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Classy Cat-Burglar

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Walking, talking, purring class. She doesn't steal; she liberates. She doesn't lie; she fibs. She steals from the rich and gives to... herself usually, but she's so graceful and easy on the eyes that you'll want to let it slide.

When The Hero first meets her, on a rooftop or a darkened bedroom, he'll be paralyzed with indecision — should he arrest her or ask for her number? This dilemma is usually short, as she takes advantage of his distraction to escape/knock him out.

Bonus points if she has a cat theme, is named "Katherine", "Kitty", or "Felicia", or makes bad feline puns.

She doesn't always wear a Spy Catsuit, but if she does she wears it well.

Either way, Classy Cat Burglars are sophisticated and highly skilled. They target only the finest items (and best-protected) for "liberation", and pride themselves on leaving little or no clue on how they accomplished their burglaries. A fair number of them are independently wealthy and couldn't care less about the money; they just want a good challenge. (Detectives understand that a well-guarded, priceless item is the best bait in the world for these sleek critters). The actual term "cat burglar" comes from the notion that such a person is quiet as a cat (one that never claws its way up the drapes, gets into fights with the dog, or tears your refrigerator to bits).

Like her spear counterpart the Gentleman Thief, this felonious feline usually regards the police with a certain amount of disdain and condescension, and frequently leaves behind "calling cards" announcing who performed the crime. With a Worthy Opponent, she may have a less adversarial relationship, verging at times on friendship. If the opponent is of the opposite gender (or not) this may be fraught with Foe Romance Subtext.

Compare Phantom Thief. If the hero is very, very (un?)lucky, may result in Dating Catwoman.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Train Heartnet from the anime Black Cat is an assassin and a rare male example of a criminal with a cat theme. The series title is his alias and he shamelessly sports a fluttering black cloak and a bell on a red string as a necklace.
  • The very efficient thief and Master of Disguise Masami Hirota (or better said, Akemi Miyano) in Case Closed is very beautiful and looks really pretty whether dressed in red or in white, but she's less traditionally fanservicey than many examples of this trope. Also unlike others, she didn't act on her own will but as a member of a local evil organization. And when she tried to leave... they killed her.
    • She's more of a subversion in every way — rather than any of the classic "calling cards" or glamorous museum robberies, she participated in a rather brutal bank robbery.
  • Cat's Eye: The main characters are a trio of Classy Cat-Burgling sisters. They tick nearly all the boxes: showing incredible sophistication, sneaking through even the toughest defenses, wearing skin-tight jumpsuits with built-in high heels, leaving a Calling Card even as they give cops the slip, and the hot middle sister is even dating one of the detectives assigned to find them.
  • Chiko in The Daughter of Twenty Faces is one of these in training. She tends to sometimes cross into action girl territory, though.
  • Psiren in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003). Additionally, she has to pull down a zipper on her suit to reveal her transmutation circle just above her chest. Note that her actions are praised by the locals as the place that the episode takes place in is doomed and all the publicity is revitalizing the town.
  • The Major pretends to be one of these in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episode "Cash Eye", in homage to the above Cat's Eye, leaving a similar calling card. The faked heist itself is pure Ocean's Eleven.
  • Meimi's mother, Eimi, from Kaitou Saint Tail used to be a thief named Fallen Angel who fit this trope rather well. Her daughter, on the other hand, is more the Robin Hood type.
  • The Gentleman Thief from The Kindaichi Case Files. Her misleading name throws the authorities off her scent initially, as they have no idea the master thief they're looking for in her first appearance is a woman.
  • Lupin III: Fujiko is an international jewel thief and a seductress, who's made Interpol's most-wanted list. Though her character has undergone multiple iterations, she's usually portrayed as Lupin's female counterpart, which has naturally placed them at odds with each other. Though they've teamed up just as often and, on occasion, they've even been lovers. She eventually got her own series to showcase her skills: Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine.
  • Nami of One Piece is a master thief, being able to steal items off of her victims without them noticing. In fact, her Animal Motifs is a cat, the animal most associated with being sneaky.
  • Time Bokan 2000: Kaitou Kiramekiman, one instalment of Time Bokan, has these as the protagonists, stealing things that will doom the future if not for them.

