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Because there is more than one way

I had to call my grandmother yesterday. She is 86 and stronger and more mentally stable than most I people I know. Anyhow, I’d been working a problem and was stuck when it suddenly occurred to me that "there’s more than one way to skin a cat" and I came up with a different solution rapidly.

Now, I’ve been skinning cats since I was about five but I have never questioned exact why we skin cats. So I went to the source. See, when we’d get a bath at my grandmother’s apartment as the kids were stripped down, she’d say "there’s more than one way to skin a cat." Her answer? She chuckled and said, "I don’t know."

So what does Blingo say?

World Wide Words
Points out that it dates back to 1678 as a common proverbial phrase but gives no real origin other than conjecture. Relates it to the Southern US states to skinning a catfish.
"Many tasks can be accomplished in several ways." but we know that already.
Phrase Finder
"a boy’s gymnastic trick" with a description of the trick and a note "Mr. Funk doesn’t say WHY anyone would actually skin a cat" A reply to the post claims "People used to skin cats to use the fur" but gives no citations
AOL Member
Another catfish reference
EZBoard forum
"boys (and adults too) did torture cats in the 16th-18th centuries" but refers to harvesting the fur
Messy Beast
catfish and fur references. Perhaps the best description thus far.

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