.
  • Asshole Victim: On the rare occasions where karma does hit him, it's very well-deserved since he's such an asshole.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't mess with his food if you know what's good for you. Even a potential girlfriend isn't safe.
    • He really hates dieting.
    • Mondays.
    • Whenever Nermal comes to visit.
    • Alarm clocks.
    • The bathroom scale.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He actually fights an escaped panther to save Jon and Odie in "Garfield In The Rough".
  • Big Eater: Blatantly. It's pointed out he only stops eating when there's nothing left in the house. A character from a dream sequence said it best:
    "There's not enough food in the world to feed this cat!"
    • This is further shown when Jon asks Garfield if he has ever eaten until he was full. Garfield didn't even understand the concept.
    • One strip has him declare that, since he didn't know what to eat, he decided to eat "everything". Cue Jon asking where the fridge has gone.
    • Garfield often resorts to stealing food when he isn't full, be it from Jon and Odie, or pizza delivery men, Girl Scouts with cookies and other proprietors of food.
  • Birthday Hater: Garfield hates birthdays, mainly because they remind him of how old he is. (Considering the strip has been around for two or three regular cat lifespans, he may have a point.) When the actual party comes, however, he usually softens up.
  • Born Lucky: Almost everything goes right for him.
    Jon: Life's not fair, Garfield.
    Garfield: Let's be realistic. Remember, you can't always get everything you want. You can't. I can.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Many strips have had him thwart criminals, fight the mailman, or build something with household objects; quite a repertoire for a supposedly fat lazy cat.
  • The Bully: He kicks Odie off the table, steals Jon's dinners, plays cruel pranks on both Jon and Odie (he rarely gets any comeuppance for it), harasses the mailman and his human neighbors like Ms. Feeny and even robs food sellers going as far as to mug Girl Scouts for their cookies.
  • Bullying a Dragon: On occasions he bullies or laughs at mean, large dogs or small dogs that didn't look menacing before they proceed to maul him. One dog bruised Garfield so badly he had to wear a body cast for a week. In a 1987 strip, he kicked a mouse for no good reason (when the mouse didn't do anything) and so that mouse sicked his giant, monstrous sister Loretta on Garfield. One 1993 strip had him pick a fight with a big, burly cat before being pounded flat forcing Odie to bring him home with his teeth.
  • Butt-Monkey: He has it a lot better than Jon or Odie, but he still can go through a bit of slapstick on occasion, usually on Mondays. Examples include getting hit in the face by pies that go "Splut!", big mean dogs attacking him and hostile reception from audiences of his dancing on the fence.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Garfield has eaten sapient birds, fish and flowers, and has been known to kill talking spiders.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Feed me.
    • Big, fat hairy deal!
    • I love lasagna!
    • Nature's most perfect food.note 
    • Nice touch.note 
    • Whoever [invented or coined an unnecessary term/appliance] should be drugged out into the street and shot.
    • I hate Mondays / mornings / dogs / February.
    • I'm not known for my compassion.
    • Diet time.note 
    • Show me a good mouser and I'll show you a cat with bad breath.
  • Cats Are Mean: Garfield is self-centered and cruel; in the strip, these traits are shared by most cats.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: If there is snarking to be done, you can count on him:
    Jon: Did you miss me?
    Garfield: Yes I did, Jon. In fact... I wasn't done missing you. Would you mind leaving again?
  • Cats Are Superior: Garfield is very vain of his own species, often considering himself superior to humans and dogs. And try telling him otherwise.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: See Achievements in Ignorance, above. Doesn't stop him from making bipedalism his preferred mode of travel in later strips, though. In one strip, Jon asks Garfield which way he puts his feet down when he walks. Garfield is then paralyzed, saying, "I'll never walk again."
  • Child Hater: A recurring gag in the 80s and 90s was that children are always mistreating him physically, such as dressing him up in feminine clothes, chasing him throughout a laundromat, kicking him around and burying him in the sand.
  • Companion Cube: Pooky, his teddy bear.
  • Cool Cat: Especially in situations where he's not either the aggressor or the guy being put down. His ability to sit around impassive with a smirk and a quip is often the funniest part of the strip.
  • Cosmic Plaything: For some strange reason, on Mondays.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the time. Jim Davis even said that part of why Lorenzo Music worked voicing Garfield was how “He had a way of throwing a line away and not really caring about it."
