Skinning cats and Westward Ho!

There is a popular American phrase which states “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” This phrase is used to express that there are multiple processes which produce the same result, and that as long as the result is achieved, the approach taken does not matter how. 

It was first used in 1840 by American humorist Seba Smith in The Money Diggers, in which Smith wrote: “There are more ways than one to skin a cat, so are there more ways than one of digging for money.”

This phrase was (and still is) so popular that it inspired many variations. In 1855, Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho! used the phrase “There are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with cream.” Many other popular variations include killing cats (and sometimes dogs) by hanging, choking with butter, and choking with pudding.

The phrase has also appeared in many American books, including Mark Twain’s 1889 book A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, in which the author wrote “she was wise, subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cat.”