The cat o' nine tails, commonly shortened to the cat, is a type of multi-tailed whip that originated as an implement for severe physical punishment, notably in the Royal Navy and Army of the United Kingdom, and also as a judicial punishment in Britain and some other countries.
The term first appears in 1681 in reports of a London murder. The term came into wider circulation in 1695 although the design is much older. It was probably so called in reference to its "claws", which inflict parallel wounds. There are equivalent terms in many languages, usually strictly translating, and also some analogous terms referring to a similar instrument's number of tails (cord or leather), such as the Dutch zevenstaart (seven tail[s]), negenstaart (nine tail[s]), the Spanish gato de nueve colas or the Italian gatto a nove code.
It traditionally has nine thongs as a result of the manner in which rope is plaited. Thinner rope is made from three strands of yarn plaited together, and thicker rope from three strands of thinner rope plaited together. To make a cat o' nine tails, a rope is unravelled into three small ropes, each of which is unravelled again.
Variations exist, either named cat (of x tails) or not, such as the whip used on adult Egyptian prisoners which had a cord on a cudgel branching into seven tails, each with six knots, used only on adult men, with boys being subject to caning, until Egypt banned the use of the device in 2001.
Sometimes the term "cat" is used incorrectly to describe various other punitive flogging devices with multiple tails in any number, even one made from 80 twigs (so rather a limp birch) to flog a drunk or other offender instead of 80 lashes normally applicable under shariah law. The closed cat, one without tails, was called a starter.
The naval cat, also known as the "captain's daughter" (which in principle was used under his authority) weighed about 370 grams (13 oz) and was composed of a handle connected to nine thinner pieces of line, with each line knotted several times along its length. Formal floggings — those ordered by captain or court martial — were administered ceremonially on deck, the crew being summoned to "witness punishment" and the prisoner being brought forward by marines with fixed bayonets.
During the period of the Napoleonic Wars, the naval cat's handle was made of rope about 60 cm (2 ft) long and about 3 cm (1 in) in diameter, and was traditionally covered with red baize cloth. The tails were made of cord about 6 mm (1⁄4 in) in diameter and typically 60 cm (2 ft). Drunkenness or striking an officer might incur a dozen lashes, which could be administered on the authority of the ship's captain. Greater punishments were generally administered following a formal court martial, with Royal Navy records reflecting some standard penalties of two hundred lashes for desertion, three hundred for mutiny, and up to five hundred for theft. The offence of sodomy generally drew the death penalty, though one eighteenth century court martial awarded a punishment of one thousand lashes - a roughly equivalent sentence as there was no likelihood of survival.
A new cat was made for each flogging by a bosun's mate and kept in a red baize bag until use. If several dozen lashes were awarded, each could be administered by a fresh bosun's mate—a left-handed one could be included to assure extra painful crisscrossing of the wounds. One dozen was usually awarded as a highly sensitizing prelude to running the gauntlet.
For summary punishment of Royal Navy boys, a lighter model was made, the reduced cat, also known as boy's cat, boy's pussy or just pussy, that had only five tails of smooth whip cord. If formally convicted by a court martial, however, even boys would suffer the punishment of the adult cat. While adult sailors received their lashes on the back, they were administered to boys on the bare posterior, usually while "kissing the gunner's daughter" (bending over a gun barrel), just as boys' lighter "daily" chastisement was usually over their (often naked) rear-end (mainly with a cane – this could be applied to the hand, but captains generally refused such impractical disablement – or a rope's end). Bare-bottom discipline was a tradition of the English upper and middle classes, who frequented public schools, so midshipmen (trainee officers, usually from 'good families', getting a cheaper equivalent education by enlisting) were not spared, at best sometimes allowed to receive their lashes inside a cabin. Still, it is reported that the 'infantile' embarrassment of bare-bottom punishment was believed essential for optimal deterrence; cocky miscreants might brave the pain of the adult cat in the macho spirit of "taking it like a man" or even as a "badge of honour".
On board training ships, where most of the crew were boys, the cat was never introduced, but their bare bottoms risked, as in other naval establishments on land, "the sting of the birch", another favourite in public schools.
