Celebrating the Cat Days of September

After the Dog Days of August, shouldn’t we have the Cat Days of September? Yes, this is an entirely made-up term, but it’s an excuse to post a few cat-related cartoons and see some of the various ways cats are portrayed in comics. Here’s a couple of Business Cats from LarK:


Garfield is possibly the most popular cartoon cat, so here’s one that may be a bit more timely than most, since ketchup’s been in the news lately.


This Get Fuzzy almost deserves a geezer tag, since soccer is now much more popular in the U.S. than it was a few decades ago and most of us can appreciate the action (or, at least, the theatrics of players barely touched pretending they are severely wounded).


A+? Who cares!


And what long-time cat owner hasn’t had one or two who preferred to stay hidden?

But at the other extreme we have the lively and intrusive cuties of Breaking Cat News:


No tour of various ways cats make their way into comics would be complete without one from B. Kliban.


That’s 8; we’ll leave our cartoon cats with one of their 9 lives left.

48 Comments

  1. It’s worth noting that the bottle in the Garfield strip is labeled “catsup“, not “ketchup”.

    P.S. There’s one more cat worth mentioning, but since he was already dead once, he doesn’t use up any of the nine lives.

  2. P.P.S. It seems like a minor break in tradition to have a post about cats that is not labeled “CIDU”, but most of these seem perfectly understandable, with the possible exception of the word “go” in the third panel of the second “Business Cat”: is that supposed to mean to “leave” or (to select an appropriate euphamism) to “do his business“? 😉

  3. “Ketchup brand promotes ketchup” doesn’t strike me as being “in the news”. Maybe that’s just me.

    The Get Fuzzy is copyright 2010. That doesn’t automatically make it geezer, but ….

  4. @ Powers – Not to stray too far into the political arena, but according to congressional testimony in June, an incident involving ketchup was reported to have taken place in the White House.

  5. Don’t forget Heathcliff, a comic that has become so surreal over the years that it almost feels like it’s being written by a bot.

  6. It doesn’t happen that often anymore, but once in a while one of Frazz’s “lesson / turnabout” cartoons strikes me as done just right.

  7. “but most of these seem perfectly understandable, with the possible exception of the word “go” in the third panel of the second “Business Cat”: is that supposed to mean to “leave” or (to select an appropriate euphamism) to “do his business“? 😉”

    I would say neither, but more like “let him go about his chosen cat activity” — which in this case is staring in near-mesmerized state at some phantom prey or threat, that remains totally invisible to humans, and probably also to fellow cats.
    Which puts the joke in the most often used one for Business Cat, which is the oddity of seeing this oddly humanized feline still using his cat instincts and habits, resulting in what is odd behavior for a human.

  8. @ Xine Fury – Heathcliff was never my favorite, but I didn’t read it that often because it wasn’t carried by our paper. Just now I was amused to discover that it predated Garfield by several years.

  9. Kliban’s cat drawings were worked into a toddler/children’s book a few years back, it was one of my daughter’s absolute favorites. I wound up getting her a regular book of Kliban’s cat cartoons, which she also loved.

  10. Ketchup in the news: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-broken-dishes-ketchup_n_62bb428ae4b0565316393a8f

    Kilby noticed that the cartoon uses “catsup” but the editor captioned “ketchup”. It’s interesting to word nerds that it’s only in the past 40 years or so that ketchup has become the preferred spelling; before that, it was catsup. https://writingexplained.org/catsup-vs-ketchup-difference#:~:text=Given%20the%20widespread%20preference%20for%20ketchup%20over%20catsup%2C,catsup%20would%20be%20serving%20as%20a%20proper%20noun. (OK, it’s not that interesting.)

  11. Since we’re mentioning comics from decades ago, how about something for Fat Freddy’s Cat? What, no other Freak Brothers fans out there?

