Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, was a morally ambiguous thief whose plans were continually foiled by Batman. Although she was a thief at heart, she was also a vocal animal rights activist, sometimes using her costumed persona to investigate and thwart companies violating animal rights.
Despite the constant crime and danger that gripped Gotham City, the seemingly very wealthy Ms. Selina Kyle provided some light and fought for the rights of animals everywhere. A $10,000 investment at a charity dinner bought her a date with Bruce Wayne, who became attracted to her immediately.
Meanwhile, as a cat-burglar, she ran through Gotham, stealing precious items of value, such as jewels. Catwoman's crimes were quick and efficient... until Batman intervened. Though he failed to catch the thief, Catwoman was impressed, and quickly became infatuated with the Dark Knight.
Selina had intended to set up a wildlife preserve, but industrialist corporation Multigon purchased the land from under her and set the foundation to build a resort. Though she and Bruce argued with the Multigon execs, their efforts were fruitless. Meanwhile, Catwoman broke into the complex. Though she was careful, she had been caught in the act: Red Claw sent spies to follow the burglar, and they discovered her secret: Catwoman and Selina Kyle were one and the same person.
Assassins attempted to kill Selina on the highway, but Bruce Wayne's evasive driving saved them both. Catwoman became ever concerned about the true nature of Multigon, and broke into the facility created in the mountains. She was captured, and tied together with Batman. Red Claw had stolen a plague and activated it to kill the two. However, Catwoman broke them free and, at Batman's urging, escaped from the facility. While Batman destroyed the plague, Catwoman faced Red Claw. Red Claw had superior martial training; Catwoman, however, made better use of her environment. An approaching mountain lion tackled Red Claw, and the terrorist was arrested. Reuniting with Batman, she proposed a team-up considering their mutual attractions. Despite his own feelings, he arrested Catwoman.
Though she had committed theft, Selina had also helped save Gotham from annihilation. The judge sentenced her to five years of parole, a sentence met by cheers from a court audience. There was, however, one condition: Selina must never again don her Catwoman persona.
Selina's fairy tale was cut short: Isis had disappeared while under Maven's watch. Selina took to the streets, searching for her cat. After several hours, she came across two strays in an alley under siege by henchmen of Roland Daggett. Though she manage to stop the assailants (with a little help from Batman), she was arrested along with them. Maven contacted Bruce Wayne, who posted Selina's bail. Though she wasn't romantically interested in the billionaire, she valued his friendship, and promised not to get involved with Roland Daggett... as Selina Kyle.
Those same henchman had captured Isis and turned her over to Milo, who in collaboration with Daggett, had formed a highly lethal virus and an anti-toxin. Exposing the virus to several of Gotham's strays, they intended to release the epidemic into the city, and then provide the cure, making Daggett both a hero and a fortune.
Catwoman first discovered the lab and the animal involvement. She freed Isis, but the cat had already been infected and turned feral. She bit Catwoman, and who became infected herself. She clumsily escaped, and encountered Batman during her flee. From there, the Dark Knight began his own investigation. He foiled the plot, and saved Selina's life. Both were heralded as heroes by the media. Batman quickly tracked down Isis, and returned the estranged cat to her rightful owner.
Some time later, Selina was assaulted during a late-evening visit to Gotham Zoo by the ape-man, Garth. He took her to his master, Dr. Emile Dorian, a geneticist. Though Garth was only a step in the overall process, Dorian had perfected his human/animal combination in his creation Tygrus. Tygrus, however, had become lonely in his existence, and desired a mate. Selina's penchant for cats made her the perfect candidate.
The kidnapping also made Selina fail to arrive for her date with Bruce Wayne, thus bringing Batman to the scene. However, he arrived too late; Selina had been transformed into a literal catwoman. Batman threatened Dorian for an antidote, but Tygrus stopped the Dark Knight. Using Selina as a bargaining chip, Dorian pitted Batman against Tygrus in a survival match. Before they returned, though, Selina broke free, and headed into the jungle to find Batman. She found him, and convinced Tygrus that Batman was not his enemy.
