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Another kick at the can/cat

Posted by Greg on March 26, 2003

Two questions:
1. What is the origin of the phrase "another kick at the can" (or cat), meaning "another attempt", as in this example: "In spite of our committee's previous failures to agree on this item, I'll take another kick at the can in drafting a proposal."
2. Which form -- using "can" or using "cat" -- is the original one? I have found examples of each on the internet, but other than forming the opinion that "can" is more commonly used than "cat", I haven't found which was used first (and is probably therefore more legitimate).