Garfield is probably the first name that comes to mind when you think of cat comics, but a new breed of feline-friendly strips has emerged to the delight of cat lovers everywhere (and you don’t even have to pick up a newspaper to check them out!). Many of the comics are inspired by real kitties (or even written by them), and all are united through a mutual appreciation of feline quirks and the sense of joy these fuzzy creatures bring into our daily lives.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably already familiar with Cat Versus Human, the popular slice of life (with cats) comic by San Francisco Bay Area artist Yasmine Surovec. Through her always sweet and sometimes sarcastic comics, cat lovers everywhere now have a visual representation of what it means to be a modern-day cat person, and a means of commiserating and rejoicing over the quirks of our beloved felines.
After enjoying online success, Surovec released a book of her work last year, and continues to update her website with new posts every week.
Illustrated cats don’t always have to be one-dimensional characters, as proven by the Simon’s Cat series created by British illustrator Simon Tofield. To date, more than 232 million viewers have tuned in to view the exploits of Simon’s naughty kitty, who was inspired by Tofield’s four real-life cats Jess, Maisy, Hugh, and Teddy.
Paisley, otherwise known as Hey Pais, is an 8-year-old domestic shorthair cat who draws comics about her life. Pais was once a feral cat who was part of a Trap-Neuter-Return program. She was taken in by her owner (who she refers to as “The Girl”) when she caught a cold. The Girl nursed the then-1-year-old cat back to health, and the two have been best friends ever since. The comic chronicles Pais’ real and imagined everyday activities, as well as major life transitions she’s had to deal with, including “The Girl” getting married to “The Guy” and the addition of a new furry family member — a boy cat who goes by the name of Boo Radley!
To help supplement her crunchy stars habit, Pais also has an Etsy shop where she sells her comics, along with catnip mice, merit badges, and custom felt pendants.
Claire Belton and Andrew Duff started Everyday Cute as a place to show off their adorable illustrations and comics, but the breakout star ended up being Pusheen, a tubby gray tabby who enjoys eating as much as she loves bouncing around and looking cute. The cat, who is based on Felton’s childhood kitty back home, has spawned her own Tumblr account that churns out gif after adorable gif, as well as a highly coveted line of merch that includes a plush doll, T-shirts, and jewelry that helps fans get their Pusheen fix 24 hours a day.
Sarah Sobole’s Doctor Cat proves that a cute kitten can soften the blow of any news, no matter how terminal. Described as being “a webcomic about a cat who is also a doctor,” Doctor Cat’s interests also include mice, yarn, surgery, and malpractice. After a (human) patient was left with a catnip mouse inside him after surgery, the comic saw the introduction of Lawyer Cat, Esq., who ultimately settled for one million dollars … worth of organic catnip.
Fans of the series have found that there’s no cure for Doctor Cat mania — unless it’s in the form of adorable jewelry, T-shirts, buttons, and stickers emblazoned with the image of the feline physician.
For the video game enthusiasts used to having their gaming consoles covered in cat hair, GaMERCat just might be the webcomic for you. Along with sidekicks Annoying Fairy and Anonymouse, you’ll usually find GaMERCat playing his favorite games like Zelda and Modern Warfare 3 — that is, when he’s not busy hacking up hairballs and taking catnaps instead.
The artist behind Eat, Sleep, Sniff works for Cats Protection (a UK-based animal rescue) by day as its designer and illustrator — and by night, those experiences form the inspiration behind comics and illustrations to show off “why cats are awesome while having some fun at their expense (as they so often do at ours).” Often sweet and sometimes poignant (a recent series focused on issues with rehoming older cats), Eat, Sleep, Sniff often brings to mind the eternal question: Do we own cats, or do they own us?