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Heated Debate Forces ‘Garfield’ Creator Jim Davis to Clarify Cat’s Gender

A heated, days-long online debate over the gender of iconic cartoon cat Garfield has forced the fictional feline’s creator Jim Davis to provide a definitive explanation.

“Garfield is male,” Davis told the New York Daily News via his publicist.

“He has a girlfriend, Arlene,” he added, referring to Garfield’s longtime love interest.

In February, writer Virgil Texas took to his Twitter account to declare that the lasagna-loving cat had no gender. As proof, Texas cited a 2014 interview that Davis conducted with the outlet Mental Floss, in which the cat’s creator had said that by virtue of being a cat, “he’s not really male or female or any particular race or nationality, young or old.”

The writer updated Garfield’s Wikipedia page accordingly.

But that reportedly sparked a back-and-forth “Wikipedia war,” with users editing and re-editing the character’s entry to explain what they thought might be the cat’s gender. According to the Daily News, the constant editing caused Wikipedia to ultimately lock the page.

But now the controversy has been put to bed.

In a statement, Davis said the comments he had made in the 2014 Mental Floss interview were “taken out of context.”

“I’ve always said that I wanted to work with animals because they’re not perceived as being any particular gender, race, age or ethnicity,” Davis said. “In that sense, the humor could be enjoyed by a broader demographic.”

 

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson

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