Catwoman is one of the most iconic female characters in the Batman universe. She was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Since the cat burglar's first appearance in 1940, she’s accumulated quite the following.
Selina Kyle first started as a thief and enemy of Batman, but has evolved into a complex character who plays both villain and hero, as well as a romantic partner. She’s done many things during her time in Gotham, including being a prostitute, a mother, a murderer, a CEO, a member of the Gotham City Sirens, and more.
Batman is smart, wealthy, a great fighter, and a dangerous opponent. He and Catwoman have a complex love/hate relationship. While their enduring romance gets a lot of attention, Selina can hold her own without the help of the Dark Knight. Though he’s certainly heroic and powerful, there are some skills that she possess that Bruce Wayne simply doesn't.
Sometimes they pair up to work together, but the pair has also faced off many times. The outcome varies when they fight, with neither beating the other every single time. Regardless of which character beats which, it is clear that Selina has her own unique skill set.
Here are the 15 Things Catwoman Can Do That Batman Can’t.
15 She's faster than Batman
Batman’s reflexes are extremely fast and he’s incredibly agile. He can quickly react to multiple attacks and dodge gunfire. His speed is nearly superhuman. However, he isn’t quite as fast as Catwoman. She is able to outmaneuver and outrun nearly any opponent.
Her cat-like reflexes make her a fast, flexible, and agile fighter. She’s able to evade her opponent’s attacks from multiple directions and she can quickly change from evading to attacking.
When she does attack, she is hard to predict because of her fast movements. She isn’t easily defeated in a fight. These reflexes also allow her to jump great lengths and heights, so she can flee a scene quickly and quietly.
Her speed has helped her elude capture by the Dark Knight, as well as Nightwing, on many occasions.
14 She's a master of disguise
Batman is great at slipping between the roles of vigilante hero and millionaire Bruce Wayne. He plays both parts very well. He’s also pretended to be a gangster called Matches Malone. While it’s impressive, it isn’t nearly as notable at Catwoman's myriad of identities.
In order to implement her many heists, Catwoman creates all kinds of aliases. She’s a master of disguise. For example, she once posed as a nightclub goer in order to meet the owners and later return to rob them. She has also pretended to be an old woman in order to steal jewelry on a cruise ship.
In the 1960s film Batman, she pretended to be a woman named Miss Kitka in order to seduce Bruce Wayne and kidnap him. Batman was unaware that she was Catwoman until the end of the film.
13 She is street savvy
While both Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle grew up as orphans, they had entirely different upbringings. After his parents were killed, Bruce had a guardian, Alfred, and was raised with wealth and an education. Selina’s mother committed suicide and her father drank himself to death. She ended up living on the streets of Gotham at a young age, stealing and fighting to survive.
While Bruce’s childhood resulted in the creation of Batman, Selina’s created a master thief who grew up to become extremely street smart. Batman has fancy gadgets and is certainly intelligent, but Catwoman is more familiar with the criminal underground in the city.
Her knowledge of Gotham makes her a great thief, capable of stealing from just about anyone. She’s stealthy as well, able to listen in on conversations most want unheard. Selina is the perfect shade of grey to help Batman when he needs it. He has the gadgets, she has the criminal intel.
12 She Has An Affinity For Cats
Obviously, Catwoman has a thing for cats. She wears a catsuit and always seems to have one of the animals by her side.
The cat thing goes beyond just liking them, however. She possesses feline empathy, a connection that causes cats to flock to her. She can sense if a cat is distressed, hungry, or hurt, making it easier for her to calm them or train them. They recognize that she’s a friend and will come to her aid when she needs help and even fight for her. This includes both house cats and big cats, such as tigers.
Selina decided to form a persona that represented her strong affinity. She took on the name Catwoman and began dressing like a cat, from the ears to the claws. While Batman can control bats, he is only able to do it with science. He doesn’t have a deep connection to the animals like Catwoman.
11 She is a master theif
While Batman is a great detective, Catwoman is a great thief. She’s known throughout Gotham City for her burglary skills.
