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I am the cat who walks by herself.
~ Catwoman.

Catwoman (Selina Kyle) is a prominent character in Batman: The Animated Series and its sequel, The New Batman Adventures. She is a morally ambiguous thief and a foil and romantic interest for Batman. Although she is a thief at heart, she is also a vocal animal rights activist, sometimes using her costumed persona to investigate and thwart companies violating animal rights.

She was voiced by Adrienne Barbeau.

History

Catlike thief

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: the terrorist Red Claw, the brains behind Multigon, sent spies to follow the burglar, and they discovered her secret: Catwoman and Selina Kyle were one and the same.

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.

Catwoman returns

Though found guilty of theft, Selina Kyle receives a lenient sentence - five years of probation in lieu of jail time - because she helped save Gotham from annihilation. There is, however, one condition: Selina must never again don her Catwoman persona.

Meanwhile Selena discovers that her beloved cat 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 thugs working for corrupt businessman 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 Daggett... as Selina Kyle.

Those same henchman had captured Isis and turned her over to renegade scientist Professor Milo, who had developed for Daggett 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 her 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 Pussykins 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.

Return to crime

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, a criminal working for the Ventriloquist and Scarface. Scarface offered Selina a foolproof opportunity to resume the Catwoman identity and settle a score with socialite and rival 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 her. As he dove into the fire and saved the statue, Catwoman escaped.

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