Felicia Hardy was born in Queens, New York. Her father Walter pretended to be a travelling salesman, but was a world-renowned cat burglar who, before his arrest, encouraged her to never settle for second best. If she loved basketball, she should work to become a basketball player and not just a cheerleader.
She trained herself in various fighting styles and acrobatics, intent on killing a attacker from her past. Finally, after months of preparing, she set out for revenge, but before she could find him, Ryan was killed in a drunk driving accident. Furious that she was denied the chance for revenge, Hardy decided to utilize her new skills to follow in her father's footsteps. After amassing a fortune in stolen items, Felicia adopted her costumed identity.
She first donned the Black Cat costume in order to break her father out of prison. On the same night, she met Spider-Man. Unfortunately for Felicia, her father died, and she then faked her own death. Despite her antipathy towards men, Felicia felt a kinship with this lone hero; Spider-Man was the first man she felt she could trust and she grew to believe herself in love with him. Felicia looked for a way to earn his trust and continued with the Black Cat persona as a misguided attempt to attract his affection. Seeing the good in Felicia, Spider-Man made every attempt to have her criminal record expunged.
Felicia had been placed in a mental institution, but escaped. She joined forces with Spider-Man against the Maggia. She was granted conditional amnesty, and again convinced Spider-Man that she had died.
The Black Cat finally found the opportunity to prove herself after learning the Kingpin controlled an incredibly powerful detonator. The Owl planned to use the weapon to hold New York City hostage. Meanwhile, Doctor Octopus planned to use the weapon to destroy the city altogether. However, the Black Cat was able to use her abilities to steal the item first and protect it from all parties. She gave the detonator to Spider-Man and became the target of Doctor Octopus' revenge. Although Spider-Man was able to tear off his mechanical appendages, Octopus was still able to mentally control them and hold the Black Cat still while his men opened fire. Spider-Man barely got her to the hospital in time and as they operated on the dozens of bullet and knife wounds, Peter realized just how much he cared for Felicia.
After she recovered, they began a relationship and soon Peter revealed his identity to her. Felicia had great difficulty accepting the fact that Peter was just a man beneath the mask and couldn't understand his need for a civilian life. Peter was hurt, but continued the relationship since it was the first time he didn't need to hide his life as Spider-Man from someone.
Initially, the "accidents" which seemed to befall those who crossed the Black Cat's path were merely well-planned stunts and traps. After her near-death experience, Felicia feared her lack of superpowers made her a liability to Spider-Man. She was terrified that his overwhelming need to protect her would eventually get him killed. So, Felicia sought a way to make herself Spider-Man's equal. After learning Tony Stark was missing, Henry Pym wouldn't return her calls, and being rejected by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Felicia was offered an opportunity to undergo the same process that was used to create the Scorpion and the Fly. The Kingpin chose to use it on the Black Cat as payback for a theft she committed. Scared and ashamed of being empowered by the Kingpin of crime, she decided to keep her new abilities a secret from Peter. While Spider-Man was gone during the "Secret Wars", Felicia searched for him at Avengers Mansion; Vision offered her the chance to join the Avengers, which she declined, being interested solely in Spider-Man. Upon his return, her 'bad luck' power turned out to be infectious, and began to jinx Spider-Man, which was exactly the Kingpin's intent. Feeling a wall of secrets growing between them, Spider-Man broke up with Felicia. Felicia then began a "Robin Hood crusade," stealing from the rich to give to the poor.
Peter soon realized something was amiss with his own luck and enlisted the aid of Doctor Strange to remove the "hex" on him. By doing so, he altered the hex's source and changed the Black Cat's powers in the process. She soon found she had heightened strength, agility, balance, vision, and retractable claws. While burglarizing the mercenary known as the Foreigner, Black Cat was attacked by Sabretooth, the Foreigner's hitman; Spider-Man saved her life.