Batman and Selina returned to the laboratory to acquire the antigen. Dorian threatened Batman first, and then Selina, which sent Tygrus spiraling into a rage. He destroyed the lab while Batman and Selina escaped. He then turned Dorian and the antigen over to Selina and Batman. After leaving the island, Selina returned to her normal self.
At one point, Batman was captured by the Joker. Restrained in the Laughter Activated Electric Chair and televised in front of a live studio audience drugged with laughing gas, the future was dim for the Dark Knight. However, Catwoman arrived and sabotaged the event. Batman escaped as the Chair exploded, but was unable to save Catwoman. Impersonating Killer Croc, he infiltrated the Rogues' Poker Game and discovered the location of the imprisoned Catwoman. Heading to Pussycan's Pet Food Factory, Batman arrested Harley Quinn and saved Catwoman. Atop the factory's roof, Catwoman admitted some of her feelings for Batman, which he evaded responding to.
Still, Selina continued to uphold her court agreement and refrained from using the Catwoman persona for her own personal gains. Without the ability to live her life the way she wanted, Selina felt caged and alienated from society. After making a scene at a party (where she was a guest of Bruce's), Selina left. Hailing a taxi, she was instead picked up by Rhino, where she had a meeting with Scarface and the Ventriloquist. Scarface offered Selina a foolproof opportunity to resume the Catwoman identity and settle a bit of a score with Veronica Vreeland. Though she initially declined, the offer was too good; Catwoman took the mantle of crime once more.
Scarface had other plans. As Catwoman broke into the Gotham Museum, he set his henchmen to sound the alarm, drawing the guards' attention to the feline thief. Catwoman attempted to escape, but as she climbed a dinosaur skeleton to her presumed safety, Scarface detonated a pre-planted explosive, and Catwoman took the fall.
Catwoman managed to escape, and retreated to her apartment. Planning to make a quick getaway out of Gotham, she instead received a visit from Batman. Investigating the burglary, he wanted to know Selina's involvement. She coerced him into believing she was innocent, and they agreed to return to the museum to explain her side of the story. There, the two did some quick detective work, and Catwoman quickly deduced Scarface's true intentions: cover up his own heist with a different theft. Catwoman made no hesitation to take Scarface on her own. Batman tried to stop her, but she evaded capture.
She tracked Scarface to an abandoned doll factory, where he was selling the stolen animals to various buyers, including the Penguin. Thinking she was sneaking up on Scarface, in truth she had walked into a trap. She briefly escaped, only to run into Rhino, whose physical strength outmatched hers. He brought her to Scarface, and they planned to kill her. However, Batman, who had been tracking Selina all along, arrived.
While Batman held Rhino at bay, Catwoman chased the Ventriloquist and Scarface. Apprehending the doll, she tossed him onto a conveyor belt, where he was destroyed. She then planned to attack the Ventriloquist, but Batman stopped her. Giving in to her natural instincts, Catwoman grabbed the stuffed tiger and tossed it into a fire, forcing Batman to choose between rescuing a priceless relic and detaining the thief. As he dove into the fire and saved the statue, Catwoman escaped.
A ("new") life of crime
Some time later, a priceless Jade Cat statuette was stolen from Gotham University. Though a theft like that was certainly Catwoman's MO, Selina had not, in fact, committed the crime. Investigating the true perpetrator, she ran into Batgirl, who believed to have caught the thief returning to the crime scene. Catwoman explained her motives, and the two began to investigate, until Robin arrived to begin his own investigation. Sensing trouble for her court, Catwoman fled, promising to meet with Batgirl at a later point.