"The severest form of flogging was a flogging round the fleet. The number of lashes was divided by the number of ships in port and the offender was rowed between ships for each ship's company to witness the punishment." Penalties of hundreds of lashes were imposed for the gravest offences, including sedition and mutiny. The prisoner was rowed around the fleet in an open boat and received a number of his lashes at each ship in turn, for as long as the surgeon allowed. Sentences often took months or years to complete, depending on how much a man was expected to bear at a time. Normally 250–500 lashes would kill a man, as infections would spread." After the flogging was completed, the sailor's lacerated back was frequently rinsed with brine or seawater, which was thought to serve as a crude antiseptic (although it is now known that seawater contains significant microbial components). Although the purpose was to control infection, it caused the sailor to endure additional pain, and gave rise to the expression "rubbing salt into his wounds", which came to mean vindictively or gratuitously increasing a punishment or injury already imposed.
The British Army had a similar multiple whip, though much lighter in construction, made of a drumstick with attached strings. The flogger was usually a drummer rather than a strong bosun's mate. Flogging with the cat o' nine tails fell into disuse around 1870.
Whereas the British naval cat rarely cut (contrary to graphic films) but rather abraded the skin, the falls (tresses) of the British Army cat were lighter (around 3.2 mm (1⁄8 in)) and the string was in fact codline - a very dense material akin to tarred string. Although the total whip would weigh only a fraction of a naval rope cat, the thin, dense codline tresses were far more likely to cut the skin.
It was also used elsewhere in the empire, notably at the penal colonies in Australia, and also in Canada (a dominion in 1867) where it was used until 1881. An 1812 drawing shows a drummer apparently lashing the buttocks of a naked soldier who is tied with spread legs on an A-frame made from sergeants' half pikes. In many places, soldiers were generally flogged stripped to the waist.
The cat-o'-nine-tails was also used on adult convicts in prisons; a 1951 memorandum (possibly confirming earlier practice) ordered all UK male prisons to use only cat o' nine tails (and birches) from a national stock at Wandsworth prison, where they were to be 'thoroughly' tested before being supplied in triplicate to a prison whenever a flogging was pending for use as prison discipline. In the 20th century, this use was confined to very serious cases involving violence against a prison officer, and each flogging had to be confirmed by central government.
Especially harsh floggings were given with it in secondary penal colonies of early colonial Australia, particularly at such places as Norfolk Island (apparently this had 9 leather thongs, each with a lead weight, meant as the ultimate deterrent for hardened life-convicts), Port Arthur and Moreton Bay (now Brisbane).
It was used on slave ships to punish the slaves.
Judicial corporal punishment was removed from the statute book in Great Britain in 1948. The cat was still being used in Australia in 1957 and is still in use in a few Commonwealth countries, although the cane is used in more countries.
However, some former colonies in the Caribbean have reinstated flogging with the cat. Antigua and Barbuda reinstated it in 1990, followed by the Bahamas in 1991 (where, however, it was subsequently banned by law) and Barbados in 1993 (only to be formally declared inhumane and thus unconstitutional by the Barbados Supreme Court).
Trinidad & Tobago never banned the "Cat". Under the Corporal Punishment (Offenders over Sixteen) Act 1953, use of the "Cat" was limited to male offenders over the age of 16. The age limit was raised in 2000 to 18.
The Government of Trinidad & Tobago has been accused of torture and "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners, and in 2005 was ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to pay US $50,000 for "moral damages" to a prisoner who had received 15 strokes of the "Cat" plus expenses for his medical and psychological care; it is unclear whether the Court's decisions were implemented. Trinidad & Tobago did not acknowledge the Court's jurisdiction, since it had denounced the American Convention on Human Rights several years before the Court started hearing this case.
The Animal Trilogy consists of three consecutively released Italian giallo films by Dario Argento: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1969), The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972). The giallo trilogy has had an influence on horror films and murder mysteries made outside of Italy since the early seventies.
The films are not connected to each other in any way and do not share characters or actors. The only connection they have is an animal in their title.Birching
Birching is a corporal punishment with a birch rod, typically applied to the recipient's bare buttocks, although occasionally to the back and/or shoulders.Blood knot
A blood knot (barrel knot) is most usefully employed for joining sections of monofilament nylon line while maintaining a high portion of the line's inherent strength. Other knots used for this purpose can cause a substantial loss of strength. In fly fishing, this serves to build a leader of gradually decreasing diameter with the castable fly line attached at the large diameter end and the fly or hook at the small diameter end. The principal drawback to the blood knot is the dexterity required to tie it. It is also likely to jam, which is not a concern in fishing line, which is no great loss to cut, but may be a concern in normal rope. "Blood knot" may refer to, "a double overhand knot tied in a cat-o'-nine-tails."