  • Didn't Think This Through: One strip went like this:
    (Holding bird in one paw)
    Garfield: Watch as I toss this bird into the air, and catch it in my mouth.
    Looks up, opens his mouth, and throws bird into the air, and it flies away.
  • Does Not Like Spam: His least favorite foods are raisins and spinach. He also doesn't like mice, and makes friends with them occasionally. Other standard cat prey such as birds and fish aren't so lucky. He also dislikes refrigerator leftovers and once gifted a birthday cupcake to the meatloaf.
  • The Drag-Along: He often forces Jon to bring him along on dates with Liz, just so Garfield can enjoy the food at the restaurant Jon and Liz are at.
  • Dreadful Musician: Quite a few strips over the years have depicted him singing badly, such as this.
  • Expressive Ears: A few times his ears tuck back whenever he's displeased, annoyed, or in a bad mood in general.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Occasionally. Non-food things he has eaten include his own food dish (accidentally while shoveling down his food super-fast), the TV remote (to prevent Jon from taking it), Jon's wallet ("Genuine cowhide."), and an unknown object Jon was carrying on a plate ("I hope that was food!") When on a diet, he's resorted to knowingly eating wax fruit, his own blanket and pages from (or all of) a diet book.
  • Fat and Proud: To quote one of his earliest strips: "I'm fat, and I'm lazy, and I'm proud of it!"
  • Fat Bastard: A cynical fatty tabby. Other than abusing Odie and making his owner's life hell, he does nothing but eat, sleep and watch TV (newer strips after the year 2006 also depict him regularly on a smartphone and obsessed with texting all the time).
  • Flanderization: Inverted. Garfield started out very lazy and sarcastic. By the late eighties he was still that, but he had also developed a more playful attitude. Over time though, he's gradually shifted back into his more cynical self.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Began entirely quadrupedal, but after he began walking on his hind legs in 1981, he gradually became more bipedal to the point where it is extremely rare to see Garfield in any quadrupedal pose in a strip past 1988. Lampshaded in a strip from 1990 (long after Garfield had almost entirely abandoned quadrupedal locomotion) where Jon angrily exclaims (in response to Garfield yet again stealing his food) "for a cat that walks on his hind legs, you don't talk much!"
  • Furry Denial: He constantly forgets that he's a cat. One time, he forgot to such an extent that he shaved.
  • Furry Reminder: On the other hand, he often does feline things, like licking himself, eating birds, playing with balls of yarn, etc.
  • Gasshole: Pure belch variant. In one strip from 2006, he even set off a car alarm with a loud burp.
  • Gigantic Gulp: Mostly with coffee.
  • Hating on Monday: Garfield hates Mondays (except when it's his birthday), and it's little wonder because nothing ever seems to go right for him on that day.
  • Heavy Sleeper: He's timed himself to see just how long he can sleep.
    • In one strip, this gets exaggerated; he wakes up and looks out the window to see a Jetsons-esque future, to which he says that his nap was a little long.
  • It's All About Me: His standard outlook on his own life. This is most shown in attitude towards food, as he acts like all food should be eaten by him and only him. Garfield said himself, "I'm not known for my compassion".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although he constantly abuses both Jon and Odie, he does love them deeply and can actually be quite caring. His softer side is most prominent around Christmastime. This is much more common with his animated versions, due to Adaptation Expansion and longer screentime allowing him to show more depths.
  • Karma Houdini: An extreme example - he can bully Jon, Odie, and Nermal (verbally and physically) and NEVER receive any punishment whatsoever. Every rule has its exceptions, though, and sometimes karma does get him. Not so much in The Garfield Show, where Jon tends to suspect Garfield of wrongdoing when something bad happens... and he's often right.
  • Kick the Dog: Does this to Odie constantly and quite literally.
  • Klatchian Coffee: One of his favorite ways of staying awake.
  • Lack of Empathy: As Jon noted many times, Garfield refuses to show empathy to a lot of Jon's problems such as getting a cold, being attacked by wolves, failing to secure a date with a woman, getting his head stuck in a wastebasket and somewhat getting trapped inside the house's walls. Let alone, Garfield will even smile or make sardonic comments at Jon's unlucky nature. And for the latter two issues, Garfield merely drew a crude stick figure or smiley face on the wall or basket.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: With Jon, according to Liz. In one strip, he even puts on hair curlers just to get into character as a naggy, old wife.