The Black Cat updated her look and her attitude and rekindled her relationship with Spider-Man. She made peace with his need for a normal life as Peter Parker and stood by him while he was being accused of murder as Spider-Man. Together, they tracked down the source of the elaborate scheme to frame him and fought the Foreigner. Eventually, just as his life seemed to be coming together, Spider-Man came home to discover Black Cat discussing her plans to ruin his life. He followed her to find she had never forgiven him for breaking up with her and in revenge became the Foreigner's lover. She then battled and defeated Sabretooth. Her apartment was fire-bombed by the Foreigner's hitman Blaze, and she began living with Peter Parker. During her ruse against Peter and despite her anger, Felicia began to fall back onto her desire to love him. She soon donned another new costume. Spider-Man then discovered her association with the Foreigner. She cleared Spider-Man of a murder charge. In the end, the Black Cat doublecrossed the Foreigner and left for Paris to find a new life, which unexpectedly pushed Peter to find support and a new relationship with Mary Jane Watson.
Years later, the Black Cat returned to America, and went "shopping" with Dagger. She returned to her original costume, went to seek out Peter Parker, and fought Venom who smashed her face against a wall. Adding insult to injury, Venom informed her that Peter had married Mary Jane Watson. Angry and jealous, Felicia began harassing the couple, taunting Peter as she dated his friend Flash Thompson. She began physically threatening Mary Jane, confronting her and swearing to ruin their marriage. She saved a powerless Spider-Man from the Scorpion, but then all her powers were rendered inert by one of the Chameleon's devices. She began to believe that she sincerely cared for Thompson, but he broke up with her when he found out her secret. The Black Cat later made up with both Spider-Man and Mary Jane, becoming close friends with them. She was one of the few to stand with Spider-Man and Venom against Carnage and his "brood" in the Maximum Carnage arc. Originally she sided with Venom's belief that the only way to defeat Carnage was to kill him, but at the end, she fought alongside Spider-Man in his effort to battle the chaos with compassion. After Spider-Man used a device to remove his superhuman abilities, the Black Cat aided him in finding the device again in order to restore them. In the process, the Black Cat's cat-like abilities were completely erased. She subsequently purchased equipment from the Tinkerer to incorporate into her costume in order to compensate for her lost abilities, and occasionally teamed up with Spider-Man.
Spider-Man went to Doctor Strange to remove her "jinx". Strange eliminated the hex at the source, causing Felicia to lose her bad luck powers but and also gave her more cat-like powers and abilities. She eventually settled into a life of her own, while still trying to maintain a friendship with Spider-Man. Soon she found out that Peter Parker had married Mary Jane Watson, which had angered her to the point that she grabbed and threatened Mary Jane. To spite Peter, she dated Flash Thompson intent on breaking Peter's friend's heart. Over time, she developed genuine feelings for him, but the two broke up. The Black Cat came to Spider-Man's aid when the Chameleon tricked Spider-Man into losing his powers to lead a normal life. Attacked by the Femme Fatales, the Scorpion, and the Tarantula, the Black Cat enabled Spider-Man to reverse the machine that suppressed his powers - at the cost of losing her own.
She has now relies on equipment she purchased from the Tinkerer to replace her lost powers. During Carnage's mass slaughter through the streets of Manhattan (called "Maximum Carnage" by the press), the Black Cat teamed with Spider-Man again and other heroes to stop the killers. Recently she helped Spider-Man break Norman Osborn out of jail in order to rescue a kidnapped Aunt May. She remains one of Spider-Man's closest confidants and allies.
Recently, she and Spider-Man took on a drug dealer named Mr. Brownstone (Garrison Klum), a low-level mutant teleporter and persuader who used his talents to discreetly transfer illegal narcotics into the bloodstream of his clients. When the Black Cat attempted to confront Mr. Brownstone, he incapacitated her with a dose of heroin and attempted to rape her. Garrison's subservient brother and partner, Francis Klum, killed Garrison first. Felicia was arrested and imprisoned for a murder she didn't commit. Francis teleported her out from prison where he shared his story of abuse. His trust was shattered when Spider-Man and Daredevil attempted to apprehend Francis, making Francis believe Felicia had tricked him. Francis escaped, though severely injured and seeking revenge against Spider-Man.
Later, Felicia aided Spider-Man against the menace of Stegron the Dinosaur Man who attempted to de-evolve the city using the Rock of Life. After that adventure, Felicia and Thomas Fireheart Puma began a somewhat superficial romance.
With the passing of the Superhuman Registration Act, Felicia has opted to register as a federally recognized super-hero. She has joined forces with Misty Knight and Colleen Wing in the group Heroes for Hire working with federal authorities to apprehend unregistered heroes and villains without the need for bloodshed.