User:MartinHarper/cat skinning

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Saved, in the vein of "bad jokes and other deleted nonsense", and similar things.


A number of joke methods have been suggested for skinning a cat, in response to the aphorism that "there's more than one way to skin a cat". Here are some:

The Kinetic Method[edit]

  1. Enter a large room with your cat
  2. grab the cat by the tail
  3. swing the cat around your head (hence the need for a room large enough to swing a cat)
  4. keep swinging the cat until the centrifugal force causes the cat to be ejected, leaving the skin behind
  5. clean up the mess on the wall
  6. hope your partner doesn't find out

The Surprise Method[edit]

  1. Sneak up behind your cat
  2. shout Boo!
  3. watch as your cat leaps out of its skin

Note: this method only works if you are an occupant of a cartoon

The politically correct method[edit]

  1. Invite a throng of PETA activists into your home.
  2. Ensure you are absent at the time of their arrival, leaving only your cat to receive the visitors.
  3. Allow ample time for the PETA activists to convince your cat that it is wrong to wear fur. They will depart happily once your cat concedes the argument and removes its pelt.

To skin a cat topologically[edit]

  1. Take any open subset A of the cat, such that the set theoretic complement C of A (with respect to the cat) is non-empty, and where for each element c of C there exists a subset T of A for which the union of T and the set { c } is open. The Union of all such sets C (which may be an empty set) presents the skin of the cat.
  2. Obtain the skinned cat as the difference of the cat and its skin.

Note: If this skinned cat is nevertheless a cat as well (albeit generally a different cat than the initial one) then it may be skinned further, by the same procedure.

The Enron Method[edit]

  1. Buy and sell future contracts on cat skinning services.
  2. "Doctor" your accounting records when you realize that it is impossible to predict how many people want to skin their cats at any given time in the future.
  3. Get all your friends, relatives, and employees to invest their life savings in the scheme.
  4. Before all the investors' money is used up, pay the U. S. President, Vice President, and Republican party outrageous amounts of money to ensure that you will be protected when the truth comes out.
  5. Laugh at all the poor suckers when they find out who really got skinned.

-Miles Pappas


Cat skinner is a slang term for the operator of a bulldozer, particularly one manufactured by Caterpillar Equipment. It is usually considered a complimentary term. It is derived from the term mule skinner, a 19th century apellation for a teamster driving a mule team.

skinning choices[edit]

The aphorism about there being more than one way to skin a cat applies equally to other animals that one might skin. The chief choice to be made is the order in which the various steps are undertaken, as it is possible to start from the head, tail, or abdomen. There are also precautions that can be taken and procedures to be followed to prevent contamination of the meat and hide. Whether or not these are worth the effort depends on the ultimate use planned for these portions of the animal.


Many people accept that the "cat" in "more than one way to skin a cat" refers to a catfish. Catfish are very hard to skin, and there are several ways. Many old-timers pull the skin off with pliers, while the most common way today is to use a fillet knife, cut in at the head, slice down the backbone to the tail without cutting the fillet loose, then flip the fillet over and run the knife between the meat and skin. Cutting out the bones at the top is optional.

Whether the saying refers to a cat or a catfish is not verifiable, but many people, especially animal lovers and cat owners, are more comfortable with the catfish explanation. However, given that the phrase appears in European texts dating back to the 17th century, this explanation appears to be of purely modern origin.

unix/linux guru jargon[edit]

To 'cat' is to use the old unix utility/filter in various ingenious ways to pipe files into a stream for processing by other standard unix utilities ( sort, cut, grep, join) or custom designed filters (using sed, awk, PHP, Perl, Bash, etc.). There are, indeed, many ways to skin (take to hand) a 'cat'.