INTERVIEW WITH JIM DAVIS, CREATOR OF GARFIELD THE CAT

“Cat won’t drag you out into blizzard just to piddle on a tree” says Garfield. Despite the feline and the canine torment of the comic strip, we all know Garfield genuinely loves Odie, an experience both sweet and comical, and one that many of us who live with both cats and dogs may observe. After having lived and breathed Garfield for 28 years, Jim Davis says we need to be serious about living life in good humor. Today, Garfield the comic strip appears in nearly 2,600 newspapers around the globe, its readership is estimated at 260 million and currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip. Garfield’s second movie is in theaters this summer. Surely, the movie will do exactly what it sets out to do: entertain kids and everyone else with a fondness for animals!

HOUSEPET: Hello Mr. Davis. It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Housepetmagazine.com. Of course, our first question is: Do you have any house pets? If so, can you tell us about them?

DAVIS: I have two dogs and a cat. Molly is a chocolate lab — very sweet but getting older and arthritic. She enjoys being outdoors and taking an occasional dip in the pond. Pooky is more of a pampered indoors lapdog — a little white fluffy Yorkie. I also have a cat…Spunky. She spends most of her time in the greenhouse in my studio. In the winter, her name changes to “Chunky”. She’s an American Shorthair.

HOUSEPET: Any advice for all the sweet dogs out there who must live with cats in the same house?

DAVIS: Lay low and stay out of the cat food.

HOUSEPET: Have you ever come across a dog in your life who is as cynical and lazy as Garfield is?

DAVIS: Never. Dogs live for acceptance and love — cats could care less. If a dog sees a squirrel or rabbit, he’s off like a shot. Cats tend to weigh the energy expenditure they’ll have to make before they make a move.

HOUSEPET: I live with a cat and a dog too. Sometimes I think I am being mistreated just like John Arbuckle. What are the first signs that people should see before it goes too far?

DAVIS: It’s gone too far when your cat controls the remote control.

HOUSEPET: Mark (age 29) “My cat tries to stand on his rear legs too. Should I encourage that? I am afraid.” –

DAVIS: Weird. I’d say you have a rather talented cat — or at least a highly evolved cat. I’m no vet, so I can’t answer whether or not you should encourage it — if it were me, I’d not only encourage it, but I’d try to teach the cat to tango.

HOUSEPET: From Kutan (age 30) ” Mr. Davis, my cat wakes me up at 5:30 am every morning to be fed. Does John Arbuckle have a trick that I can use to stop this torture? 

DAVIS: Get a new cat. Seriously, you may have to just refuse to budge — show your cat who’s boss. Yeah, right.

HOUSEPET: From Alice (age 20) “Has John ever taken Odie to an animal communicator?”

DAVIS: No, Odie communicates everything he needs to with his tail and his tongue. It would be rather interesting though if an animal communicator discovered Odie had a high IQ and spent time thinking about molecular science.

HOUSEPET: Odie is a good boy. He seems very well trained. Almost flawless. He seems good off the leash, responds well to John’s callings, never destroys furniture. How come he’s so well trained?

DAVIS: Odie was originally owned by Jon’s college roommate Lyman, who did a great job of training Odie. Maybe Odie is trying to make up for all of Garfield’s shortcomings — if that’s the case, no wonder he’s an angel.

HOUSEPET: Will John ever pamper Odie with today’s ever changing dog fashion: massage therapy, spa treatments, couture clothing and gourmet food? How would Garfield react to that?

DAVIS: Garfield’s the only pet in the house allowed to have a Gucci scratching post. Jon Arbuckle is a pretty simple guy … I don’t think he’d go in for all that — but if he did, there’d be big, big, trouble. And by the way, if you do all that for your dog, in my next life I’d like to come back as your pet.

HOUSEPET: Can you tell us about Professor Garfield Foundation?

DAVIS: The Professor Garfield Foundation learning portal (www.professorgarfield.org) is a fun interactive online environment where children can safely explore, learn and creatively express themselves. The Foundation (PGF) was formed in 2003 as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization to provide children, parents, and teachers an opportunity to enhance and support classroom learning in new and innovative ways.

The PGF Learning Portal is a partnership between Paws, Inc., the world headquarters of Garfield the Cat, and Ball State University, one of the preeminent educators of classroom teachers in the world.

PGF offers fun, engaging and transforming educational content for school children between kindergarten and 8th grade. The educational content is upgraded continuously and presented in a popular culture entertainment format. All of the content has been reviewed by educational experts and tested in classroom settings.

HOUSEPET: What are Garfield’s future plans? And, of course, Odie’s?

DAVIS: Garfield has a new movie coming out on June 16th, Garfield’s A Tail of Two Kitties. He’s also working on some direct-to-video projects and has a bunch on new video games on the market. For a lazy cat, he’s a busy fellow — so I expect he’ll squeeze in a 5 1/2 week-long nap sometime soon, and then probably devour a lasagna the size of Rhode Island. Odie will continue to drool, chase his tail, and put up with Garfield. Thanks for your fun questions! And best of luck to all you pet owners out there!

Thank you Jim Davis for making the time to speak with us here at Housepet!