In odd and macabre learning today, I discovered the etymology of the phrase "couldn't swing a cat".
I had thought that it referred to an actual cat - maybe something from Shoenderger's experiments, or perhaps a veterinarian resuscitation term coined by James Herriot.
No, the cat in question is a "cat o' nine tails".
The phrase actually originated in the British Navy. Prior to 1806, corporal punishment was common and allowed in the British Navy, and flogging was often used.
It is important to note though, that early naval ships were quite small, and, when fully staffed, were often quite full.
I can imagine that it would have been difficult to swing a whip in those circumstances.
I also glad it has been made verboten