  • Never My Fault: His typical form of self-chastisement.
    Garfield: [after he hits Odie with cymbals] Oh, sure! Blame me!
    Garfield: [after he knocks the potted plant off the table, loosens the screws on the ceiling lamp, and puts a ruler underneath the open window] Why is it that I'm blamed for everything around here?
  • Not a Morning Person: One strip has him declaring that mornings should not start until noon.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He wants to be the only one to kick Odie around, refusing to let other characters abuse Odie in any form.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: If Garfield is refusing to eat his favorite meals, then you know something's wrong.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: This strip. Keep in mind that he had already established "I hate Mondays" as a Catchphrase.
    • Invoked in this strip.
    • Also invoked at the end of Garfield's Halloween Adventure:
      Garfield: Odie, I'm about to do something that's really out of character for me. But seeing that you saved my my life about 10 bazillion times tonight, I'm going to give you something that's very close to me. Something that really represents who I am. Here's your half of the Halloween candy.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Despite his rather easy, spoiled life he never seems fully satisfied.
  • Pie in the Face: Garfield used to be the frequent target of "Splut!" pies, which made that noise when they hit his face.
  • Really Fond of Sleeping: Garfield is very fond of his catnaps. Sleeping and eating are his major hobbies or pastime activities.
  • Ring Ring CRUNCH: He regularly smashes his alarm clock, also a telephone and an ice cream truck.
  • Security Blanket: He sometimes cuddles up with his teddy bear, Pooky, and/or his blue blanket.
  • Silent Snarker: He doesn't speak, he apparently thinks out loud. Whether or not other characters can understand him varies from strip to strip.
  • Sleepyhead: He once slept through an entire strip. Come the next day, he woke up and declared, "You know it's Monday when you wake up and it's Tuesday."
  • Spiders Are Scary: He loves splatting them, specially with newspapers.
  • Stout Strength: For being an overweight house cat, Garfield can be amazingly strong when he's motivated enough. He once smashed an ice cream truck after the noise kept him from sleeping. On another occasion, when he and Jon started poking each other with sticks, he tore an entire tree up by the roots and brought it into the house to try and poke Jon. He eventually tired out and the tree squished him, but the fact that Garfield was able to do it in the first place is an amazing feat by itself. Other strips have Garfield subvert it by flexing his fat so that he looks like he has huge muscles. Jon is stunned at the sight, while Arlene simply waits and watches to see how long Garfield can hold that pose.
  • Talking Animal: Subverted; his speech is represented through thought bubbles, a-la Snoopy. Due to the Rule of Funny, Jon can understand him only if Jon's understanding is necessary for the punchline.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: He's a bad influence on both Jon and Odie.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Lasagna. However, it's rarely mentioned nowadays and seems to have been replaced with pizza. Then again, Italian cuisine as a whole seems to be this for him.
    • Lasagna is utilized in excess in both animated series however.
    • Jim Davis admitted once he wished he made pizza Garfield's favorite as it's easier to draw.
  • Truth in Television: Jim Davis himself was surprised when he heard testimonials about how much people's cats love lasagna, even though Garfield's own love for lasagna was conceived through Rule of Funny.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: The absolute king of this trope. Garfield is lazy, mean and selfish, and he loves to torment Jon and Odie just for fun.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He once punched out a female cat simply for eating his food. He also physically attacked a Girl scout for her cookies off-screen and hosed Arlene with a fire hydrant as payback for refusing to go out on a date with him. In a 1979 strip, he grabbed Irma by the neck when she refused to serve cats.
  • Your Mom:
    • In one strip, when Garfield stands on the talking scale:
    Scale: Let me put it this way... Have you ever considered a career as a river barge?
    Garfield: Your mother was a blender!
    Scale: That hurt.
    • In another strip (as well as Garfield Goes Hollywood), when he does his act on the fence, he tells his audience: "All your mothers wear army boots!"
    • Yet another strip, Jon tries to train Garfield to be an "attack cat", and makes a dummy from him to practice. When he orders "Attack!", Garfield tells the dummy: "Your mother wears combat boots!"
    • Another strip has Garfield arrive at a back alley populated with stray dogs. He provokes them by telling them that their mothers wore flea collars.


