September 3, 1979 (Comic Strip)
Jon Arbuckle (owner)
Nermal cat is a kitten in the Garfield comic strip by Jim Davis. He first appeared in the strip on 1979 and his latest appearance was on September 8, 2013. He has also appeared in the television series Garfield and Friends and The Garfield Show and in the straight-to-DVD movies, Garfield Gets Real, Garfield's Fun Fest and Garfield's Pet Force. A cat named Nermal appeared in Garfield: The Movie, although he looked completely different from the kitten in the comic strip.
Fans have often mistaken him for a girl because of his eyelashes, his seemingly effeminate personality, and the tone of his voice on his television appearances. Viewers of the television series will know that Nermal's voice was provided by a woman, though in The Garfield Show, Nermal is voiced by Jason Marsden, who plays Max in Disney's A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie, Kovu from The Lion King 2, Peter Pan In the Fox TV Series, Peter Pan and The Pirates, and Chester from Fairly OddParents.. In Latin American voice dubbing of the 80s show, Garfield's voice was dubbed in Spanish by Sandro Larenas, making fans blame the little success of the movie to the fact was dubbed for the movie by another actor.
Also, for Mexico and Latin America, Nermal is known as Thelma, a female kitty, and not as a male as some movies portrait.
In the Comic Strip
Nermal is a cute grey tabby. He enjoys flaunting his cuteness, which annoys Garfield immensely. The fact that Nermal has remained a kitten and never fully grown has been commented on in the strip. It appears that he is a midget and, therefore, will stay a kitten. Nermal also mentions that he drinks a lot of coffee, which stunt his growth. He also is shown wearing a face mask at one comic strip also explaining his beauty. Nermal in his first appearances did not speak much and was much smaller. But as the comic strip grew, he was taller as in his first appearance he can fit in Jon hands but in modern appearance he is more than half of Garfields size and Jon needs two hands to carry him (though still kitten like).
Nermal annoys Garfield, which usually results in Garfield trying to ship him to Abu Dhabi. Nermal often comes in unannounced (and recently on his birthday), much to Garfield's chagrin.
When he first appeared, it was stated that he was owned by Jon's parents.but that was never mentioned again. When we see him, it is usually because Jon has to babysit him. He is not seen on Jon's parents' farm.
Garfield and Friends
Nermal, voiced by Desirée Goyette first appeared in the Garfield and Friends episode "School Daze", the sixth Garfield and Friends short. Nermal was almost sent to Abu Dhabi, which made Jon send Garfield to obedience school for punishment, but at the end, Garfield sends Odie to the Yukon. Here Nermal seems to like Garfield and wants to show him tricks he's learned or play with him.
Nermal also had a main role in the episode "A Tall Tail", where the TV Network wants Garfiled to allow Nermal to tell a story, and if he refuses the show will be canceled and replaced by a house-furniture channel. Nermal tells the story of Paul Bunyan (played by Jon), who has to feed his giant blue cat (played by Garfield). Workers have to dig up the entire california coastline for his sandbox and use glaciers for his soda (then hide from his big burp). The Network say his story is too embarrassing to air on television, so then, Garfield gives Nermal another television job, appearing in a show called Attack of the Mutant Dinosaurs, where a dinosaur that resembles a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Stegosaurus are about to eat him. A frightened Nermal yells that the dinosaur is fifty feet tall, but Garfield corrects him by saying the dinosaur is only forty feet tall.
Nermal is also mentioned in the episodes "Cabin Fever", and "One Good Fern Deserves Another".
Nermal often confused children audiences of being a female. He is male, but because he had a female voice, children got confused whether he was male or female, much like Tweety from Looney Tunes and Ginger from Talking Friends.
Usually when Garfield mentions all he'll miss, he often cites Nermal as an example of someone he won't, but in "Invasion of the Big Robots", a Transformers spoof, Garfield wants to get back to his cartoon and in an instance where he's in grave peril rather than the peril he's familiar with in Garfield and Friends where he gets out okay, he mentions that he'll even miss Nermal, which indicates that Garfield is jealous of him.
Nermal was once sued by the Kitty Council in "The Kitten and the Council" an for being too darn cute.
In the 2004 film Garfield: The Movie, Nermal appears as an adult Siamese cat rather than a gray tabby kitten. Unlike in the comic strip and TV series, which portray Nermal as Garfield's arch-nemesis, the two appear to be friends in the film. Nermal did not appear in the sequel, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.
In the 2007 straight-to-DVD film Garfield Gets Real, Nermal has a minor role. It was the first time that he appeared in a movie in the form of the gray kitten from the comic strip and TV series. When Garfield is sucked into the Real World, Nermal is not surprised because he wanted to replace Garfield's strip with one called Nermal, which would feature Arlene as his dim-witted sidekick maid.
Nermal has also appeared in Garfield's Fun Fest and Garfield's Pet Force. In all of the straight-to-DVD movies, Nermal had a voice like a male teenager, provided by Jason Marsden. In order to win the Fun Fest in Garfield's Fun Fest, he disguised himself and built a robot as a disguise named "Ramon," which makes Nermal the main antagonist of Garfield's Fun Fest.
Different Garfield adaptations have featured characters called "Nermal" with quite different personalities. In the Garfield and Friends TV series, he is delicate and relatively friendly towards Garfield, although he still brags, gloats and thinks he is better than Garfield. In the first live-action movie, he is Garfield's friend and does not brag about his cuteness. In the straight-to-DVD movies and The Garfield Show, he is more of an antagonist and taunts Garfield even more rudely. He is the major antagonist in Garfield's Fun Fest film and an antagonist in some episodes of The Garfield Show, such as "King Nermal" and "The Last Word".
The Garfield Show
Unlike previous adaptations, Nermal is given a more antagonistic role in The Garfield Show. He usually tries to take over Garfield's house or flaunt his cuteness in front of Garfield. On Garfield's birthdays, for example, he appears only to remind Garfield that Garfield's getting older. He has villainous appearances, too, however, such as in "King Nermal" Nermal tries to convince everyone he's hurt. This makes Jon, Odie, and Garfield become Nermal's servents.
It shows in dozens of episodes that Nermal is self-obsorbed. He claims himself the "cutest kitten in the whole world" and takes advanage of Jon and Odie. While Nermal is unhelpful and sometimes spiteful, the kitten is very gullible, once believing Garfield was a saber-cat, mouse, and super-hero. He also likes being in picture even when he's not allowed in it when Jon, Odie, and Garfield were taking a family picture he wanted to be in it even though Garfield said no since he said he wasn't family. He interupted them four times until they decided to tie him up along with a neighbor so he would not interupt them again.