For those unfamiliar with Garfield shorthand, those puffs of smoke and drifting hairs in panel three do not mean Garfield has spontaneously combusted, so much as dashed off the table quickly.
Jon normally asks Garfield to carry in groceries for him? As long as you've accepted that your cat understands and emotionally responds to English, has opposable thumbs and walks upright comfortably, you might as well expect it to help around the house. The imagined sight of Garfield assisting Jon putting the groceries away in the kitchen cupboards, his furry hands clutching canned vegetables and opening the crisper drawer creeps me out though.
This joke eliminates from the narrative space half of the characters involved, the more visual and action-oriented perspective on the story, and poses its only half-catatonic on-panel cast to prevent any facial expressions. Not only that, but the only moment of kinetic action is dumped into the gutter between panels. Davis marries a joke about the sudden disruption of prolonged stasis, with a staging and timing that twist into agonized positions to avoid any depiction of action and excitement. Though the punchline is Garfield's frenzy and mad dash to the food, the rhythms of the panels show us only Garfield dozing and an empty table... depicted as a straight line across a blank field. Let the surface of the water be never unstill.