     Jon Arbuckle 

Jonathan Quincy "Jon" Arbuckle
"You know, Garfield, sometimes I think my life has been a failure... that I'm a loser and a bore... but then I get out my lint collection and I know it's been worth it.'

Garfield's owner, a (supposed) cartoonist who works from home, and the most prominent human in the strip. For most of the strip, he was a simple enough bachelor who cared for Garfield, but eventually grew to be portrayed as a stereotypical 'cat person' and total loser jerkass. His personality hit a watershed in the late 2000s when he and Liz finally became the Official Couple.

  • Ambiguous Disorder: His naivete, odd hobbies and sometimes unusual lines of thinking certainly give off the impression that not all is well upstairs.
  • Aside Glance: The other prime user of this trope, usually in response to one of Garfield's remarks.
  • Author Avatar: Somewhat - Jim Davis, like Jon, grew up on a farm, has had some out-there dating experiences, and is a cartoonist.
  • Born Unlucky: Almost nothing goes right for him.
    Jon: You wouldn't believe my day, Garfield. First, I tripped and fell down six flights of stairs. When I landed, I got my head stuck in a bucket of pork chops. Then, a roaming pack of hungry wolves mistook me for lunch...and chased me into an open elevator shaft, which wouldn't have been so bad had it not been for the rabid shaft badgers.
  • Butt-Monkey: It seems the whole universe hates him, with rarely anything ever going right for him.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' / Laser-Guided Karma: Almost anytime he outsmarts, tricks or taunts Garfield, karma strikes him down "like a one-winged duck." (When Garfield's the one who outsmarts/tricks/taunts Jon, karma is Garfield's friend.)
  • Casanova Wannabe: Until Liz finally caved in and became his willing girlfriend.
    • Good thing, since his dates with other women also used to end in tragedy.
    • Ironically, there were at least two instances of dates that Jon had before he and Liz finally hooked up where the girl genuinely liked him, but Jon never followed through because he couldn't cope with the quirks of his date (Bertha and Kimmy). Also, Jon has mentioned having other girlfriends before Liz became his girlfriend.
  • The Chew Toy: His abuse has never failed to make the readers laugh over the years.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Here's one example:
    Jon: I think my toes are jealous of my fingers because they get to point at things.
  • The Ditz: Whether it's the snowball fights against Garfield or attempting to save his dinner from Garfield, much of the strip's humor relies on Jon's ignorance. He's very gullible, can fail even the most basic tasks, and does things in a very poorly-conceived way.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Although very, very, rare. Jon has his moments where he's had enough of Garfield's abuse and decides to retaliate against him and actually wins.
  • Dreadful Musician: Many strips over the years have been dedicated to him singing badly, to the annoyance of Garfield and/or Odie, such as this one. Completely averted in the animated specials and Garfield and Friends, where Jon was given several opportunities to show off Thom Huge's singing skills.
  • Eccentric Artist: Although his job as a cartoonist is often downplayed, he is certainly an odd character.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Garfield is always stealing his dinners and (even did so on Jon's birthday!). Garfield on at least 2 occasions admitted he wants Jon to feel miserable about this - the first involved chocolate pudding, the second was when Jon tried surrendering his dinner in the first place but Garfield stole it after feigning rejection of it.
  • Failure Is the Only Option:
    • The Jon/Liz relationship until the late 2000s.
    • Also, most attempts at outsmarting Garfield.
  • Flanderization: He was originally portrayed as an ordinary young bachelor and The Straight Man to Garfield's mischievous antics, but during The '80s gradually began to devolve into a Straw Loser in comparison to Garfield (while the strip run on April 16, 1979 was the first to depict Jon's goofier, more nerdy side, this only became a major component of his character during the early 90's), hitting a nadir during the late Nineties and early 2000s (until his long-time crush Liz finally hooked up with him in 2006, resulting in a minor de-Flanderization). However, Jon's nerdier traits are often dialed back in the animated adaptations.
  • Hidden Depths: When Jon really tries and stows his ill-conceived notions of machoism, he can be legitimately thoughtful and charming. There are a few occasions when he genuinely sweeps Liz off her feet after they become a couple.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: What he usually wears on a date.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: His hobbies include sorting socks and making toast.
  • Lethal Chef: Jon is fine on everyday meals, but his attempts to produce something special invariably have results that even Garfield would rather starve than eat.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: With Garfield, according to Liz.
    Jon: I want a divorce!
    Garfield: I get the fridge!
  • Literal-Minded: Seems to be this at time—once, he went on a date with a woman named "Cindy," who was said to like the "strong, silent type" when it came to her taste in men. So Jon decided to dress up as a muscle-bound mime for their date.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Davis took Jon's name from a coffee commercial.
  • Manchild: From his fashion taste to the ways he spends his spare time, it's obvious that he has practically no life.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: "Sneaky" and "adventure".
  • The Noseless: With the way he's drawn, it looks more like he just has a really long philtrum leading from his lips to his eyes instead of a nose. This hasn't stopped Garfield from shoving a tiny suit and a camera up his nose at various points.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Although Jon is ostensibly a cartoonist, he's rarely seen doing anything besides occasionally go out on dates and sit around the house being just as bored as his pets.
    • In the comic strip anyway (though it is referenced from time to time). In both animated series, we do hear more of his work and occasionally see him working on his cartoons.
  • Polka Dork: He loves polka and plays the accordion.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Prior to hooking up with Liz, one strip had Jon dress up wearing baggy clothes, a backwards facing cap, and talk in a more "hip" lingo in an attempt to pick up women. It ends with him tripping and falling on his face when his pants fell to his ankles.
    Garfield: Word.
  • Straw Loser: Jon was Flanderized into this over the first two decades of the strip's run, becoming possibly the biggest loser in the world by the mid-Nineties so that Garfield, with his laziness, gluttony, and general lack of doing anything in the comic other than just laying there can seem cool by making wisecracks at his expense. It's pretty sad when you're a Straw Loser to a cat (although in 2006, his unrequited romantic interest Liz fell for him and they began officially dating, which, apparently, takes some of the points off his Loser Scale.)
  • Terrible Pick-Up Lines: Jon is characterized heavily by his terrible come-ons.
  • This Loser Is You: "Sometimes you're lucky...and sometimes you're Jon."
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: In the early years of the strip, he was a fairly normal person who frequently saw through Garfield's antics, clearly sustained a few friends during his life (most notably Lyman) and had a fairly active lifestyle with interests befitting typical men of his age group (in an early strip, he is even depicted as having subscribed to a bachelor magazine). Since the mid-Nineties, however, he's become a total moron who finds interest in exaggeratedly mundane activities (such as filling in dot-to-dot books and completing two-piece puzzles) that often cross into Manchild territory, mistakes sudoku for crosswords, accidentally fries his hat for dinner, apparently serving it to Garfield without noticing, (and wears a live chicken on his head in its place), unknowingly wears his underwear in public whilst attempting to attract a date and mistakes an upside down restaurant menu for French. His animated versions dial it back somewhat, though are still pretty clueless.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After many years of bad dates and pining for Liz, in 2006, Jim Davis has Jon and Liz become an item. Liz finally admits to Jon that she loves him and she becomes his long-term girlfriend.
    • Before that, he actually managed to get a real date. Granted, the woman in question was a bit of a Gonk, but despite that she had a lovely personality, and they both had a wonderful time.
    • Garfield will give Jon credit if he feels he deserves it. For instance.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ever since this strip, almost all of Jon's dinners are a plate of meatloaf, buttered mashed potatoes and peas. Most of the time he doesn't get to eat it though, cause Garfield keeps stealing it.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He hates mice, as he always complains to Garfield about not chasing them.