Selina grew up on the streets as an orphan, so she had to learn how to survive on her own. Part of that survival included petty thievery from places like grocery stores. She eventually moved up to becoming a cat burglar.
However, she isn’t the type to commit a high-profile robbery at a bank. She’s incredibly stealthy and slips in and out of jewelry shops and rich people’s homes without notice. Catwoman enjoys stealing from the wealthy and corrupt, seeing as she was a part of the poorer end of Gotham growing up. She has also been known to steal cat-like artifacts.
While Batman certainly is stealthy, he doesn’t make a habit of robberies. Although Selina has helped Batman before, her thievery is a big part of what labels her a villainess and what makes her who she is.
10 She's a seductress
Catwoman has been revered as a sexy, elusive, and deadly female character. She’s a master manipulator, using her charm and sexuality to get what she wants.
She flirts in order to get herself out of dangerous situations, playing on men’s desires. She’s engaged in this behavior with police, other villains, and, of course, with Batman. He knows that she’s a criminal, but he’s always tempted to save her from her life of crime. She knows this, and uses it against him.
Selina will tease and flirt just to mess with an opponent. Much like a cat, she enjoys playing with people for her own gain or amusement. While Batman gets his fair share of attention from women, he doesn’t typically seduce others for information or personal gain.
9 She fights with claws
While Batman has all kinds of gadgets to help him fight crime, there’s one Catwoman has that he doesn’t. Her gloves have retractable claws that extend and retract from her fingertips. Sometimes there are claws on the toes of her boots as well. She uses these for close combat.
Her razor-sharp claws are made of steel and are controlled by pressure triggers. They are strong enough to rip through a bulletproof vest and puncture aluminum. They also allow her to climb different surfaces. The claws, combined with her martial arts skills and and reflexes, make her a dangerous and deadly opponent.
At one point when facing Killer Croc, the cat burglar had her gloves upgraded so that they were sharper and possessed titanium claws in order to pierce his thick skin.
8 She wields a bullwhip
One of the most iconic aspects of Catwoman’s persona is her whip. She has a collection of whips and cat o’nine tails that she uses as weapons. She’s highly skilled with her infamous whip, using it to fight opponents and occasionally as a grappling hook.
She uses a whip because it’s a weapon that others aren’t typically trained with. Therefore her opponents, such as Batman, can’t take it and use it against her very easily. It also helps her swing from ledges, grab objects, and trip up enemies.
Michelle Pfeiffer trained for months in order to use the whip as Catwoman in Batman Returns. She worked until she could hit a target, wrap a wrist, wanting to be as authentically Selina Kyle as possible. It was the first time the whip was seen extensively on screen.
7 She is okay with using guns
Everyone is aware that the Dark Knight isn’t a fan of guns. While he has used them in the past, he doesn’t typically like to use lethal weapons. Catwoman, on the other hand, has no problem wielding a gun. Her morals aren’t as straightforward as Batman’s.
Other than her claws and her whip, she is frequently seen sporting a pistol. While it isn’t her first choice, she typically uses the gun if her whip has been taken away. Unlike Batman, she’s also not afraid to take a life, although that usually isn’t her style.
In The Dark Knight Rises, Catwoman pulls out a gun and Batman tells her “no guns.” Her response was “Where’s the fun in that?” This highlights the a huge difference between the two.
6 She doesn't abide by any rules
Batman is known for possessing a strong moral code. It is widely known that most versions of the hero won’t kill his enemies. He will also try to stop other people from killing in his presence, wanting to show them a “better way.” He puts others before himself, and tries to do what’s best in the name of justice and the law.
Catwoman, on the other hand, is morally ambiguous. Sometimes she is a criminal, other times she plays the hero. She isn’t a vigilante like Bruce because she is willing to endanger innocent lives to get what she wants. She will kill someone if she thinks it’s the best option. Selina does what is right according to her own perspective.
She will, at times, fight for other people, however. Because she grew up poor on the streets, she will protect those that have no one else to fight for them when the mood strikes.