    Comic Books 
  • In Adèle Blanc-Sec: Le Mystère des profondeurs, Georgette Chevillard, who wears a skin-tight black costume that shows off her matronly bulginess, is a parody of this trope.
  • Felicia Hardy, Marvel's Black Cat plays up this theme.
  • The Blonde, star of series of erotic comics by Italian artist Franco Saudelli.
  • Catwoman is perhaps the ultimate incarnation of this trope.
  • In The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #32, Indy gets outfoxed by Amanda Knight, a British classy cat burglar hired to steal a Sumerian clay tablet from his museum.
  • Maggie the Cat from Jon Sable, Freelance.
  • She misses the animal theme but this is the civilian job of Lorelei (little sister of Amora the Enchantress) from The Mighty Thor series of books. She finances her lifestyle by robbing high-end casinos and such with style (Spy Catsuit included). Given that she is also a fairly powerful Asgardian witch she really could do worse, but what for?
  • The Mink from Squadron Supreme is an heiress who turned to theft out of Rich Boredom and the belief her richness entitled her. Thankfuilly, her relationship with Nighthawk changes her.
  • Kitsune in Usagi Yojimbo. Also her apprentice Kiyoko (who happens to be a cat).
  • The Fox from Wanted is a subversion; she appears classy, but her personality is very trashy and uncouth.

    Comic Strips 
  • Cassandra Cat of Slylock Fox is an actual anthropomorphic cat with a classy, seductive image, who often performs daring burglaries, though she also does other kinds of crimes.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • In Derailed (2002), Galina Konstantin (Laura Elena Harring) is a high-tech thief who has stolen an extremely valuable and dangerous container from the Slovak Government.
  • Virginia "Gin" Baker (Catherine Zeta-Jones) in Entrapment.
  • Filibus in Filibus is a real lady (the Baroness de Troixmonde) who targets high-class targets: diamond eyes of an Egyptian cat idol, and an organization called "The International Bank". She steals for the thrill of it, and really enjoys ruining Detective Hardy's life.
  • Maggie Cheung turns into one for a night in Irma Vep.
    • Which is based on a French silent film serial called Les Vampires. The character of Irma Vep may be the Ur Example.
  • Yenicall likes to think she is this in The Thieves, but she is probably a little too trashy to qualify.
  • Danielle (Brigitte Auber) in Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief, complete with cat theme.
    • John Robie (Cary Grant) from the same movie used to be a male example of this trope.
    • A decade later, Hitchcock directed Marnie, which is told from the point of view of the Classy Cat-Burglar (Tippi Hedren).
  • A minor version in When Brendan Met Trudy. Trudy is attractive, initially mysterious, and seems a capable enough thief, but she is also extremely uncouth, working-class and definitely in it for the money.
  • Red Notice has Sarah Black (Gal Gadot), who's as skilled in combat and hard to catch as she's gorgeous and leggy (especially when she wears her red dress).

