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It's been noted that there's a general tendency in many languages to put presuppositions early in sentences. I can't say I've read or thought much about why, but at the very least this seems to follow the likely temporal order of how the assertion was formed, e.g. I can't make any assertion about Garfield if I don't first assume he exists. 

In, "Garfield is a cat," we are implicitly assuming that there exists some individual Garfield. In the answer to the question of the cat's identity, we would say, "The cat is Garfield," because our answer is contingent on the fact that there is some cat that is being referenced. By, contrast, "Garfield is the cat," as a response sounds much less natural.