Cartoonist Berke Breathed regrets killing off "Bloom County." He wishes he could have killed Garfield instead.

A long-time Garfield hater, Breathed says the fat feline is nothing more than a merchandising tool. He refused to participate last week when Garfield creator Jim Davis and other cartoonists broke ground on the International Museum of Cartoon Art in Florida."To have a whole mausoleum that would have (Garfield creator) Jim Davis' cartoons next to Krazy Kat or old Prince Valiant would be silly," Breathed said Monday during a stop in St. Paul, Minn., to promote his illustrated Christmas children's book. "One is done because an artist is working; the other is there to sell key chains."

Meanwhile, Breathed said he was surprised by the reaction in 1989 when he decided to stop his Pulitzer Prize-winning strip, "Bloom County," which contains his version of the anti-Garfield-- the mangy, slobbering Bill The Cat.

"I didn't think people would be angry," he said. "I didn't think people would be hurt and feel that I had done them wrong by cutting off a character they liked."