"That's not a dog, that's a tongue with eyeballs and feet."

Introduced in the strip's first year as Lyman's pet dog (see below), but later Retconned to be Jon's dog. He's pretty much portrayed as wide-eyed, drooling and dumb.

  • Achievements in Ignorance: He once climbed a tree because he didn't know that he couldn't.
    • Pretty much anything Odie does is because of this.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Ever since his character design first changed.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. He is often shown to have a spot on both sides.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: He used to walk on four legs much like Garfield did, but is now bipedal.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Odie isn't above taking revenge on Garfield, and he occasionally stands up to him too.
  • Beyond the Impossible: One episode of the first animated series had him instead of burying bones in the backyard, he would automobiles...with the drivers still inside of them (not to worry, no one was in any real trouble; they were all mostly above ground and just really annoyed by it and honking and grumbling to get out as it was more of an inconvenience for them than anything else.)
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Nermal. One Garfield and Friends episode had Garfield trick him into running away. While Garfield found it funny, Odie began menacing him until he relented and went to bring him back home.
  • The Ditz: Sometimes he appears to be this, but see Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Is constantly smiling and drooling. No matter how many times Garfield's kicked him off the table, Odie still prefers to stand on the edge of the table and never suspects when Garfield's behind him.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Odie occasionally gets back at Garfield, including the psychological bullying on Garfield on each of his birthdays for getting older. Odie makes Garfield get a taste of his own medicine in this strip. Odie has been far more successful in this trope towards Garfield than Jon has.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Not to Jon's extent, but Garfield has often stolen Odie's dinner.
  • Fat and Skinny: The skinny to Garfield's fat.
  • Genius Ditz: In The Garfield Show in particular, where he occasionally displays outright action hero tendencies and is sometimes more observant of things than even Garfield himself. He's still a drooling imbecile the rest of the time however.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: He's constantly the victim of Garfield's pranks, and yet he still is perpetually happy and likes Garfield nonetheless.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: When his much smaller brain doesn't obscure things, he's shown a very loyal and forgiving treatment towards Garfield and Jon. That's not to say he doesn't take the odd opportunity to get revenge however...
    • He has a lot of compassion and affection for Nermal.
  • Nice Guy: A very loyal dog, to both Jon and even Garfield.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sometimes done for laughs. For instance, one strip shows him waiting for Jon and Garfield to leave the house and then watching a TV series on Mozart with a copy of War and Peace at the side. Another arc showed him to be good at sudoku. There's another one involve him looking like he accidentally locked himself in the car, while him, Jon and Garfield is on a picnic, but turns out he actually locked them out so he could eat the food himself, while forcing Jon and Garfield to wait outside while it was raining.
    • In this 1983 strip, Jon sees a smug Odie beating a disgusted Garfield in 5-card draw poker.
      Jon: I don't believe it.
      Garfield: Neither do I. Odie just drew to an inside straight.
    • Usually avoided in the animated series, particularly in The Garfield Show where it's a solid fact he's as stupid as he looks.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Some strips show it to be even longer than his body.
  • Parental Favoritism: A pet variety—Jon prefers his dog over his cat, although this is justified, as the former doesn't give him any kind of grief.
  • Perpetual Smiler: What's shown here is his default expression.
  • The Pollyanna: Nothing puts a permanent dent in his good cheer, though as far as Garfield is concerned, it's because he's too dumb to know better.
  • Retcon: His origin. See above.
  • Silent Snarker: He has rare moments of it and it's always towards Garfield.
  • The Speechless:
    • He's the only animal in the strip that doesn't speak through thought bubbles, except for one early strip where he told Lyman "I'm hungry". While Odie was easy to understand since all he did was get kicked in the ass by Garfield off the table or slobber everywhere, starting in the early 2000s Garfield often explains what Odie does or intends to the reader.
    • In the animated series and CGI movies, Odie does talk (albeit rarely) in English like "Yeah!", "Hello!", "Right!", "I don't know" and "My bone!"
  • Sudden Name Change: In Jon, his name was "Spot". His name was changed to make it less generic.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: At the end of A Garfield Thanksgiving, he is shown to have put on a good amount of weight after the big meal, prompting Jon to put him on a diet...the following day.