The barrel knot, called blood knot by Keith Rollo, is the best bend there is for small, stiff or slippery line. The ends may be trimmed short and the knot offers the least resistance possible when drawn through water.
A half blood knot (also clinch knot) is a knot that is used for securing a fishing line to a fishing lure, snap or swivel. When two half blood knots are used to join two lines they are considered as one knot and called a blood knot. A half blood knot is one of the strongest knots for tying a medium-size hook to a medium-size line such as hooksize 4 to 4/0 onto line size 6 lb to 30 lb.Cat Royal
Cat Royal (also known as Cat Royal Adventures) is a series of 7 historical fiction adventure books by Julia Golding, a British novelist.The main character of the series is an orphan named Catherine "Cat" Royal. The series are set in 18th Century London where Cat lives in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, after she was abandoned on the front steps of the theatre and taken in by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the owner of the theatre. The main themes are slavery and equality between people from all races and social classes. While the main cast of characters are fictional, some real historical figures, such as Olaudah Equiano, feature as supporting characters.
The first book, The Diamond of Drury Lane, takes place in January 1790, and the seventh book, Cat's Cradle, takes place in October 1792. Originally, the books had illustrated covers, but these were later replaced with photographic covers, with a model representing the protagonist, Cat Royal.Cat o' nine tails (disambiguation)
The cat o' nine tails is a type of multi-tailed whipping device.
Cat o' nine tails may also refer to:
Typha latifolia, the Cat O' Nine Tails plantCinzia De Carolis
Cinzia De Carolis (born 22 March 1960) is an Italian actress and voice actress. She appeared in more than fifteen films since 1968 including her performance as Lori in The Cat o' Nine Tails.Dario Argento
Dario Argento (Italian: [ˈdaːrjo arˈdʒɛnto]; born 7 September 1940) is an Italian film director, producer, film critic and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror film genre during the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in the subgenre known as giallo, and for his influence on modern horror films.
His movies include the "Animal Trilogy": The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1969), The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972); Deep Red (1975), and the "Three Mothers" trilogy, consisting of Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980) and The Mother of Tears (2007). Argento is an influential pioneer of the horror-film genre, and has been called the "Master of the Thrill" and "Master of Horror".Double overhand knot
The double overhand knot is simply a logical extension of the regular overhand knot, made with one additional pass. The result is slightly larger and more difficult to untie. It forms the first part of the surgeon's knot and both sides of a double fisherman's knot. The strangle knot is a rearranged double overhand knot made around an object. It is sometimes used to secure items to posts. According to The Ashley Book of Knots, "A double overhand knot tied in a cat-o'-nine-tails is termed a blood knot."Flagellation
Flagellation (Latin flagellum, "whip"), flogging, whipping or lashing is the act of beating the human body with special implements such as whips, lashes, rods, switches, the cat o' nine tails, the sjambok, the knout, etc. Typically, flogging is imposed on an unwilling subject as a punishment; however, it can also be submitted to willingly, or performed on oneself, in religious or sadomasochistic contexts.
The strokes are usually aimed at the unclothed back of a person, in certain settings it can be extended to other corporeal areas. For a moderated subform of flagellation, described as bastinado, the soles of a person's bare feet are used as a target for beating (see foot whipping).
In some circumstances the word "flogging" is used loosely to include any sort of corporal punishment, including birching and caning. However, in British legal terminology, a distinction was drawn (and still is, in one or two colonial territories) between "flogging" (with a cat-o'-nine-tails) and "whipping" (formerly with a whip, but since the early 19th century with a birch). In Britain these were both abolished in 1948.I due gattoni a nove code... e mezza ad Amsterdam
I due gattoni a nove code... e mezza ad Amsterdam (Italian for "The two cats o' nine tails ... and a half in Amsterdam") is a 1972 Italian comedy film written and directed by Osvaldo Civirani (here credited as Richard Kean). The title spoofs the Dario Argento's giallo The Cat o' Nine Tails (Il gatto a nove code in Italian).Impact play
Impact play is a human sexual practice in which one person (the bottom) is struck (usually repeatedly) by another person (the Top) for the sexual gratification of either or both parties. It is considered a form of BDSM.
There are number of activities that qualify as impact play.
In erotic spanking the sub is struck either with the top's open hand, or a rigid implement such as a paddle, cane or riding crop. In the latter case the activity is often referred to as paddling, caning or cropping. The usual targets for spanking are the buttocks and inner or outer thighs.
