What is a Cat O’Nine Tails?
Cat O’ Nine Tails is a whip, made of cord or leather, with nine tails. Historically whips like these were used in extreme punishment or torture scenarios. In modern days, the cat o’nine tails has gained its popularity as an instrument used in BDSM practices.
The first noted use of the term “cat o’nine tails” was in 1681. Fourteen years later, William Congreve included the term in his work “Love for Love,” which solidified its place in common language.
There are variations of the whip used. Some would have a different number of tails and would be then called ‘cat o’X tails’. These are still widely used for punishments in different countries, although the number continues to decrease due to human rights laws.
Like all kinds of whips used in BDSM, cat o’nine tails are used by Dom’s on subs during a scene for punishment or pain play. Most of these whips are comprised of a hard or stiff handle and loose leather or corded thongs. Loose flat leather is largely for beginners. When wanting to step it up a notch, thinner strands with knots on the ends create a greater impact and cause more pain. The most extreme whips in this category have hard or sharp inclusions on the end of the whipping end which can bruise or tear skin. These are reserved for only the most sadistic Dom’s and submissives into advanced high pain play.
Dos & Don’ts
Like all forms of whipping or impact play, there is always a risk of injuring the submissive. While most Cat O’Nine Tails do not pose a large threat of injury, some may occur. Be sure to educate yourself on safe spanking practices and zones. Be careful of whipping over organs or bones if using a whip with knots or hard inclusions. If the skin of your submissive breaks intentionally or unintentionally, be sure to apply proper first aid.
Other types of whips used in impact play are floggers, bullwhips, and dragon’s tails. Equipment such as paddles and canes are also heavily favored in impact punishments. BDSM furniture such as crosses, stocks, and bondage beds can be used to keep a submissive still during these kinds of punishments.