Related to a Ship’s Anchor, especially with Sailing Vessel’s, The Cathead was a wooden Beam located on either side of a Ships Bow. These Beams were angled (roughly at 45 degrees) and served to support The Anchor when raising or lower it into or from the Sea. Beams needed to be heavy (thick) enough to support the often massive weight of an Iron Cast Anchor. “Cat Stoppers” were attachments used to affix The Anchor to The Cathead.
These were iron loops or hoops. The term “Cathead” was said to have derived from the Danish practice of carving the face of a Lion or other Predatory Feline on the wooden ends. The Term is first officially used as early as the 17th Century with most Seafaring Countries. Another form of Cathead involved a wooden Beam that featured disc shaped runners. Extended from a Ship in Dock (Port), Anchor Lines were ran over and thru the Beam to prevent line fouling.