Ask Ceil – The Color of Cats and Dogs

Dear Ceil,

I understand there’s a Color of the Year every year. Do we know the color of the year for 2012 yet?

Blue in Greenville

Dear Blue,

According to the Pantone Color Institute the color of the year for 2012 is Tangerine Tango. It is, as they describe, a “spirited reddish orange”. It looks like this:

Tangerine Tango? I feel like dancing!
Tangerine Tango? I feel like dancing!

I’m not sure what it is about this color that makes tangerines want to tango. I’m not sure I think of either tangerines or tangoing at all when I look at it. It’s more like a cross between a pumpkin and blood. Blood Pumpkin—Now there’s a name. That’s a color that means business. It strikes on Halloween, and kills you in an alley.

Last year’s color was Honeysuckle, which I thought was a pretty accurate (but rather unexciting) name.

Honey–“this-name-sucks”–le:

Honey-this-name-sucks-le

I know for a long time, paint manufacturers have been trying to sell us paint by convincing us to put soothing, imaginatively-named colors on our walls. But I think they could use some shaking up. You know, make things a little more exciting.

Summer Melon:

Maybe something like “It Puts The Lotion On The Skin”?

Estate Blue:

“Carjacker Windbreaker”

Andean Toucan:

“Dropping Acid on the Front Lawn”

I mean, let’s really get our imaginations going! Entertain me! Name them after people, or movies. Who wouldn’t know the color of “Mushroom Cloud” or “Men in Black” or “Vampire Eye Yellow”? Or you could do “Marge Simpson Blue” or “Midnight Run De Niro Jacket Black”.

Maybe that can be my new job, naming colors. I think I’d be good at it.


Dear Ceil,

Why must dogs and cats fight?

Peaceable in Pensacola

Dogs and cats have been enemies for ages. Even in ancient Egypt, there are hieroglyphs of the ancient dog god Anubis chasing the cat god Bastet. (Not true, but that would’ve been funny, wouldn’t it?)

It may be because dogs are natural predators, and the cat’s tail is just too much temptation to pass up. I believe this, considering how often I see dogs chasing their own tails. It’s a wonder, evolutionarily speaking, that they weren’t all so mesmerized by their own tails that they forgot to chase actual food. (I often wonder how our own species survived too, because I have spent time with children; I’m amazed that we didn’t kill ourselves off long ago.)

It could be that dogs are just stupid, and don’t realize that cats will claw the heck out of them once they catch them. (Unless the dog also knows that the cat is de-clawed. Then they’ll just get a good slapping, which is actually pretty funny to watch.) You can test the theory of the relative stupidity of dogs in any number of ways. We used to knock on a table that was out of sight to see if the dog would run to the door. She always did. (Oddly, this was also a dog who would look both ways before she crossed the street, so she wasn’t a total idiot.)

My favorite theory is that dogs may get a high from chasing cats. I’m not sure how you’d test that, but I’m happy just thinking that my dog might be getting high in some way. It’s not like they have anything else to do, so they may as well enjoy themselves. Just make sure that, after chasing a cat, your dog doesn’t operate any heavy machinery.

Maybe they just like the color of cats. Tabby Orange. Kitten Gray. You never know.


Ceil Kessler spends many of her days trying to figure out where the day went. Then she settles back with a nice glass of scotch and watches bad TV. Other times she writes, listens to Christmas music and thinks fondly of the day that she will be able to sit on a beach and have people serve her drinks in hollowed-out coconut shells with little umbrellas in them. (“Drink Umbrella Blue”. That would be a good one.)

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2 thoughts on “Ask Ceil – The Color of Cats and Dogs

Add yours

  1. You should check out the Sherwin-Williams site. Now there’s a bold color-namer.

    Pantone Sherwin-Williams
    Tangerine-Tango Daredevil or Obstinate Orange
    Honeysuckle Eros pink or Feverish Pink
    Summer Melon Captivating Cream

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