He is a domesticated house pet with similar mannerisms to a cat, most notably his "meow," but has royal blood, as seen in the episode "Rule of Dumb." In the latter, the royal family tree proves that Gary and Patrick are cousins, as their fathers were brothers. His mannerism and affinity for the finer things in life in previous episodes foreshadows his royal blood, with the only exception being his dislike for baths.
It is suggested that SpongeBob has had Gary ever since he lived with hisparents as a really young boy. The episode "Treats!" reveals that Gary was adopted. As seen in "Gary Takes a Bath," Gary can levitate and teleport, possibly meaning that psychic powers run in the Star family, as Patrick has psychic abilities. Gary has been to many places, including the large Bass Vegas.
He has the fifth most appearances in the series, following Mr. Krabs, Patrick, Squidward, and SpongeBob.
Gary is a sea snail with a pink shell which depicts purplish-dark blue spots and a red spiral. He has eye antennas that hold together his scarlet-green eyes with orangish-red pupils. The sides of his body are light blue and his belly is green. He is typically known to create trails of slime when crawling. In addition to this, it is known that Gary has feet, as shown in "Your Shoe's Untied" and "SpongeBob's Last Stand."
Being a snail, which are to Bikini Bottom what cats are to the real world, Gary is only able to communicate by saying "Meow."
Much like real cats, Gary hates taking baths, as seen in "Gary Takes a Bath," "Pet Sitter Pat," and "Shellback Shenanigans." In the second of the three, Patrick wants to wash Gary and later uses a hose to do so. In the former, SpongeBob used many methods like offering a free dollar, Boomerang Pet Ball, etc.
In many episodes, it has been indicated that Gary has great intelligence. In "The Secret Box," Gary responds to SpongeBob's question with "Meow-no." SpongeBob does not think much of it and replies "Aww, what do you know? You're a snail!" SpongeBob does not recognize it as special, perhaps meaning that it was not the first time that Gary spoke. In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, the Bikini Bottomites are chanting "All hail Plankton," while Gary monotonously chants "Meow, Plankton."
In "Jellyfish Hunter," it is revealed that he pays the electric bill. His intelligence is further proven in "Sleepy Time," where Gary speaks in his dream and sounds very old and wise.
Talents and abilities
In the episode "Tutor Sauce," Gary is shown to be a good driver, as he is able to drive a boatmobile through the most dangerous road in Bikini Bottom with no issue whatsoever (except the cops stopping the boat). He had an extensive library, which is a possible metaphor for intelligence. This is not true in early episodes, where Gary acted no more mature than a real animal, but this could perhaps be a plot device initially seeking to mollify the viewer with the basic description and behavioral traits of a simple house cat only later going on to disclose a wealth of rich cultural and intellectual traits.
Gary plays a minor role in the episode "Atlantis SquarePantis;" he appears wearing a party hat and blowing on a paper horn, throwing a party while SpongeBob is gone. Gary is also a very good musician, although he is not part of Squidward's band in the episode "Band Geeks" despite all the other main characters being in it. In "The Paper," he plays Squidward's clarinet very well, and Squidward gets confused. In "Procrastination," Gary plays the trumpet, and in "Something Smells," he plays the violin to make SpongeBob cry while chopping onions.
SpongeBob is Gary's owner and close friend. SpongeBob often goes to Gary for advice when no else is able to help him. Although Gary often finds himself irritated by SpongeBob's naivety and falls victim to negligence and pressure by him at times, the two always get back on good terms in the end.
According to "Gary Takes a Bath," "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve," and "Pet Sitter Pat," Gary can read because in the former, he is seen reading the newspaper, and in the second of the three, he is seen reading a book called Snail Jokes. He also reads a book called Snail Tails to Patrick at the end of the latter, although due to Gary's lack of English, Patrick could not understand him.
Gary has many things hidden under his shell: a house, SpongeBob's Krabby Patty T-shirt, a record player, a diamond, and many other pieces of junk.
In "A Pal for Gary," SpongeBob calls him "Gerald," meaning that Gary is likely a nickname.
In the pilot episode "Help Wanted," Gary's pupils are small red dots and his meow is much squeakier.
In "Plankton's Pet," SpongeBob reveals he adopted Gary at an animal shelter. "Treats!" supports this, but "Have You Seen This Snail?" contradicts the continuity.
In the online game Snail Bob 2, Gary appears on a sign as a gag. It is labeled "Cousin Gary," implying that Gary and Snail Bob are related.
According to a variety of episodes, Gary may be compared to a cat. His usual way of speech is by saying "Meow." In "A Pal for Gary," in the part where the Nudibranch Seller shows a portrait of a cat near a Nudibranch and later on shows Puffy Fluffy violently reacting to Gary may be a hint to the fact that the latter has a resemblance to a cat. As first seen in "Dumped," Gary purrs like a cat.