Mutts is a comic strip that chronicles the comings and goings of a couple of household pets (a cat and a dog). The strip was created by Patrick McDonnell, an acclaimed cartoonist and animal advocate who received the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year in 1999. He was also the recipient of the Strip of the Year Award in 1997. The strip debuted in 1994.
The theme of this comic strip revolves around the relationship between Earl (a dog) and his friend Mooch (a cat). Because these two have very different personalities, it is very funny to see them interact with each other. They are, I think, true representatives of each of their species.
Every so often, the strip is devoted to raising awareness about animal rights and frequently spotlights animal rescue efforts as well as animal adoptions.
The strip also focuses on the relationships between Earl and Mooch and their respective human families. Their adventures are absolute fun for all ages.
To learn more about this lovable pair you can read the books based on the comic strip. There are several collections of Mutts’ dailies and Sunday strips. Needless to say, these books make a fabulous gift for fans of this comic strip.
Cats and dogs...
Indeed, one of the most endearing elements of this strip is the focus on the relationship between Earl and Mooch. I’ve owned cats and dogs (at the same time) so I understand the different personalities of both. And more important, I’ve come to learn how they interact with and relate to each other. I learned, for example, that the (relatively) easiest way to introduce a cat to a dog is when they’re both little. That’s what we did when we got Titan (a dog) and Michito (a cat). Titan was still a puppy when we got Michito. It was hard for Michito the first few days as he was terrified of Titan. But after a few weeks they were the best of friends.
I must say that Mutts hits it on the nail at portraying the distinct personalities of cats and dogs. Earl, for example, is your typical happy dog. He loves spending time with his owner, enjoys going outside, and in general is very social.
By contrast, Mooch likes to spend lots of time by himself. He particularly loves playing alone with a sock. He also favors staying indoors over going outside (of course, this is not to say that cats don’t like going outside, but in general, house cats tend to be more reserved than dogs). And, like a true cat, he naps a lot. However, he does have a very close relationship with Earl. In fact, they spend a great deal of time together. They also have several other animal friends.
Here’s a partial list of the Mutts comic strip's main and secondary characters:
In many ways, Earl is your typical dog. He shares his life with his very best friend Ozzie who is a single guy. And like a typical dog, he enjoys spending a great deal of time with his human friend. In fact, he loves being with Ozzie so much that he suffers from separation anxiety whenever Ozzie is not home.
His other best friend is Mooch. He too spends lots of time with Mooch, especially going around the neighborhood and paying visits to their other animal friends.
Mooch has many feline personality traits. He’s more independent than Earl, for example. He’d rather spend time by himself than go out and socialize with the other animals. In addition, he doesn’t show as much affection for his human family as Earl does. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about them. It’s just that he doesn’t show it as much (at least that’s what I believe).
Ozzie - Earl’s human parent
Millie – Mooch’s “Mom”
Frank – Millie’s husband
Dr. Woo – A veterinarian
Doozy – Even though she’s still little, she’s an avid animal lover.
Sid – A sad fish that lives in Mooch’s home. He dreams of being free one day.
Chickpea and Chickpea’s brother – They are physically identical cats that used to live in an animal shelter.
Crabby – A moody, foul-mouth, and according to him, well-traveled, crab.
Lollipop – Crabby’s wife.
Shtinky Puddin – A cat with short-term memory and a rich owner.
As I said before, books featuring Mutts-dailies and/or Sunday strips make a great gift for animal lovers as well as fans of this wonderful comic strip. Here are some books you may consider as gifts:
- Cats and Dogs (1997)
- Who let the cat out? (2005)
- Animal Friendly (2007)
- The Best of Mutts (2007)
Note: All the copyrighted cartoon characters mentioned here are trademarks of their respective owners.
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