In erotic flagellation the sub is struck with a flexible implement such a whip or belt. Whips are classified by how many falls they have:
Single tails such as a bullwhip have a single fall. The associated activity is referred to as single tailing.
Floggers, such as a cat o' nine tails have many falls. The associated activity is referred to as flogging.
For safety, impact play should be done on areas of the human body well protected by fat or muscle; spots to avoid include the kidneys, neck, tailbone, hipbones, the head and all joints. The usual targets for flagellation are the buttocks and the two areas of the upper back below the shoulder blades. With care, the thighs, the backs of the calves and the chest can be targets as well. Breasts are another potential (but high-risk) target, and should only be used with experience.
The use of a whip means that the Top must take great care to hit the intended target area, and avoid wrapping; when a whip or flogger makes contact with the target area somewhere up its length and the remaining length wraps around the sub's body to deliver a sharp, non-erotic, and possibly injurious off-target blow, such as to the hipbones or ribs. The longer the falls, the more skill is required by the Top to land a safe blow. Advanced flogging techniques use a pair of floggers employed in a martial arts style alternating pattern, a technique commonly referred to as "florentining" or "florentine flogging."
Less common forms of impact play include punching and face slapping.
The sensations produced by impact play depend on the area in which the impact is concentrated. Wide implements such as an open hand, paddle or flogger produce a dull "thuddy" sensation. Narrow implements such as a cane, riding crop, belt or single tail produce a sharp "stingy" sensation.
A slapper or smacker may also be used. This consists of a broad (3 to 4 inch wide) semi flexible leather paddle with rounded and tapered edges, designed to minimize the severity of tip strike.Ninetails
Ninetails may refer to:
Ninetales, a nine-tailed fox in the Pokémon series.
Cat o' nine tails, a nine-tailed whip. Ninetails is an old Navy term for the nine-tailed whip used by ship captains on insubordinate sailors.
Typha latifolia, a perennial herbaceous plant sometimes known as Cat-o'-nine-tails.
Ninetails, a main boss from the video game Ōkami.Robert Shuster
Robert Shuster is a British judge who has been a judge on the courts of Tonga, Fiji, and Sierra Leone. Shuster is best known for a 2010 sentence in which he ordered two teenage boys in Tonga to be whipped.
Shuster was appointed to the Supreme Court of Tonga in May 2008. In 2010, two 17-year-old Tongan boys were convicted in Shuster's court of theft and escape from prison. As punishment, Shuster sentenced them each to 13 years' imprisonment and to be whipped on the buttocks six times with a cat-o-nine-tails. The sentence was legal under Tongan law, but corporal punishment had not been used as a legal punishment since the 1980s. The sentence sparked concern in Tonga and internationally, and the flogging portion of Shuster's sentence was overturned on appeal to the Court of Appeal.Shuster was the presiding judge at the Royal Commission of Enquiry into the sinking of the MV Princess Ashika. In May 2012, Shuster completed his second two-year term as a judge in Tonga and was replaced with New Zealander Charles Cato.Scourge
A scourge is a whip or lash, especially a multi-thong type, used to inflict severe corporal punishment or self-mortification. It is usually made of leather.The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Italian: L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo) is a 1970 giallo film directed by Dario Argento, in his directorial debut. The film is considered a landmark in the Italian giallo genre. It is the first installment in the Animal Trilogy, and was followed by The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972).
Written by Argento, the film is an uncredited adaptation of Fredric Brown's novel The Screaming Mimi, which had previously been made into a Hollywood film, Screaming Mimi (1958), directed by Gerd Oswald.The film was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe award for best motion picture in 1971. The film was originally cut by 20 seconds for its US release and received a 'GP' rating, though it was later re-classified as 'PG'. It has since been released in the US uncut. Upon its release the film was a huge box office hit, grossing 1,650,000,000 Italian lira (roughly about $1 million US), twice the production cost of $500,000. The film was also a success outside of Italy, gaining €1,366,884 admissions in Spain.The Cat o' Nine Tails
The Cat o' Nine Tails (Italian: Il gatto a nove code) is a 1971 giallo film written and directed by Dario Argento, adapted from a story by Dardano Sacchetti, Luigi Cozzi, and an uncredited Bryan Edgar Wallace. It stars Karl Malden, James Franciscus, and Catherine Spaak.Although it is the middle entry in Argento's so-called "Animal Trilogy" (along with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Four Flies on Grey Velvet), the titular "cat o' nine tails" does not directly refer to a literal cat, nor to a literal multi-tailed whip; rather, it refers to the number of leads that the protagonists follow in the attempt to solve a murder. Though, there is a particular scene that takes place in a cemetery, in which a literal cat is referred to by the characters.
