Garfield phones calling: Mystery of kitty litter on beach finally solved

A shipping container of Tyco phones from the '80s has been trapped in a cave for 30 years, slowly sending out orange cat-shaped parts.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

It's a Black Mirror plotline written by your favorite cat lady: Telephones shaped like Garfield, the orange cartoon cat who loves lasagna and hates Mondays, have been mysteriously washing up on a French beach for three decades. 

Now the mystery is solved. A shipping container, lost in the 1980s when Garfield was one cool cat, has been hiding out in a rocky, partially submerged sea cave for years, regularly releasing old phone parts to confuse locals.

The phone mystery was solved after journalists at FranceInfo reported on the case, leading volunteers to finally track down the cave, local resident Claire Simonin-Le Meur told AFP

The bright-orange corded phones are in the shape of a reclining Garfield, and the cat's eyes roll open when the receiver (remember receivers? phones used to have receivers that you lifted up) is picked up. The volunteers were told of a big storm that struck the area in the 1980s, which perhaps caused the container of phones to become lost at sea.

A French news video published earlier in the week shows just how battered the phone parts have become over the years, and how inaccessible the rocky cave is. According to the BBC, it's unknown just how many phones remain inside the container.

The cat phones' nine lives may seem funny, but the matter of plastic pollution in the oceans is no joke. "Some forecasts predict that there will be more plastic in the seas than fish by 2050," CNET sister site CBS News noted in a story on the phones.

Still, it could be worse. They could be Ziggy phones