Thomas Blake was a world famous jungle-cat trapper. Squandering his fortune and growing bored of his hunting career, he was driven into a life of crime. He themed himself around Batman and Catwoman, to the dismay of the latter, who was framed at least once for his crimes.
Catman would reappear once more, this time revealing that the orange African cloth in his uniform gave him nine lives. The character first showed his capability for good causes when he rescued Batwoman from nearly dying. He gave her some of his costume fabric, believing she too would have nine lives. He resumed his criminalistic ways, but Batwoman (temporarily infiltrating his trust to be his new partner, with a new costume as "Cat-Woman") reasoned the entire cloth had only nine lives, not individual pieces, and manipulated events until Catman only had one remaining, causing him to turn himself in.
Eventually Catman resurfaced in Africa, where he attempted to resalvage his life and began living with a pride of lions. He used this time to lose weight and regain his sense of self-worth and fighting skills. This 'perfect existence' would be shattered by the arrival of the Secret Society of Super Villains, however. Seeking to unite all of Earth's super-villains under his control, Lex Luthor(secretly Alexander Luthor, Jr. of the original Earth-Three in disguise) sought to recruit Catman into the fold as a minion, only to be rejected. It was initially believed that an angry Lex Luthor had Deathstroke kill the lions Catman was living with in retaliation for being rejected by a "nobody" but this was later revealed to have been misdirection.
Catman vowed revenge against Luthor, and was subsequently recruited into a criminal syndicate known as the Secret Six. Together, the Secret Six waged war against the Secret Society of Super Villains under the direction of an individual known only as Mockingbird. During that time he found out that it was in fact fellow Secret Six member Deadshot who had killed his lions, so that he would join the organization. Deadshot would later apologize, and Catman forgave him. Although the two were reluctant allies at first, the two soon bonded and became what one could loosely call friends.