Though successful in Europe, it was dismissed in the United States. Argento admitted in the book Broken Mirrors, Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento that he was less than pleased with the film, and has repeatedly cited it as his least favorite of all of his films.Thomas Bunbury (British Army officer, born 1791)
Thomas Bunbury (19 May 1791 – 1862) was a British army officer. He joined the 90th Regiment in 1807 and fought in the Peninsular War. He joined the 80th Regiment in 1822 and served in Australia, New Zealand and India.He was commandant of the garrison and convict settlement at Norfolk Island from April to July 1839. As commandant, he was confident in his ability to manage the hardened convicts under his command. He wrote that he could not understand why "a villain who has been guilty of every enormity, should feel shame at having his back scratched with the cat-o-nine-tails when he felt none for his atrocious crimes." He also claimed that "if a man is too sick to work he is too sick to eat" and claimed that the queue at the hospital was halved. Although his punishments were harsh, he replaced hand hoeing with ploughs, rewarded good behaviour with improved jobs and gave older convicts lighter work.
He earned the ire of the soldiers on the island by ordering the destruction of huts built on the small gardens they kept for their own use and for trafficking with the convicts. The soldiers mutinied, a warship was sent to restore peace and Bunbury was recalled in July 1839.
In 1840, after William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, suffered a stroke, Bunbury was sent to New Zealand with instructions to take over as Lieutenant-Governor if Hobson was incapacitated, but he had recovered. Bunbury took the Treaty of Waitangi to the South Island on HMS Herald and took possession of the island. He was made a magistrate in 1841 and acted as Deputy Governor in January 1844. Later in 1844 he was sent to India.He retired on 31 December 1849 and returned to England where he died in 1862.Typha latifolia
Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail, bulrush, common bulrush, common cattail, cat-o'-nine-tails, great reedmace, cooper's reed, cumbungi) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the genus Typha. It is found as a native plant species in North and South America, Europe, Eurasia, and Africa. In Canada, broadleaf cattail occurs in all provinces and also in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and in the United States, it is native to all states except Hawaii. It is an introduced and invasive species, and is considered a noxious weed, in Australia and Hawaii. It has been reported in Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.Typha latifolia has been found in a variety of climates, including tropical, subtropical, southern and northern temperate, humid coastal, and dry continental. It is found at elevations from sea level to 7,500 feet (2,300 m).
Typha latifolia is an "obligate wetland" species, meaning that it is always found in or near water. The species generally grows in flooded areas where the water depth does not exceed 2.6 feet (0.8 meters). However, it has also been reported growing in floating mats in slightly deeper water. T. latifolia grows mostly in fresh water but also occurs in slightly brackish marshes. The species can displace other species native to salt marshes upon reduction in salinity. Under such conditions the plant may be considered invasive, since it interferes with preservation of the salt marsh habitat.Typha latifolia shares its range with other related species, and hybridizes with Typha angustifolia, narrow-leaf cattail, to form Typha × glauca (Typha angustifolia × T. latifolia), white cattail. Common cattail is usually found in shallower water than narrow-leaf cattail.
The plant is 1.5 to 3 metres (5 to 10 feet) high and it has 2–4 cm (¾ to 1½ inch) broad leaves, and will generally grow out in to 0.75 to 1 metre (2 to 3 feet) of water depth.Whip
A whip is a tool which was traditionally designed to strike animals or people to aid guidance or exert control over animals or other people, through pain compliance or fear of pain, although in some activities, whips can be used without use of pain, such as an additional pressure aid or visual directional cue in equestrianism. Whips are generally of two types, either a firm stick designed for direct contact, or a flexible whip that requires a specialized swing to be effective, but has a longer reach and greater force, but may have less precision. There are also whips which combine both a firm stick (the stock or handle) and a flexible line (the lash or thong), such as hunting whips.
The majority of whips are designed for use on animals, although whips such as the "cat o' nine tails" and knout were specifically developed for flagellation as a means of inflicting corporal punishment or torture on human targets. Certain religious practices and BDSM activities involve the self-use of whips or the use of whips between consenting partners. Misuse on animals may be considered animal cruelty, and misuse on humans may be viewed as assault.