She did just that, waiting at the Bayshore Pier the following evening. Stating she was impressed by Batgirl's performance the night before, Catwoman offered a truce and a partnership. Batgirl agreed, with the condition that Catwoman would turn herself in if Batgirl discovered the feline was lying. The two headed to the Stacked Deck to get the information they wanted. The person they needed was the Chemist. Catwoman had acquired some of the residue from the traps that were dissolved, and wanted to know what acid was used. Though he fled, Catwoman deduced the acid was made by Roland Daggett.
The two headed to the same laboratory where Daggett had made the virus which once infected Catwoman, as well as the Renuyu drug. However, they'd walked into a trap. Daggett had wanted to lure Catwoman into a trap, and succeeded in that. Planning to kill the two women, he unveiled his plot. He wasn't able to carry it forward; Robin arrived to even the odds. Catwoman broke free from her bonds and chased Daggett while Robin and Batgirl battled Daggett's thugs. Taking the Jade Cat for herself, she left Daggett dangling over a pit of acid while she escaped. Batgirl pursued and caught Selina, who agreed to hold her end of the bargain. However, she didn't specify how far she'd let the police take her, and escaped once more.
Return to Gotham
Some years later, Catwoman returned to Gotham City, now sporting a new look. Selina's first act back in Gotham involved Enrique El Gancho (Ricky the Hook) who began running a munitions smuggling ring through Gotham, a racket Nightwing was not about to let idly slip by. Breaking up one of the deliveries, he was chasing down a thug when Catwoman nabbed the con for him. Professing redemption, she began working with him to uncover all of Ricky's plans. All the while she began flirting with Nightwing in a shameless manner, much like she often did with Batman in the past.
Batman, however, didn't trust Selina's motives. Paying her a visit, he demanded she stay away from Nightwing, who happened to arrive shortly thereafter. Batman left, and Nightwing and Catwoman began to plan their next stakeout. According to the information they stole, a ship dubbed Little Angels was set to harbor in Gotham that night. Speculating it was the big shipment, Nightwing and Catwoman headed to the pier to investigate further.
Breaking into the ship was an easy task, and they quickly learned Ricky was smuggling artifacts. Catwoman, however, had done some smuggling of her own. Having stolen the Cats Eye Emerald (also known as the Jewel of Argentina), she set it in Ricky's cargo and waited for the ship to make its way to Gotham. She then used Nightwing as the tool to find it upon its arrival.
However, Catwoman wasn't the only adept at deception. Nightwing and Batman had set Selina up, following her right to the Emerald. Ricky and his thugs arrived just then. While Batgirl, Batman, and Nightwing held them at bay, Catwoman escaped. The trio quickly dispatched the thugs, and while Batman fought Ricky, Nightwing pursued Catwoman. The feline planned to escape via boat, but Nightwing caught and apprehended her.
Some time later, Catwoman managed to steal a golden cat statue from a Cult. A cat worshiping Cult, to be specific. And a persistent one at that. The cult pursued Selina far outside their worshiping grounds. Fearing her life, she took refuge in the Batmobile, waiting for the Dark Knight to return. Pleading for help, he agreed, under one condition: Selina had to return everything she'd ever stolen. Though reluctant, she decided she valued her life more than her things, and agreed to Batman's deal.
The two began to investigate just who was after Catwoman. They discovered Thomas Blake, the Cult's leader, was obsessed with revenge, which in turn made the Cult obsessed with revenge, as they had pursued Batman and Catwoman to one of Catwoman's hideouts. They escaped into the furnace, but the followers amplified the gas output and lit it, causing an explosion that threw the two vigilantes into the air. Batman escaped, but the Cult captured Catwoman.
Blake planned to sacrifice Catwoman, but Selina, ever the seductress, convinced him otherwise, and in fact left him believing she intended to join his Cult. In truth, however, she simply intended to steal more. When Batman arrived to free her, he caught her in the act. She once again professed a desire to change and when Batman believed her she took the opportunity to knock him unconscious, this was in order to prevent the Cult from killing him outright, thus saving him for the time being. With Batman as his prisoner Blake and the Cult were led to believe Catwoman truly intended to join them, and they forwent her initiation.
