Malcolm Donalbain was a "world-famous sportsman, eccentric, and entrepreneur" by the time he met Dr. Joanne Tumolo. Donalbain suffered from severe haptephobia (the fear of being touched) and consulted with the doctor about some work she'd done on the nervous system and motor responses. There was nothing she could do for him, but he became fascinated with a private experiment she was conducting to allow any women to access her full potential, despite the handicaps that society placed on them. Donalbain was such a fanatic about physical conditioning that he offered to sponsor the research. Short of funds, the doctor agreed.
Dr. Tumolo did not realize the extent of Donalbain's neuroses. Unable to overcome his phobia and pursue a normal sexual relationship, he'd developed a deep-seated hatred of women and an overwhelming desire to dominate them. Besides the doctor's research, he funded mind control experiments that culminated in an electronic collar that made the wearer obey his orders without question. He planned to outfit the women who underwent Dr. Tumolo's training with the collars, turning them into his mindless minions. He would build an army of perfect female physical specimens to carry out his commands.
Donalbain selected a young blond model named Shirlee Bryant to be their "first lovely guinea pig." When Dr. Tumolo objected, preferring her lab assistant, Greer Nelson, he threatened to cancel the project and walked out. Greer persuaded the doctor to cooperate, offering to undergo the same conditioning as Shirlee, but in secret. Both women were conditioned to receive the maximum amount of stimuli, which not only expanded their senses and mental capacity but also gave them incredible control of physical power and coordination. The doctor had succeeded beyond her wildest expectations, but the results carried the risk of dangerous consequences. She and Greer determined to cancel the experiment. When the doctor went to Donalbain's headquarters to tell him, she clandestinely observed those consequences.
Shirlee had resented Dr. Tumolo's lack of appreciation and Greer's condescending attitude. She readily agreed with Donalbain's suggestion that she spend her time at the doctor's lab memorizing the equipment. He proposed building a duplicate, to her specifications, so they could continue on their own. She enjoyed the feeling that she'd "put one over" on her detractors. After several months, Donalbain decided that Shirlee's results had "plateaued," and he revealed a version of his plan to her. He'd ordered a uniform created for her. The uniform, a yellow catsuit that covered her from head to toe, had inspired him to order a "cat" theme for the overall effect. She would be his prototype for an army of "specialists" who would work in his health clubs. Using his national chain of clubs as a front, his force would use the "cat" uniforms while they worked undercover to take over the country. Donalbain knew he could exploit Shirlee's vanity and sense of inferiority, and she did not disappoint him. She agreed, accepting the yellow catsuit, not even commenting on the blue clawed gloves and taloned boots as she pulled them on. She began to feel silly, however, when she was given a cat-eared cowl and mask. Donalbain explained that it mechanically amplified her hearing and aided her night vision, which she found to be true. As Donalbain watched with growing excitement, one of his henchmen handed Shirlee a studded blue collar. Once she wrapped it around her neck, she found herself unable to resist Donalbain's commands. "You see? At last -- the perfect woman," he proclaimed, "totally obedient, and strong enough to do anything I command!" Dr. Tumolo watched from a hiding place, aghast at Donalbain's twisted misuse of her project. Donalbain ordered Shirlee to attack and disable his three bodyguards, which she did with ease. He then told her to use her claws to scale a six-story wall. Up climbed the feline figure, using the steel claws to dig into the surface. When she reached the top, he commanded her to cast a steel claw, fastened by steel cables to her wrist, as a grappling hook and swing across to the other side. Like an automaton, she leapt. Something went wrong and Shirlee fell to her death. Donalbain was unconcerned. "I can create as many more as I need," he promised. The outraged doctor fled, taking one of the Cat uniforms as evidence for the police.
When she returned to the lab, Dr. Tumulo told Greer what she'd discovered. Greer left to pack a bag, planning to return to the doctor and wait with her for the police. While she was gone, Donalbain's henchmen set off an explosion at the lab, intending to kill the doctor and destroy her evidence of the experiment. Greer returned to find the critically-injured older woman amid the ruins. She took the uniform and, possessed by a cold rage, put it on. She adapted quickly to the strange apparatus, aided by her recall of Dr. Tumulo's description of Shirlee. She climbed and leapt across Chicago, her goal to avenge her mentor. When she broke into Donalbain's headquarters, she easily defeated his henchmen. Donalbain trapped her in a lab and flooded it with a soporific gas. When she awoke, she found her hands had been bound behind her. Donalbain recognized the woman in the Cat uniform. He told her she'd made the same mistake as her mentor, but unlike the doctor he had plans for her. Greer could be his prototype. He had a gift for her, the will-nullifier, which all his trainees would wear. When one of the henchmen, and also a brother Zabo, attempted to place it around her neck, Greer gave him a shoulder-charge that knocked into Donalbain. While the outraged Donalbain had the bumbler disciplined, Greer escaped. Donalbain ordered his henchmen to pursue her, but she made it appear that she'd fled through a roof opening and doubled back. She located the experimental equipment and sabotaged it. She was discovered, but had damaged it enough to short out the building's electrical service. In the dark, her enhanced night vision gave her the advantage, even though Donalbain and his men were armed. She disabled the other men and confronted Donalbain. Donalbain warned her to stay away, or he would shoot her. She reminded him he only had one bullet left, and if he didn't kill her she would get him. He asked what she planned to do to him. Greer's only answer was to unsheath her steel claws, making a distinct noise. Terrified that she would touch him, Donalbain turned his pistol on himself. Greer escaped while the building burst into flames.