"Cute is my life."

The self-proclaimed "world's cutest kitten". Initially a kitten owned by Jon's mom, Nermal also had his origin blatantly retconned. He's now just a neighborhood cat who wanders into Garfield's house at random times.

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He always mocks Garfield about his weight and/or age.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Does this to Garfield, who then proceeds to throw Nermal through the door or stuff him inside a package and try to ship him off to Abu Dhabi.
  • Comic-Book Time: Parodied. Nermal has been a kitten since the strip's second year. In several strips, Garfield has asked Nermal how he stays young, and Nermal has revealed that he's a midget who uses extensive anti-aging therapy and deliberately stunts his own growth.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Since the '90s, Nermal has a tendency to disappear from the strip for a long period of time then return - the longest of these absences being between July 1989 and June 1993 (between which he received a redesign, making him larger and ironically less cute than before) and between June 2004 and May 2008.
  • Cute Is Evil: Not exactly evil, but he tends to be downright mean to Garfield.
  • Cute Kitten: Many strips refer to him as "Nermal, the world's cutest kitten".
  • Drop-In Character: Except for early strips, he just wanders into Garfield's house unnanounced.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Made even more obvious on Garfield and Friends, where he has a very obviously female voice actor (Desirée Goyette). The Spanish dub even called him gatita (female kitten) before correcting it later on.
    • The CGI direct-to-DVD movies and The Garfield Show, however does match him with a masculine voice (Jason Marsden).
  • Good Is Not Nice: He's on Garfield's side, but he never misses an opportunity for snarky comments and being mean to Garfield for his own self benefit.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In this comic strip logo box, Nermal is portrayed as the Fantastic Four's Human Torch and tries to put out the fire on his tail.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Has his moments sometimes, even occasionally on the CG series and specials.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to Garfield's manly man.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Was female in the Spanish dub before he got turned back into a male.
  • Smug Snake: He never misses a chance to remind Garfield that he's cute and young, while Garfield is fat and old.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the CG specials and series, his Bitch in Sheep's Clothing tendencies have been amped up.

     Liz Wilson 

Doctor Elizabeth "Liz" Wilson
"It's not the veterinary medicine I mind. It's some of the animals I have to work with."

Garfield and Odie's vet, and the frequent target of Jon's affection. Although Jon spent a good quarter century trying to date her with minimal success, she finally gave in.

  • Ascended Extra: Especially in the cartoon, but in the strip as well starting in 2006, after she and Jon become an Official Couple.
  • Character Development: After she finally gave in and became Jon's girlfriend, she changed from being little more than The Comically Serious to a more sympathetic type.
  • Deadpan Snarker: To Jon's lame pickup lines.
    Jon: Gee, what a pretty name. Is that short for Elizabeth?
    Liz: No, it's short for Lizard. (Jon makes an annoyed face)
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She's gotten a bit softer to Jon as they've grown closer.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    Jon: What a pretty name! Is it short for Elizabeth?
    Liz: No, it's short for Lizard.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: She's taken it upon herself whenever she and Jon go on dates now to sort through Jon's wardrobe and force him to pick something that isn't so tacky, people are going to scream in horror. She's got her work cut-out for her. On at least one occasion she's forced Jon to put Garfield on the phone so he can tell her how Jon is dressed; He loudly hacked up a hairball.
  • Long Bus Trip: Her last failed date with Jon was in 2000. After that, she didn't appear again until July 2006, where she and Jon were finally hooked up.
  • Ms. Vice Girl: Liz is a cynic, sarcastic, and smart-mouthed woman but is never portrayed as much of a jerk, just a independent woman trying to keep herself away from people trying to flirt with her. She is actually a really nice person who loves animals and her boyfriend Jon.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Donuts, but she resists the urge to eat them.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Several strips bring up the question of why she's attracted to Jon, but she never gives an answer.
  • Women Are Wiser: Though considering the men she's compared to are Jon, Garfield, and Odie, that's an unbelievably low bar to jump over.


"Vanity, thy name is Garfield."

Garfield's on-again-off-again girlfriend. She first appeared in the strip in 1981, and has shown up occasionally over the decades. Most of her appearances involve Garfield trying to win her love (and failing miserably), or her trying to woo him, but Garfield being too full of himself to notice. She is distinguished from the other lady-cats Garfield has chatted up by her plain (though pink) coat, large lips, and gap-toothed smile.

