"The Cat and the Claw" is the two-part series premiere of Batman: The Animated Series. Although the two parts were produced as the fifteenth and sixteenth episodes ("On Leather Wings" being the first), Part 1 was aired first on September 5, 1992 to tap into the interest in the character of Catwoman aroused by the release of the live-action film Batman Returns. Part 2 was later aired on September 12, 1992 as the eighth aired episode.
Out in uptown Gotham City, Catwoman sneaks into an expensive apartment and steals a valuable necklace using her cat, Isis to see the security lasers and slip past them. However, Batman is watching and chases after the culprit. Catwoman is intrigued but leaps from the building top and uses her whip and acrobatic abilities to flee. Batman easily manages to catch up with her and chases her over the rooftops of Gotham. The chase eventually comes to an end in an alleyway and Catwoman attacks. She manages to bury him under trashcans and runs, but Isis is almost run over in the middle of the road. Fortunately for Isis, Batman saves her. Catwoman blows a cat-whistle and calls Isis up.
Later, a charity auction for animal preserves is held for a date with the most eligible bachelors in Gotham, next on the list: Bruce Wayne. The bidding goes on for a while and finally ends when Selina Kyle, a sponsor for a mountain lion preserve, bids ten thousand dollars for him. Bruce is delighted to be her date but Selina is more interested in saving the animals. Bruce insists on dating her and she agrees to go to lunch with him.
Outside, police give chase to a military truck holding army weapons. Bruce disappears and Batman takes the scene apprehending the criminals and stopping the robbery. One of the criminals manages to escape unnoticed into the sewers but the other two are captured. Commissioner Gordon goes to talk to Batman and tells him that the leader of a terrorist group, known only as Red Claw, is in Gotham and there are no leads.
The next day, Selina and her secretary Maven, talk about the impending date but Selina is more interested in Batman. Just as Wayne comes up Selina's lawyer calls up and says that a deal has been called off. She had been looking to purchase land for a mountain lion preserve but Multigon International has taken it. Wayne offers to help and gets her a meeting with the company chairman, Stern. However, he refuses to help claiming that his company is going to build a major resort. Selina is angry claiming that the land is in the middle of nowhere. Mr. Stern claims that Multigon will "take care of the cats one way or another". Selina is outraged and threatens to have environmentalists alerted so that the company will be kept on close watch. After the meeting, however, Stern privately speaks with a fearsome woman, Red Claw herself, and voices his concerns. Red Claw orders Selina tailed, unwilling to allow their plans to be put in jeopardy.
That night Batman grills a mob boss for information on Red Claw. Meanwhile, Catwoman sneaks into Multigon and seeks information. While this goes on, Red Claw talks to her men about a train that will be transporting a viral plague that Interpol took from her organization. Just outside the room Catwoman searches through Multigon's hidden safe and takes pictures of their files. Unfortunately for her, she's being surveyed and Red Claw emerges with her men looking to kill the intruder. Catwoman manages to escape into the air vents but is pursued by thugs. Fortunately, she manages to leave cat shaped spikes all over the shaft stopping her pursuers. She then escapes up an elevator shaft but Red Claw and her thugs follow her to the roof. Catwoman jumps to a ledge on another building, but Red Claw shoots the ledge with an explosive nearly causing her to fall to her death. However, Batman saves Catwoman. Catwoman is grateful to him and tries to convince Batman to let her go but Batman refuses. Angered, Catwoman throws him from a building and runs off.
With her mission complete, Catwoman returns home. She tells Maven about what she discovered and believes that she'll save the mountain lions. Unbeknownst to her, however, one of Red Claw's thugs is watching and sees her unmask herself.
In Gotham Park, the Mob Boss Batman grilled for information arrives and tells Batman that there are rumors of a train heist but he doesn't know if Red Claw and her terrorists are in on it.
Batman goes to talk to Commissioner Gordon about it but there's nothing about it in the train schedule. However, Batman deduces that it's a military train and the information was classified. Gordon agrees and makes a call.