  • Kitai in the second book of Codex Alera.
  • Although she is also a Barbarian Hero(ine), Conina from Discworld's Sourcery is a good example of it.
  • Keira the Thief in the Dragaera novels; she's one of the most talented thieves in the Jhereg crime syndicate, to the point where any unsolved burglaries are usually attributed to her, and she's polite and classy when speaking to others. She also has no need of wealth, as she is the immortal sorceress Sethra Lavode, who took up the guise in order to gain intelligence on the syndicate and kept it up when she discovered that committing the thefts without using her powers gave her the first real challenge she'd had in tens of thousands of years.
  • Hardy Boys:
    • Charity in the Casefiles, and similarly Fiona Fox in the '88 Super Mysteries crossovers. In each case, the woman in question appears twice throughout the series.
    •  In the digest book, Maximum Challenge Kendra Cassidy (a skilled climber and alarm expert) started out stealing to pay her bills while trying to get a break in Hollywood. Since getting that break, Kendra has been anonymously repaying her victims but is blackmailed into committing more robberies by a man who knows about her criminal past.
  • Kat from Heist Society by Ally Carter is actually named after this trope. The author was inspired by the phrase and decided to write a book about a burglar that was actually a "Kat." Kat mainly steals expensive paintings that are under high security. She also has that moment where all the male characters get distracted from their heist because she looks so drop-dead gorgeous.
    • Though her cousin, Gabrielle, probably plays this trope straighter than Kat.
  • Tracy in Sidney Sheldon's If Tomorrow Comes becomes one after overcoming a Trauma Conga Line that leaves her unable to find legitimate work. She works for an employer who assigns her to targets that range from Jerkass to outright corrupt, and besides the usual cat burglar hijinks uses her talents as a Master of Disguise to snooker unsuspecting targets, to the point that Interpol thinks her work is that of an all-girl gang. Her romantic interest? A rival Gentleman Thief!
  • The In Death series: Magdalana is presented as this in Innocent in Death. However, it gets subverted when it's revealed that she is a thief and not as classy as she pretends to be, with Roarke pretty much saying so to her face.
  • Female Mistborn tend to have elements of this, due to mostly be noblewomen in a Decadent Court. The males, of course, fall under Gentleman Thief instead.
  • Sandra Paris, a.k.a. the White Queen, Nick's sometimes rival in the Nick Velvet short stories of Edward D. Hoch.
  • Red Hot and Reckless, a Harlequin Temptations Romance Novel that is the 3rd in a series called "The Bad Girls Club". The lead heroine is Nicole Bennett, a very sexy and clever thief, who often wears leather, and there's lots of sexual tension with a former cop named Alex.
  • Star Wars: Scoundrels: Bink Kitik is what Star Wars calls a "ghost thief", and her twin sister Tavia acts as her handler, hacking support, and Mission Control.
  • Libby Craddock from Texas Kidnappers by J.T. Edson. Her exact level of classiness depends upon her mood.
  • In Michael Connelly novel Void Moon Cassie fits this role but is a slightly more realistic version of this character in that she doesn't pull impossible heists, instead focusing on much smaller targets. She and her partner robbed high rollers at a casino before being caught and having her partner killed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blood & Treasure has this in Lexi Vaziri. The opening credits have ex-lover Danny refer to her as a thief and Lexi cuts into the narration to say "excuse me, a master thief." Sure enough, the series has Lexi pulling off great thefts while looking as high-class as possible.
  • Max from Dark Angel fits this role when she tries to steal from Logan. In what has to be a Shout-Out to Catwoman, she goes after a statue of Bast and even explains its significance.
  • Doctor Who:
    • There were plans for the never-produced Season 27 of the classic series for Ace to go to Gallifrey for Time Lord training and be replaced by a heroic cat burglar.
    • In a slight subversion, The Unicorn from "The Unicorn and the Wasp" becomes a lot less classy when she's exposed.
    • Played straight with Lady Christina de Souza in "Planet of the Dead", whose class derives from the fact that she is an English aristocrat.
    • River Song (Alex Kingston) wears a black bodysuit when she breaks into the museum in "The Pandorica Opens".
  • Subverted in Firefly, when Saffron tries this act on Mal. It fails.
  • Gotham explores how Selina Kyle starts off as a rough street kid pulling minor jobs but by the series finale (set a decade later), she's now embraced her destiny as Catwoman.
  • Amanda from Highlander: The Series and Highlander: The Raven. Given that she's a thousand years old, it can be assumed she's basically the best thief alive. She's said that it's rarely about the money (she couldn't spend her worth if she lived another thousand years), just the fun of it all.
  • Hustle: Stacey certainly adopts this persona when the gang set out to "steal" the priceless Star of India. Tight black clothing used, of course.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "The Creeper", the B-plot (which is tangentially related to the murders) concerns a burglar known as the Creeper who has been robbing wealthy country homes, including that of the Chief Constable. When Barnaby finally identifies the Creeper, it turns out to be this trope.
  • Katherine "Kat" Hillard of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was more of a Mind Controlled Mole than thief when she first appeared, but besides transforming into a cat and a cat monster, she was pretty classy.
  • One Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue episode has Vypra (wearing a ski mask and Spy Catsuit) stealing several crystals important to Bansheera's plot by cutting through an office building window, getting over a laser grid with some pulleys, and breaking into a safe.
  • Marian from Robin Hood dresses up as the Night Watchman in order to steal from the rich and give to the poor, years before Robin himself was doing it.
  • Vala Mal Doran of Stargate SG-1 was something of a failed cat burglar. In addition to failing to steal the Prometheus and a Goa'uld Naquadah bomb, she fails to seduce Daniel Jackson. Repeatedly. And Lt. Col. Mitchell. And Teal'c. But mostly Daniel. Even getting to the point of possibly stealing a gigantic well-defended armed and heavily populated ship single-handedly is pretty damn cool. If she'd chosen anyone besides Daniel to tie up she probably would have made it. Plus, as she points out, the Goa'uld Naquadah bomb was inside alien technology she'd never seen before, and...well...she rushed it. And she did eventually seduce Daniel and discovered he was resisting before because he thought she wasn't as interested in him as he was in her. Plus she's played by Claudia Black, so she's gorgeous.
  • Bela from Supernatural Season 3 is a thief who traffics in supernatural items, speaks with an English accent, has a beautiful apartment, and has a mysterious past. She sometimes allies with the Winchester brothers but she also steals from them and double-crosses them.