  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: She's a pink cat.
  • Ascended Extra: She plays an important role in the CGI movie trilogy.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT make fun of the gap between her front teeth.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Before her reappearance in 2008, she could've been this as she didn't appear in the strip for nine years.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Tended to appear fairly sparsely in the strip even after her introduction in 1980, only appearing in ten strips during the 1990s (and she didn't speak in one of them), before disappearing entirely outside of Sunday strip logo boxes between 1999 and 2008. Thankfully, since 2008, this seems to have finally been averted, as she is now making more regular (almost monthly) appearances.
  • Cool Big Sis: Though She and Nermal don't interact much (if at all) in the strip, in cartoons where they share screen time, Arlene does act this way toward him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She dishes it out just as good as Garfield can.
  • Insult Backfire: In a 1989 strip, Arlene refused to go on a date with Garfield when he asked her out and replied "Blow it out your fire hydrant, blimpo" before Garfield hosed her with it.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Most of the time, Garfield is kind of a jerkass to her. In her very first appearance, he made fun of her teeth.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: She's pink, has long eyelashes, and seems to wear lipstick.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: She likes to eat mice, which Garfield dislikes.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Garfield's fat, arrogant, egotistical and shows no respect for Arlene yet she still dates him. Garfield even refused to kiss her at the conclusion of several of their dates. She has asked herself that question on at least one occasion.


Secondary Characters


The waitress at a diner that Garfield and Jon frequently attend. In one of her earliest appearances, she declined serving Garfield because of a no-cats policy but the angry cat intimidated her into compliance.
  • Adapted Out: She's so far the only recurring character in the comic strip who never made it into an animated adaptation.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Is said to run the diner around the clock with no help - albeit with clear effects on her mental health.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Because of the "Chicken Surprise", Jon decided it's time to call the hospital on her.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Went missing for more than 7 years between March 1992 to July 1999.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Irma offers (beef, turkey, chicken, buffalo, tofu, veggie or ostrich) burgers and (orange, sauerkraut, grapefruit and pickle) juices.
  • The Ditz: Can be quite dumb.
  • Lethal Chef: She often serves inedible food that has been outdated, unsanitary or improperly made. One time when Jon ordered the chili, she required that he sign a waiver first.
  • Literal-Minded: Many times. When Jon asked Irma how her (beef/pork) ribs are, she responded "Ticklish" and when Jon asked her what's on the menu, she replied a coffee ring and ketchup stains.
  • The Unreveal: She's had chefs like Tony and Bubba who have never been seen in the comics.

     The Arbuckle Family 

Jon and Doc's father who lives in a farm where Jon grew up.

Jon and Doc's mother. She always fixes too much food for her family and still treats Jon like a little boy.
  • Catch Phrase: Eat, eat, eat!
  • Doting Grandparent: To Garfield—since neither of her sons have kids of their own (at least not yet), Garfield and, by extension, Odie are the closest she and her husband have to grandkids.
  • I Want Grandkids: When was first introduced, the first thing see her say to Jon (besides "Eat, eat, eat!") is "You should meet some nice girl, settle down, start a family." She's since returned to this rhetoric after Jon and Liz began dating, flat out stating she wants to see grandchildren before she dies.
  • No Name Given: Her first and maiden last name have never been revealed.
  • Running Gag: She makes very poorly-crafted sweaters for Garfield, leaving out a hole and making a turtleneck's neck sleeve too long.
  • Supreme Chef: Especially in potatoes and pies.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Last appeared in 2008.

Doc "Doc Boy" Arbuckle
Jon's younger brother who lives with his parents at the family ranch.
  • Berserk Button: When Jon calls him "Doc Boy" (though he prefers it over "Iguana Gums").
  • Big Eater: He eats fairly more than Jon does and is also a bit overweight. This could be his mother's fault since his mom always fixes too much food.
  • Catch Phrase: "Don't call me Doc Boy!"
  • The Dutiful Son: Unlike Jon, he stayed with his parents to take care of the family farm.
  • Manchild: He's easily just as immature as Jon, if not more immature. Also, Doc Boy's usually portrayed as being unintelligent to the point of making Jon look like a genius by comparison.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: He looks almost exactly like his father.

    Herman Post 

Herman Post
"Stand aside, cat. I know karate."
The mailman that Garfield tortures on a constant basis.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hasn't made any on panel apperance, or even been mentioned, since 2002.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": Officially, his name is Herman Post, but he's most commonly known as simply 'the mailman'.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Several times, the Mailman managed to turn the tables on Garfield. He used a knight's armor, a snake, a tank, a guard dog, a buff assistant named Waldo, and in a Sunday logo box he came with karate skills.


Live-Action Movie Characters

     Happy Chapman 

Happy Chapman
"Be happy!"

The head of a talk show who has dognapped Odie.

  • Big Bad: Of the first film.
  • Catchphrase: "Be happy!"
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: While he may look like he lives up to his name, in reality he is very arrogant, allergic to cats, and wants a dog to star in his show to overshadow his more successful twin brother newscaster Walter.
    Happy Chapman: Oh, please, what a know-it-all! And everybody always said I was the handsome one, I was the smart one, and I was born first. But there you are "live from the Hague". And here I am working with this sack of dander on a dead-end regional morning show.
  • Evil Counterpart: Happy Chapman appears to be this to Garfield character Binky the Clown, as both characters are kid's show hosts, except Chapman is eviler.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Happy Chapman when Jon declines his TV promotion for Odie after he wins the dog show—though Chapman does pretend to be good with rejection.
  • Plot Allergy: His allergic reaction to cats is why he prefers dogs.
  • Precision F-Strike: Happy says "Damned cat allergies" after doing a show with cats.


