Quote from Blinking SpiritDirkGently, if I'm reading you correctly, your core complaint seems to be that Catwoman is well constructed as a likeable character. You say that elements of her character are "overused", but saying that costumed criminals are overused in superhero stories is like saying that horses and revolvers are overused in western stories. These are building blocks of the genre, not clichés. A cliché is a story element that, through lazy use, draws attention to itself as a story element and thus pulls the audience out of their immersion in the story. For example, when you read the line "It was a dark and stormy night...", you do not imagine a dark and stormy night; you just recognize that line as a line. But, as you say, Catwoman's character has audience appeal. We like to watch her be sexy and snarky and thiefy; these qualities pull us into her story, not out of it. So it doesn't matter how many times we've seen them before. As long as they continue to appeal to us, they cannot be clichés.
I would reword your first sentence as:
DirkGently, if I'm reading you correctly, your core complaint seems to be that Catwoman has been artlessly constructed to (attempt to) be a likeable character by throwing on as many positive attributes as possible without giving her any believable depth.
Personally I dislike things like having an anti-hero be a thief, or having the female thief be sexy, or having her wear a skintight suit, and it DOES draw me out of the story because of overuse, so yes, it's a cliche to me. Apparently she does have audience appeal, though, because I keep hearing that people like her. I'm saying that as an observation of people's response to her, not that I think it was good character construction.
Batman is, in the stark light of reality, sort of a silly character, but he makes sense in the universe he's in. He's got a backstory that mostly explains his motivations and goals and why he likes to dress up and why he's such a badass. Catwoman gets a few sentences as a party that really don't explain anything. If she grew up poor, how come she fights like jason bourne instead of a street thug? How'd she get those high-tech glasses without her own R&D department? Why is she whining about the 1% when she's clearly stolen enough to get herself squarely into that bracket? Because bourne-style fights are cooler to watch than street thugs, because high-tech spy glasses are cool, and because whining about the 1% is topical and cool. She's got no depth, just a bunch of "positive" qualities stapled together in the hopes that something sticks.
Being in a costume is part of the genre, sure. That said, want to do a count of how many female superheroes have costumes whose primary function seems to be to highlight their sexual characteristics compared to the men? Yeah, I thought not. Part of the genre, sure. Does that excuse the genre for taking lazy routes to appeal to its target demographic? Not in my opinion.
And the same problem is what I have against the character of catwoman as a whole - she goes with the easiest, laziest, tried-and-truest ways to make her appeal to the audience instead of trying something original, edgy, or inspired.