'Heathcliff', about a stylish fat cat with attitude, soon appeared in newspapers all over the world. George Gately was often asked to attend cat shows and give autographs to cats. To keep up with the demand, he recruited Bob Laughlin, and later his brother John to help draw the daily strips and Sunday colour pages. In 1978, his comic character got a rival when Jim Davis created 'Garfield', another cat with a poignant sense of humor, who soon conquered the world. It was still Heathcliff who first appeared as an animated cartoon, in 1980.
George Gately died on September 30, 2001. His comic strip had already been taken over by his nephew Peter.