"Oh, no. Not the ducks again!"

A neighbor dog that likes antagonizing Garfield.

  • Dog Stereotype: Downplayed. For the first part of the movie, he acts as the usual tough and aggressive guard Doberman pinscher, ready to maul Garfield for taunting him. But for the second part of the movie, he interacts a little bit with Garfield without jumping at him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He calls Garfield out for causing Odie to run away by locking him out of the house.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • He's been eager to maul Garfield for the latter's taunting, but even he cheers when Garfield comes back to the cul-de-sac as a hero.
    • He scolds Garfield alongside Arlene and Nermal for how he treats Odie.

     Lord Dargis 

Lord Dargis

A royal British man who wants to get rid of Prince.

  • Big Bad: Of the second film.
  • Cosmic Deadline: A villainous example: in order for Carlyle Estate to pass on to him, Lord Dargis has to get rid of Prince before the lawyers arrive to sign the deeds over to Prince. He thinks he's succeeded, and has a massive Oh, Crap! moment when he realizes Prince is still alive.
  • Dartboard of Hate: The greedy Lord Dargis is throwing darts at a portrait of Prince (who looks exactly like Garfield) when the phone rings. As Dargis answers the phone, a goat places a mousetrap next to his darts. Then Dargis hangs up and reaches for another dart, only for the mousetrap to snap his hand.
  • Evil Brit: He is British, after all.
  • Evil Chancellor: (perhaps justifiably) outraged when his aunt Eleanor leaves her entire estate to her cat rather than him, and resolves to get Prince out of the way before the deeds can be signed over to him.
  • Groin Attack: Dargis is subjected to one. From a rottweiler, no less.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dargis tries to train his rottweiler, Rommel, to seek out Prince (actually Garfield) and savage him to death. Winston the English bulldog intercepts Rommel before he can do so and retrains him to attack Dargis' trousers, leading to the aforementioned Groin Attack.



A royal cat who resembles Garfield.

Discontinued Characters


Jon's roommate, who appeared two months into the strip. He was initially Odie's owner, and was intended to provide the role of someone that Jon could talk to, until Garfield took over in that role. As a result, Lyman totally disappeared from the strip.

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Such a prominent example that the trope could easily have been named "The Lyman". He appeared less and less in the strip between 1981 and 1982 (and not at all in the Here Comes Garfield special), finally vanishing completely after April 1983. According to Jim Davis, he joined the Peace Corps and was never heard from again.
    • Finally averted in 2012, when Lyman returned from a 24-year absence in an episode of The Garfield Show entitled "Long Lost Lyman". It was explained that the character had taken a job as a wildlife photographer and had gotten lost searching for a mythical creature. It's revealed that said mythical creature was a myth propagated by a retired surgeon who dressed up as the monster to chase off illegal hunters and poachers. Lyman took up the cause after his passing.
    • For decades, Jim Davis's standard response to questions about Lyman's whereabouts was, quote: "Don't look in Jon's basement!"
      • This was lampshaded in the first Haunted House game on the site, where venturing down into the basement reveals a dungeon... and Lyman chained up in a dingy cell.
      • In an older version of the website, if you went to the store section he was working the counter.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He did odd things like try to take Odie out on a walk during a blizzard, name all 4 of his former cats "Cat" and had a bizarre taste in fashion.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Was prone to this between the time he ceased being a regular major character in August 1980 and his final appearance in April 1983 - often, he would be absent for up to six months at a time, make a silent cameo appearance in one strip, then be absent for another six months.
  • Demoted to Extra: Prior to being written out, he was a major for the first two years, before being demoted to a minor character through the remainder he appeared.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Lyman was excited to watch a movie simply about a kid who puts a tack in his teacher's chair for her to sit on it. Jon questions if that constitutes a plot worthy of being shown on cinemas.
  • Perpetual Smiler: As opposed to Jon, who was a Perpetual Frowner.

    Hubert and Reba 

Hubert and Reba

An elderly couple living next to Jon. They frequently witness and comment on Jons antics. Gradually disappeared from the comic since January 19th, 1992. Also made an appearance in Here Comes Garfield.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: In "Here Comes Garfield", Hubert is portrayed as hostile towards Garfield and Odie (which is not entirely without justification as Garfield tore up their yard and knocked a bunch of flowers and dirt on Hubert's head), calling the animal shelter personnel to remove them. In the comic, he never shows any hostility towards Garfield.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Reba in this comic and this comic.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Hubert is a textbook example, as pretty much all his appearances see him complain about or criticize Jon.
  • One Steve Limit: Possibly an accidental aversion; Garfield also had an uncle named Hubert and an aunt named Reba.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: