What Kind of Cat Is Garfield? Breed Information, Pictures, and Facts

Persian sticking tongue out
© iStock.com/adamdowdee282

Written by Katelynn Sobus

Published: April 13, 2023

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Garfield is an orange tabby cat of an unspecified breed. The official word from his creator, Jim Davis, is that Garfield isn’t one particular breed or even based off of a singular cat. Some people theorize that he could be a Persian, British Shorthair, or Maine Coon.

It’s also possible Garfield is just a domestic shorthair or longhair, which is essentially the mutt of the cat world.

This article will discuss Garfield’s breed: what we know, existing theories, and more.

Garfield’s Breed: What We Know for Certain

The only thing we truly know about Garfield is that he’s an orange tabby. Tabby isn’t a breed, but a coat pattern with a distinguishable “M” marking on the forehead and stripes throughout the body. Orange tabbies have lighter orange coats with darker markings and stripes.

Garfield’s markings are black to make them stand out more on his body, and his eyes hide his forehead where a real-life tabby would have that “M” shape.

Even Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis, said that Garfield isn’t a specific cat breed. Instead, he modeled him based on the many cats he met throughout his life. Davis formerly lived on a farm with twenty-five cats, so he had a lot of experience to draw from.

He said Garfield was mainly based on housecats he met and that humans also inspired his personality!

Therefore, Garfield’s breed is left open to interpretation. Some people think he’s a Persian, others think he’s a British Shorthair, and yet another theory is that he’s a Maine Coon. Let’s go over these three popular theories so that you can decide for yourself!

Theory #1: Persian

Perhaps the leading theory is that Garfield is a Persian. This is due to both his appearance and similarities in his behavior.

Persians have the following physical similarities to Garfield:

  • Short snouts
  • Large eyes
  • Some orange tabby Persians have lighter-colored markings around the mouth

Persians are also often a little lazy and love food. Of course, they shouldn’t be able to laze and eat lasagna like Garfield–but instead should be fed a balanced diet and have around 30-45 minutes of playtime daily.

Play is both exercise and mental stimulation for cats, as it closely mimics hunting. Most cats will get tired after a 10-15 minute play session, which should be repeated twice to thrice daily.

Persians are also known to be sweet and laid back, which isn’t so much like Garfield.

They’re known for being one-person cats who choose someone in the household to spend most of their time with. This is a lot like Garfield!

However, Persians can still love the other people in their family and can warm up to strangers, even if slowly. They might hide at first when new people come to visit.

Tabby Persian cat close-up

The leading theory is that Garfield is a Persian.

©Zanna Pesnina/Shutterstock.com

Theory #2: British Shorthair

I’ll admit, I didn’t think much about Garfield’s breed before researching for this article. But now? I’m all in on this theory.

My main argument? Garfield does look a lot like a Persian, but he isn’t shown as a long-haired cat.

British Shorthairs have the following physical features:

  • Large eyes
  • A short snout
  • Orange tabby coat with white markings often seen around the mouth (this area is yellow on Garfield)
  • Short fur

A downfall to this theory is that many orange tabby British Shorthairs have white markings throughout their bodies, while Garfield doesn’t. However, I have seen some kitties without these markings.

When it comes to personality, here are some similarities between Garfield and British Shorthairs:

  • Loyal
  • Not super cuddly, but love to spend time with family
  • Intelligent

These kitties also tend to be super friendly and are pretty active, so they do differ from Garfield in some ways as well.

Brown Cat Breeds

There are also some similarities between Garfield and British Shorthairs.


Theory #3: Maine Coon

Lastly, some people think Garfield is a Maine Coon because he’s a large cat. Maine Coons develop slowly, sometimes not reaching their full size until five years old. They stand a whopping 10-16 inches tall and weigh up to 25 pounds on average.

Like the others on this list, orange tabby Maine Coons sometimes have lighter patches of fur around their mouths. They don’t have Garfield’s short muzzle, though (but a longer snout is healthier for cats!).

Some personality similarities include:

  • Intelligent
  • Loving
  • A great sense of humor

Maine Coons are also friendly and gentle, whereas Garfield acts brasher and can be rude sometimes.

That concludes our list of theories on Garfield’s breed. It’s so fun to speculate about this famous cat, especially when there are truly no right or wrong answers! (Well… I guess we do know he’s not a tiger or a calico!)

Longest Cats - Maine Coon

Lastly, some people think Garfield is a Maine Coon because he’s a large cat.


Final Thoughts

Garfield may be a Persian, Maine Coon, British Shorthair, or none of the above. So it really depends on how you see him, unless we actually get an official answer in the future.

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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