What's the deal with Heathcliff, anyway?

If there's one thing I like, it's scouring the depths of Twitter for extremely niche accounts that aggregate cool, creepy or creative content. The weirdest one I've found in a while, though, draws its content from a single source: Heathcliff, the second-best known syndicated comic strip about a quirky orange cat. (Interestingly, it predates Garfield by three years.)

Whether you get your Heathcliff comics from the aforementioned account or the comic's perplexing original website, it's clear something has gone deeply wrong along the way. Any semblance of coherent comic tropes, like characters or a plot, has been thrown out the window in favor of bizarre non sequiturs hitting on what seems to be a short list of buzzwords like "ham", often featuring foam fingers and helmets.

Is this all an elaborate in-joke? Have decades of living in Garfield's shadow despite crossing the starting line first simply rotted sole cartoonist Peter Gallagher's brain? Is this just high-concept, Nathan Fielder-esque anti-humor for boomers? How did this ever get an animated series?! Comics earlier in Gallagher's run (he took over from his late uncle) are blander and relatively inoffensive, but don't veer quite so hard into the realm of fever-dream absurdism as the Meat Tank (which children apparently love). Quite frankly, Heathcliff scares me. Who knows what dark desires lie in that fuzzy orange head.