The strip ran on Veterans Day in newspapers across the country. It shows a spider daring the pudgy orange cat to squash it. The spider tells Garfield that if he is killed, "they will hold an annual day of remembrance in my honor."
The final panel shows a spider-teacher asking its students if they know why spiders celebrate "National Stupid Day."
Davis, of Muncie, Ind., said in a statement posted on his website that he didn't know the strip would appear on Veterans Day. He said it was written nearly a year ago and called the publication Thursday "the worst timing ever."
"It absolutely, positively has nothing to do with this important day of remembrance," Davis said.
John Raughter, a spokesman for the Indianapolis-based American Legion, looked at the strip and Davis' statement after the cartoon was brought to his attention by a reporter. He said an apology wasn't necessary.
"We have no reason to doubt his explanation of what happened," Raughter said.
Davis said his brother served in Vietnam, and his son is a Marine who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he is grateful for the service of veterans, and called any offense "unintentional and regrettable."