Before World War II, although carriers were fitted with catapults, takeoffs were usually accomplished by a deck run rather a catapult launch. It was quicker and to a small extent safer since catapult failures were not unknown. However, as airplanes got heavier, requiring more distance to take off, and more of them were crowded on deck, resulting in less distance for a takeoff run, the catapult launch became more the rule than the exception.
The catapult bridle (two attach points on the aircraft) or pendant (one attach point) was considered disposable. It simply dropped from the aircraft and fell into the sea off the bow after the launch. It's not clear whether there was an alternative hookup during the war which retained the bridle/pendant on deck.
Still later, somewhat after the introduction of the angled deck and the steam catapult, "bridle catchers" were added ahead of the catapult on some carriers. It appears that on those carriers without bridle catchers, the previous practice of using elastic straps to retain the bridle/pendant on deck was no longer used and it was disposed of with each launch.