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The meaning and origin of the expression: There is more than one way to skin a cat

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There is more than one way to skin a cat

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There is more than one way of achieving an aim.


The earliest printed citation of this proverbial saying that I can find is in a short story by the American humorist Seba Smith - The Money Diggers, 1840:

"There are more ways than one to skin a cat," so are there more ways than one of digging for money.

Other versions of the phrase were in use in the 19th century, which specify the 'other ways' of felicide that might be employed. Charles Kingsley recorded the most common variant in the novel Westward Ho!, 1855. As befits a West Country gentleman, Kingsley opted for:

There are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with cream.

Other forms of end that have been employed (and sometimes of a dog rather than a cat) are hanging, choking with butter and choking with pudding.

See also: the List of Proverbs.

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