With Catwoman at his side, Blake pit Batman against a genetically altered cat. But Selina quickly switched sides and joined the fray, aiding the Dark Knight. Turning the cat against its masters, Batman and Catwoman took the opportunity to escape the arena.
As they were leaving, however, Blake and his female assistant attacked. Catwoman quickly dispatched the woman, and took Batman and Blake's preoccupation with one another as an opportunity to rob the Cult blind. After these events, and obviously aware she would never have a normal relationship with Batman, Selina is last seen living a wealthy life in Paris accompanied by her cat, Isis.
During the Batwoman scandal at Gotham City, Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth suggested the possibility that Batwoman was in reality Selina Kyle under a new disguise. However, Bruce was confident and had his motives that Selina wasn't Batwoman because she had more regard for human life. He ultimately proved that he was right.
Decades into the future, Selina Kyle was no longer a part of Bruce Wayne's life, but he kept a picture of her, both in and out of costume, in a file of women he had been close to. After Terry McGinnis's first encounter with Melanie Walker, he asked Bruce if something like that had ever happened to him, and he told him about Selina.
Abilities and equipment
Catwoman had no abilities beyond those of a normal human being. However, she was relatively fit, and displayed some gymnastics training. Additionally, Selina was an effective seductress, a talent she employed to remove herself from treacherous situations, be they with Batman, the police, or otherwise. She also has a way with any feline, knowing how to keep her enemies' cats from attacking herself.
The gloves of her costume were outfitted with retractable claws, which could be used for combat, climbing and even cutting glass. Additionally, she carried a whip, as both a weapon and for grappling buildings. She was also known to carry razor-sharp cat figurines, used to stall her pursuers. Finally, she was known to (on occasion) bring her cat Isis during her burglaries, whom she would rely on for retrieving items, navigating small spaces and even detecting defenses that were invisible to the human eye. To ensure her cat's safety and return, Catwoman brought a small cat whistle to summon the feline.
When under control of the Mad Hatter's mind control apparatus, Batman saw a world where his parents Thomas and Martha Wayne had never been killed. In this "Wonderland", Selina and Bruce Wayne were engaged and they had never become Catwoman and Batman respectively.
The original design of Catwoman in Batman: The Animated Series was similar to that seen in Tim Burton's 1992 film Batman Returns, which premiered a couple of months before the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series.
Due to the positive reception of her portrayal in Batman: The Animated Series, the Fox network approached Bruce Timm to create a spin-off series focusing in the adventures of Catwoman. Although some concept art was made, the idea was eventually scrapped in favor of the production of Superman: The Animated Series. In an interview with Boyd Kirkland, he revealed that around 2003, during the production of Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, he was asked by Warner to write an script for a Catwoman spin-off film, entitled The Catwoman, to serve as a tie-in to the 2004 film Catwoman. After the live-action film was critically panned, Kirkland's script was scrapped and the project cancelled.
During an interview with The World's Finest, Bruce Timm revealed that he and Glen Murakami originally planned to make a second Batman Beyond DTV that would have revealed an aged Catwoman to be responsible of Terry McGinnis' origins. Selina's son was supposed to be the main antagonist of the film. However, the film was scrapped for being considered too dark, like Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
When Batman: The Animated Series became The New Batman Adventures, Catwoman's character underwent some major changes. Her outfit changed from dark gray with black gloves and boots to entirely black. The mask (its eyeholes replaced by white lenses) only revealed her mouth and the area around it, and also made her skin appear chalk white (likely via greasepaint makeup) and darker red lipstick. Selina Kyle's look changed as well. Her hair changed from long and blonde to short and dark.
This change in appearance is explained in the tie-in comic Batman: Gotham Adventures #4, where Selina is revealed to have previously been dying her hair blonde for years but stopped when she realized the company creating her hair dye was testing on animals. She retained this look in Gotham Girls.