Unlike Batman, though, she doesn’t do it for the sake of fighting crime and cleaning up Gotham. Catwoman plays the hero role only when she deems it necessary. In most cases, she’ll act in whichever way most benefits her.
5 She can work with other villains to get what she wants
When villains see Batman on the rooftops of Gotham, they are quick to run away. They know he is out to lock thieves, murderers, and psychotic clowns away. Catwoman, however, fits right in. As much as Batman would like to get information from criminals, they don’t trust him. Instead, they’re more likely to trust a fellow thief.
While she does team up with the Caped Crusader at times, she is not a hero. She’ll do what is best for her, whether it’s stealing jewels or fighting the police. This works to her benefit. Not only will she work with Batman, she’ll also work with other villains to get what she wants.
She can essentially work with both sides depending on what she needs. That’s an advantage that most heroes don’t have.
4 She's in touch with her humanity and emotions
Since his parents were killed, Batman doesn’t like to be in touch with his emotional side. If he could, he would never be Bruce and only be Batman. In most cases, he acts more like a crime-fighting machine than a human being. Catwoman also had a tragic childhood, but rather than let it consume her, she kept in touch with her human emotions.
While she doesn’t care about much outside of her own needs, she does care about Bruce. In their encounters, Selina is quick to remind Bruce of his human side. Her emotional side is also what convinces her to help people on the street who are struggling. She wishes that she could only do what is best for her, but the humanity in her won’t let her ignore certain problems.
While Batman is a tough, proficient crime-fighter, his lack of emotions perpetuates his loneliness and anger. It is hard for him to see outside his world of justice. Meanwhile, Catwoman is still able to see the good in people and has kept her sense of humor.
3 She represents empowered women
While Batman is looked up to by many kids, it’s not in the same manner as Catwoman. When she was first introduced on television in the 1960s Batman show, she fascinated both men and women. Julie Newmar’s portrayal of Catwoman was one of the first female characters on TV to represent female empowerment.
Catwoman has always been very independent. She has never waited around for men to take care of her. She doesn’t play the damsel in distress, and instead, knows exactly how to get herself out of danger. If she wants something, she goes and gets it. Catwoman isn’t easily intimidated and is extremely strong-willed. In her relationship with Batman, he doesn’t overpower her-- they’re equals.
In the male dominated world of comic books, Catwoman certainly stands out. She is regarded as a symbol of feminine power, which is something that Batman obviously can’t be.
2 She is witty and sarcastic
While Batman has his rare moments of humor, he isn’t exactly a funny person. The Joker has been trying to make the Dark Knight laugh for years. Among the Bat-Family, he is the least likely to crack a joke. Catwoman, however, is incredibly witty and playful, always using sarcasm and making jokes.
She certainly has a mouth on her and is full of sassy and quippy one liners. She even makes cat jokes and puns. Selina knows how to use this to frustrate and confuse her enemies, and much like a cat plays with its victims, she does the same using her words.
Batman doesn’t necessarily joke around with Catwoman, but they certainly have a lot of playful, back-and-forth conversations. She constantly uses her sense of humor to play with his head for her own amusement.
1 She is cunning and manipulative
Selina is sly, alluring, and smart. She knows how to play others to get what she wants. Batman is good at getting his way as well, but unlike Catwoman, he uses brute force and fear to accomplish his goals.
Catwoman is great at convincing others to help her with her words. She uses her sexuality and wit in order to tease and manipulate people. She is particularly manipulative towards Batman, knowing that he harbors confusing feelings for her. While she seems to have serious feelings for him as well, if she can use him to her advantage, she will. Selina is great at convincing him to either work with her or let her escape.
She is a master con-artist and easily fits the mold of whatever people want her to be. If Bruce thinks she’s an innocent girl caught up in a bad situation then that is the role she’ll play. She’s a very convincing actress when she needs to be.
Can you think of any other things that Catwoman can do that Batman can't? Let us know in the comments!