Elsewhere, Red Claw and her thugs attack the train and easily manage to gain access to the plague. Things are complicated, however, when Batman shows up. All the same, Red Claw makes it into the train car and obtains the canister. Batman tries to stop her but she threatens to release the plague and kill everyone within a ten-mile radius, completely aware that she will be killed as well. Batman is forced to back off while Red Claw escapes.
The next day, Selina and Bruce go out on their date, finally, but Red Claw's men start crashing their car into Bruce's trying to force him off a bridge. Bruce takes evasive driving maneuvers and finally forces the thugs off the bridge by playing chicken. Bruce takes Selina home and urges her to tell him if she's in trouble because he really cares about her, something he hasn't felt in a very long time. Selina thanks Bruce for his concern and goes back into her apartment. Upset over the attempt on her life and knowing about the bunkers underneath the resort she "dresses up" and goes out for the night.
Back in the Batcave, Batman wonders about Ms. Kyle's connection to Red Claw but has no clues. Just then, Alfred notices a cat hair on Bruce's coat. Remembering a hair left on his coat by Isis, Batman deduces Catwoman's identity.
Meanwhile, Maven is attacked by a thug in her own apartment. Just before the thug can hurt her, Batman arrives and pummels him into submission. Batman then confronts Maven on Catwoman's activities and whereabouts. Maven gives up the information and tells Batman that Catwoman is in love with him. Batman doesn't respond to this information.
Catwoman infiltrates the Multigon site. One of Red Claw's guards is patrolling the facility when he get snagged behind a bush by Catwoman. She leaves him hogtied and gagged and proceeds to enter through the ventilation system. She then takes pictures of their weapons. Unfortunately, Red Claw's thugs catch her but Batman saves her. Batman tries to get her to safety but the duo is captured and left tied up in a bunker made by the government to hide officials. Red Claw leaves the plague virus with the two explaining that the virus is too dangerous to keep. She'll release a fake plague on Gotham and by the time it's realized to be a fake, she'll already have her ten billion dollar gold bouillon ransom. She drops a bit of acid onto the canister that slowly eats through the seal and evacuates the premises.
Catwoman however, manages to cut the ropes with her claws and the pair manages to get free. Batman tells Catwoman to escape but he has to remain to destroy the plague. He uses a hose to spray gas from a tanker truck and tosses a grenade to set off the gas trail, thereby starting a conflagration that sets off the ammunition and destroys the facility including the newly released virus. Then, to escape, he drives the tanker truck through the garage door and crashes it into Red Claw's tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Red Claw's stranded men including Multigon chairman Stern are all then illuminated by searchlights from hovering Gotham Police Department helicopters and arrested.
Rather than making her escape in a small helicopter, an enraged Red Claw attacks Catwoman. She proves to be too much for Catwoman but before she can kill her, a mountain lion attacks and pins her down. Catwoman then disappears into the shadows.
Returning home, Catwoman finds that Maven is gone but Batman there. As Batman finally admits his feelings for Catwoman, he reluctantly places her under arrest.
Home video releases
- Batman: Secrets of the Caped Crusader
- Batman: Secrets of the Caped Crusader
- Batman: The Animated Series, Volume One
- Batman: The Complete Animated Series
- Batman Super-Villains: Catwoman
- Scenes from the first part of this episode were used in the game The Adventures of Batman and Robin, on level 4: "Tale of the Cat".
- Bruce Timm said that the end sequence is geared around the explosions, but they were artistically poor, and the animation was redone two to three times. Although he felt the final product was still awful, they ran out of time and had to air it.
- In order to capitalize on the success of Batman and Batman Returns, Warner Brothers insisted that Catwoman's appearance be based on that of Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman from Batman Returns. It was the same with the look of The Penguin.
- On the DVD Batman: The Animated Series: Secrets of the Caped Crusader, the credits of Part I are those of "On Leather Wings" rather than the actual episode. The credits of Part II are the combined credits of both parts I and II.