She first appeared on December 17, 1980, and her name was first mentioned a day afterward. Arlene regularly appeared in the strip in the 1980s, but has been shown less often since then. Arlene was supposed to appear in what was supposed to be Garfield's first animated feature film, Garfield's Judgement Day, though it was canceled due to no one funding the production. She later appeared in The Garfield Show as a minor character and has made most of her appearances in the first and third season.
Arlene is a slim, sleek, long-tailed, pink-furred cat, with a narrow neck and red lips, which seems to be the only one of its kind living in the world. Earlier in the strip's run, she also had a big gap between her two front teeth, which Garfield often ridiculed. In the comic strips, she has three fingers (including her thumb) like Odie. In the DTV movies and The Garfield Show, she is shown to have four fingers.
Arlene is Garfield's on-and-off girlfriend who can successfully crack jokes at the expense of Garfield on a regular basis. She loves to make smart remarks about him, most likely due to his enormous ego. Garfield would likewise make fun of Arlene's teeth, sometimes resulting in physical retribution.
Arlene is often interested in a deeper relationship with Garfield, which is complicated by Garfield's love for himself (and food) over her. Another factor straining their relationship is Garfield's tendency to be thrifty with their dates; they have often eaten food from the trash can, for example.
Since 2007, Garfield and Arlene's relationship has become a bit more serious than before, although their conflicting personalities remain. They have some things in common, such as their love of fish and donuts.
Arlene plays a minor role in Garfield: The Movie, being depicted as a more casual friend to Garfield. She was among those disapproving of Garfield letting Odie run away.
Throughout the DTV movies, Arlene is shown to be nicer towards Garfield, being less inclined to make witty remarks about him. Although Garfield appears to be more romantically interested in her, Arlene does find room for him to improve. She once teamed up with someone else for the Fun Fest when Garfield went for a comedy act in lieu of the tango.
Arlene remains as Garfield's potential love interest, although the two often interact casually and she does not appear much. She mainly appears in Garfield's fantasy world.
Due to Garfield's less than exciting lifestyle, Arlene tends to show more interest in those with more exciting lives, such as Harry and Fluffykins (as Agent X). This prompts Garfield to take action to recover her interest in him, one way or another. Arlene has also shown concern of Garfield's attitude toward others, such as Odie or those less fortunate than them. In "World Without Me", it is revealed that she actually likes Garfield's dry sense of humor and wit.
- She has appeared 124 times in the comics as of the 19th of June 2016.
- Her appearance is similar to Neferkitty but with different colouring and personalities.
- Arlene had a gap in appearances; she was absent (aside from a few logo boxes) from March 14, 1999 until May 12, 2008. She has appeared 50 times since.
- Furry Tales
- The Golden Lasagna Awards
- The Control Freak (cameo)
- The Garfield-Only Show
- My Friend, Nermal (cameo)
- Glitter Gulch
- Garfception (dream sequence)
- World Without Me
- Fraidy Cat (cameo)