  12. I can’t get no respect…!
    I submitted the two Business Cat cartoons because, after being mentioned here a few weeks ago, I read the archive, and of all the cartoons, these two I didn’t understand the cat behavior being juxtaposed to the business setting; I get that the joke is something that cats do that seems bizarre when juxtaposed to a CEO, but I don’t get these two specific cartoons in that I don’t understand the cat behavior they are referring to. Being as the call was out for more submissions, I dutifully submitted these two. (The submission got lost, the form for submissions was rediscovered, I resent my email trying to figure out why it didn’t arrive.) But I was told they weren’t worthy of a CIDU thread. (Rejection letters from CIDU, I’ve had a few…) But meanwhile, I still don’t understand these two strips! And now they ARE posted, but not as CIDUs!!
    I can’t get no respect around here!

    So, in memory of Bill, would someone please explain these two cartoons to me? (Mitch gave a lead for maybe what the second one is getting at a couple comments back, but I still have no clue as to the first one.)

  13. I don’t get the first one, either. But I LOVE the idea of a box full of cats. 🙂

    Also, thanks for Thatababy, I’ve added it to my roster

  14. As far as the staff is concerned, the office supplies are for the most part identical and interchangeable. If someone borrows a stapler (even from the CEO’s desk) and mistakenly returns a different one, nobody will know or care. But Business Cat does know perfectly well what his stapler smells like and what scratch marks and stains it has. And whatever this thing is that the staff are trying to foist on him, it is just not his own stapler.

  15. OK, so what cat behavior does this track back to? What things does a cat have that to us are fungible but to a cat aren’t, that aren’t immediate consumables? Cat toys? But how many do you have, that they aren’t automatically unique? Is it a question of trying to replace a lost toy, and the cat refusing to accept the replacement? But that wouldn’t scan with the cartoon, as you’re claiming the fungible stapler is not fungible to the cat — I think we’d all sympathize with a cat not accepting a new squeaky mouse, or at least understand what’s going on — I don’t think we’d view the squeaky mouse as fungible in this case. So what do we view as fungible that a cat doesn’t?

  16. Krazy, Snoball II, Top, Tom, Mooch, [don’t know], Garfield, Sylvester, [don’t know], [ooh, ohh..! ..don’t know], Hello, Stimpy, Felix, Heathcliff, in the Hat, Chesire, Klibban, Bill, Itchy, Ludwig, Bus from Totoro, inside are the Aristo’s.

  17. As a kid, my recollection is that only Heinz was “ketchup” and the rest “catsup”. I was the sort of kid that would notice and remember such things.

  18. My three dogs have dozens of toys; one wouldn’t put a toy in her mouth unless you slathered it with liverwurst first. The other two have about five toys they play with; the rest I may as well throw away. They ALWAYS pick the same ones out of their toy box every morning. And my Pool Fool has only ONE toy she’ll go into the pool to ‘rescue’. What’ll happen when it wears out, I’ve no idea.

    When a dog owner asks me what is a dog’s favorite toy, I answer, ‘The one the other dog has.’

    When we had six dogs and would give each of them a new toy for Christmas, one dog (@RB) would steal each new one and hide them all in Hubby’s office. A true ‘dog in the manger’.

  19. In the first Business Cat comic people are pointing to the stapler, like we usually do when referring to objects. Most cats don’t seem to understand the concept of pointing to objects.

    In the Kliban comic, the cats are packed in a tin, not just a box. A sardine tin. Although these cats were packed like sardines, they seem rather lively, unlike sardines.

  20. @ larK – The second of your three “I don’t knows” (immediately after Sylvester) isn’t really a cat: it’s the Pokemon sidekick to Team Rocket, called “Meowth. The third IDK escapes me, but the drawing style seems reminiscent of Disney or Hanna-Barbera. I have no clue on the first one.

    P.S. @ Brian in StL – I think your BCN example was meant to confirm what Mitch explained to larK (about “uniqueness”), not my first comment (about “going”).

    P.P.S. @ Brian – I can confirm your observation about Heinz’s spelling: I noticed that as a kid, too.

