This article is about the comic strip. For people named Cathy, see Cathy (given name).

Cathy and Irving after being married. Electra and Vivian, their dogs, are also in the picture.
Author(s) Cathy Guisewite
Current status / schedule Cancelled
Launch date November 22, 1976
End date October 3, 2010
Genre(s) Humor, gag-a-day

Cathy was an American gag-a-day comic strip, drawn by Cathy Guisewite from 1976 until 2010. The comic is about a woman, Cathy, who struggles through the "four basic guilt groups" of life — food, love, family, and work. The strip gently pokes fun at the lives and foibles of modern women. Cathy's characteristics and issues both made fun of and sometimes fed into negative stereotypes about women. The strip debuted on November 22, 1976, and at its peak appeared in over 1,400 newspapers. The strips have been compiled into more than 20 books. Three television specials were also created. Guisewite received the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award in 1992 for the strip.[1]


Initially, the strip was based largely on Guisewite's own life as a single woman. "The syndicate felt it would make the strip more relatable if the character's name and my name were the same," Guisewite said in an interview.[2] "They felt it would make it a more personal strip, and it would help people to know it was a real woman who was going through these things. I hated the idea of calling it 'Cathy.'" However, Guisewite had Cathy's longtime boyfriend Irving propose marriage on Valentine's Day 2004. The two characters married in the February 5, 2005 strip.[3] That same year, Cathy appeared in the 75th anniversary party of Blondie and Dagwood.

On August 11, 2010, Cathy Guisewite announced the decision to end the run of Cathy.[4] On October 3, 2010, the final strip ran, with the revelation that Cathy is pregnant with a girl.[5]

Main characters

Animated specials

Three animated specials were made from the strip: Cathy, Cathy's Last Resort and Cathy's Valentine.[7] All aired on CBS, and the former won Guisewite an Emmy Award.[8]

The four basic guilt groups

Defined by Cathy Guisewite, the four basic guilt groups are four types of temptation that the character Cathy faces in her daily life.


Cathy had a love/hate affair with food (especially carbs). She loved it, but hated what it did to her thighs. She was visibly overweight, but not obese; she was often shown in a department store fitting room trying to stuff herself into a bathing suit. She was constantly on a diet, weighed herself obsessively and many mornings feared to get up, believing that she had ballooned overnight. Cathy was particularly fond of chocolate, pizza, and her mother's cooking.


Cathy had dated extensively, but was unable to find "Mr. Right". Although a number of love interests had come and gone over the years, none had come back like Irving, who had left her initially due to her dislike of cats. Later in the series, they finally marry.

At the end of the comic series, Irving and Cathy find out that they are expecting a child.


Although well-meaning, Mom's advice often frustrated Cathy, whether or not Mom was right. Cathy and her mother were from two different generations, of course. Cathy grew up in the era of feminism, women's rights, and the sexual revolution. Mom was from the earlier, more conservative World War II, 1950s era. Although an equal in her marriage to Cathy's Dad, Mom held many old-fashioned ideas. Prior to Cathy's marriage, she seemed to have an obsession with seeing Cathy married, right down to keeping a current copy of Bride magazine in her purse and going as far as trying to send Christmas cards to some of Cathy's ex-boyfriends, one of which was incarcerated for swindling investors, until Cathy stopped her.


Cathy had to juggle many tasks at Product Testing, Inc. Her boss, Mr. Pinkley, often asked the impossible, and Cathy always seems to pull through in the end and give him and the client exactly what they wanted, albeit with quite a bit of drama. Cathy also worked at Jamba Juice. She was fired for bringing home smoothies for her cats.


Following are books featuring Cathy, illustrated by Guisewite. The chronological strips and special collections lists are believed to be complete; the other sections are not.

Note: capitalization appears according to the copyright page of the book.

Chronological strips

The following books are collections of strips in the order they were published.

Special collections

The following books include strips already published in earlier books.

Gift books

The following books are smaller than the works above. They may have a short storyline and are intended as gifts.



Paperback gift books.

Other books

The following books feature Cathy illustrations by Guisewite, but are not authored by her.

In popular culture

On the series 30 Rock, Cathy has been referenced more than once. On the episode "Don Geiss, America and Hope", Liz Lemon's boyfriend Wesley compares her obsession with food to being like "a Cathy cartoon that just won't end". In another episode, Liz exclaims "Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, aack!", which had been exclaimed by Cathy herself in an earlier cartoon.

In the 2010 The Big Bang Theory episode "The Wheaton Recurrence", Sheldon, having studied the comic, brings Penny some ice cream after she gets into a fight with her boyfriend Leonard, saying, "If you were a cat, I would have brought you a lasagna."

In The Simpsons episode "Girls Just Wanna Have Sums", a painting of Cathy is shown as part of a hall of famous female artists; in the painting, Cathy is shown in a two-piece swimsuit, saying "I'm finally able to fit into my bathing suit.... and it's September!"

On Saturday Night Live, during Andy Samberg time as a cast member, he would portray Cathy on Weekend Update.

The eighth episode of Broad City third season, "Burning Bridges", featured a reference to the comic strip.

The comic strip, Pooch Café featured a reference to the comic strip, when Poncho is trying on new collars (similar to when Cathy would try on bathing suits).[9]

The comic strip, Luann, featured Mabel (in the October 5, 2016 strip) as a worker of the 'Bridal Barn' wedding gown store where Toni Daytona went to purchase her wedding gown with the help of Nancy and Luann DeGroot.

See also


External links

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