Let’s be honest, at some point we’ve all looked over at our charismatic feline companions and thought they were definitely worthy of being portrayed in their own comedic adventures, right? I mean, just think of the shenanigans they get up to!
Well, Caitlin Major, an artist based in Toronto, Canada, took the concept one stage further by imagining a world where a cat named Steve ends up as the owner of a pet human named Manfried — imagine “a kind of reverse Garfield,” as she puts it.
Inspired by the various everyday japes, scrapes, and petulant behavior that cats get up to, the comic strip details Manfried’s continued attempts to annoy Steve in a manner that any cat owner will recognize. As one of the character blurbs puts it, Manfried is “prone to inappropriate displays of affection, sleeping in the sun, leaving his coarse body hair all over the couch, and willfully knocking things off tables and benches.”
Taking some brief respite from dealing with my own cat Mimosa’s latest mischief, I spoke to Caitlin about the origins of Manfried the Man, the idea of assigning personalities to its two main characters, and her own favorite feline cartoons.
Catster: Where did the idea for Manfried the Man come from?
Caitlin Major: It first occurred to me while I was riding home from work. I wanted to challenge myself to improve my storyboarding skills by coming up with some scenarios to practice on. When I got home, I told my friends about my idea, and we spent the rest of the night drunkenly coming up with more and more Manfried gags.
Are Manfried and Steve based on real people and pets in your life?
Manfried could be said to be based on my friend Luke Humphris; when we were brainstorming stories, Luke would act out the Manfried parts. Manfried is also just an amalgamation of all the cats I’ve ever known in my life. He is the quintessential cat. Steve is basically me.
How would you describe the personalities of Manfried and Steve?
Manfried is like a cat — his personality is very selfish, lazy, and curious. Steve is a bit of a curmudgeon who complains a lot but actually really loves Manfried.
If one of the Internet’s famous cats could make a cameo in Manfried the Man, who would it be?
It would definitely have to be Maru. I’d have him jumping into an infinity of boxes.
Are you a fan of any other cat-based comic strips?
I was a huge fan of Garfield when I was a kid, or basically any cartoon cat — I was cat obsessed. So Manfried is kind of a parody of that style of newspaper comic strip.
When not creating Manfried the Man, do you have any cats of your own to attend to?
I had two cats when I lived in Australia, Roger and Henrietta, but when I moved to Canada they went to live with some friends of mine. In Canada I partially adopted — or stole — my neighbor’s cat, Cody. I also just pet any random cat I find on the street.
Mosey on over to Caitlin’s Tumblr page to get your fix of Manfried the Man.
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