  21. @Grawlix: I’d entertained the pointing idea, only in the last panel, she is no longer pointing, but holds the stapler right under the cat’s nose, and the cat still says, “I don’t understand”. I mean, it could be, the cat doesn’t understand how the stapler suddenly got under its nose, since it wasn’t following the pointing before, but, then it should be going, “oh! There’s my stapler!”

  22. Krazy Kat of the eponymous strip
    Snoball II of The Simpsons
    Top Cat of the eponymous Hanna Barbera cartoon
    Tom of Tom & Jerry
    Mooch of Mutts
    [don’t know] of No Clue
    Garfield of the eponymous strip
    Sylvester from Warner Brothers cartoons
    Meowth of Pokémon sidekick Team Rocket
    a very familiar looking feline that no one has yet identified, but we’ll all probably kick ourselves when someone does
    Hello Kitty
    Stimpy of Ren & Stimpy
    Felix the Cat of the eponymous cartoons
    Heathcliff of the eponymous strip
    The Cat in the Hat of the eponymous book
    The Chesire Cat from the Disney Version of Alice in Wonderland
    a Klibban Cat
    Bill the Cat from Bloom County
    Itchy from the Itchy and Scratchy Show, a cartoon within The Simpsons
    Ludwig from Arlo and Janis
    Cat Bus from the movie My Neighbor Totoro
    The Aristocats from the eponymous Disney movie

  23. @ larK – I’m willing to live with seven “eponymous” appearances, but you need to delete the superfluous “b” from Kliban.

  24. @ larK – That leaves us with just one “unknown” in your list. Is there anyone else here who can identify the sixth cat in the “That-a-Baby” parade?

    P.S. Most of those cat have such wide eyes (especially Garfield) that one might think the’ve already been indulging in some consciousness-altering substance.

  25. Looks like the robotic cat from Lightyear. The new Disney movie about the “real” guy the toy was based on.

  26. P.P.S. Here’s the sequential list of the “That-a-Baby” cats, now complete:

    Krazy Kat (Herriman);
    Snoball II (Simpsons);
    Top Cat (Hanna-Barbera);
    Tom (Tom & Jerry);
    Mooch (McDonnell’s “Mutts”);
    Sox (Pixar’s “Lightyear”);
    Garfield (Jim Davis);
    Sylvester (Warner Bros. cartoons);
    Meowth (Pokémon, Team Rocket);
    Figaro (Disney’s “Pinocchio“);
    Hello Kitty (Sanrio);
    Stimpy (Ren & Stimpy);
    Felix the Cat (Sullivan/Messmer);
    Heathcliff (Gately/Gallagher);
    Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss);
    Chesire Cat (Disney’s “Alice”);
    a typical “Kliban” Cat;
    Bill the Cat (Breathed’s “Bloom County”);
    Itchy (Simpsons, “Itchy & Scratchy”);
    Ludwig (Johnson’s “Arlo and Janis”);
    Cat Bus (My Neighbor Totoro);
    The Aristocats (Disney).

  27. Even tho I don’t like cats (the last one I had any dealings with sent me to the ER), I DO like listening to Jackson Galaxy (especially his ‘What is Boop’ video), and today I discovered this one . . . reminded me of the ‘cat staring at the wall’ discussion somewhere above . . . he’s very amusing and has lovely tattoos, too.

  28. @MiB – I had to look Cicero up to make sure that was really Mutt. With his bald head, bow tie and a pair of parts that looks like a bad golf cours parody, Cicero looks more like a retiree than a school kid.

  29. Cicero is not exactly bald. He has one hair on the top of his head, sort of like Toots & Casper’s little baby boy.

    Chic Young said that the one big button on Dagwood’s shirt was easier to draw than the four or five little buttons you’d normally see. Maybe Bud Fisher found one hair easier to draw than a full head of hair.

    Cicero’s cat had a comic book of her own in the 1950’s, with I think two issues. She walked on two legs so that she could carry a fishing pole. Her name was Desdemona.

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