  • The jewel thief from the Pink Panther pinball (a loose adaptation of The Return of the Pink Panther).

  • Goldshot, Angela's character in Fandible's Rotted Capes game. Former supervillain cat burglar, before the zombie apocalypse rendered ostrich-egg-sized jewels and antique objets d'art worthless. Now, she fights for survival and ersatz cocktail parties. Master archer and equestrienne. Her costume was designed by Vera Wang.


    Tabletop Games 

  • The short-lived musical Drat The Cat! is about a debutante who becomes a cat burglar for the thrill.
  • Averted with "Macavity the Mystery Cat" in Cats. His introduction provides the page quote for Gentleman Thief but on stage, he is just a rambunctious bully. (And in the poem the character was based on he averts the trope in a different direction, being a Moriarty expy whose criminal genius lies in never being at the scene of a crime.)

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Kay Faraday, self-proclaimed Second Yatagarasu in Ace Attorney Investigations, is going for this. Given that she's an excitable teenager who doesn't even know the truth about the first Yatagarasu, she's got a ways to go.
  • Rosé Mulan from Spirit Hunter: NG is an amazing lockpicker who can slip in and out of buildings with ease, but only does so for the fun of it. She's wealthy and claims to be innocent, but it's obvious there's more to her than just an elegant woman.

  • The central character of Bandette is this, although as the comic is aimed at a young female audience she's much less sexualised than most examples.
  • Bob the Angry Flower sets a cunning trap for the Beautiful International Diamond Thief so he can choose the second of the options listed. He just wants to try Dating Catwoman.
  • In Casey and Andy, it is eventually revealed that next-door neighbor Jen is an internationally known jewel thief, and this is why Quantum Cop won't date her. It turns out that clues about this go back for years.
  • Mrs. Flavors from the conspiracy arc of The Illustrated Guide to Law. It gets even better when they all get arrested. The FBI agent who's interrogating her says, "Broke out of jail again, did you? You are amazing...The way I see it, everyone else was just your backup. You're the star of this show." He's in on the entire heist.
  • Hints have been dropped that this is how Galatea is supporting her lavish lifestyle in Paris in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!.
  • The devil girl Ciocio Cioelle in Kill Six Billion Demons gets a bit of this when she goes back to being a thief to help Allison get into the treasure fortress of Yre. She wears a purple, form-fitting outfit and has long, flowing dark hair. This is specifically when she goes back to being a thief because she was very different the last time — kind of like a nightmarish monster version of the trope.
  • Hazel in Sam & Fuzzy seems to be pretty much this so far.

    Web Original 
  • Jeremy Archer from Shadow of the Templar is pretty much a male example of this trope on top of being a Gentleman Thief as well.
  • At Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, Hazard, of The Masterminds. She also has the 'classy' British accent that sometimes slips under stress.
    • The Imp, throughout her career as a supervillain (and, later, as an art teacher), makes it her goal to embody this. While she doesn't play up the Femme Fatale angle as much, she nonetheless makes it a point to enact her crimes with style and panache, and doesn't hesitate to rib her heroic counterparts on a regular basis. She also plays her part in an example of Dating Catwoman.
    • Tabby Cat, of STAR League, almost became a precise example, as she was in the Masterminds before she graduated. It's implied that her own Dating Catwoman situation led to her going straight, though of course she still uses those skills she developed.

    Western Animation 
  • Naughty Kitty from Atomic Puppet, who is also a literal cat burglar, as in she steals rare cat breeds. She also does cat-like things sometimes, such as spitting hairballs.
  • Barbie Spy Squad has one of these as the main villain, who's eluded every regular agent thus far. She appears to be Barbie's age or younger.
  • Nightshade from C.O.P.S. (1988).
  • Viper from Jackie Chan Adventures, well at least until her Heel–Face Turn...
  • Shego in Kim Possible is generally seen as a thief when not being employed or being on vacation. In fact, the one episode Kim forgot about crime-fighting due to amnesia, Shego spent the episode stealing stuff, instead of taking over the world stuff.
  • The Cougar from League of Super Evil, an elderly version who repeatedly hits on the younger League. We'll let you figure out the joke.
  • Dana Por from Slugterra plays this one straight — but with SLUGS! And a Shadowtech MacGuffin.
  • Ashley alias Katnappe from Xiaolin Showdown.

...wait... "tears your refrigerator to bits"?


Video Example(s):


The Cat

A male version of this trope called "The Cat" who's blackmailed into stealing other people's favorite stuff.

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