|"The newcomer has lost his collar in a battle for his honor. StarClan has spoken its approval-this cat has been released from the hold of his Twoleg owner, and is free to join ThunderClan as an apprentice. [...] You look like a brand of fire in the sunlight. From this day forward, until he has earned his warrior name, this apprentice will be called Firepaw, in honor of his flame-colored coat."|
|— Bluestar to Rusty about becoming an apprentice in Into the Wild, page 37|
Apprentices are Clan cats six moons or older, training to be a warrior (or sometimes a medicine cat) under a mentor. All apprentices' names end with the suffix "-paw" (i.e., Lionpaw, Breezepaw, Leafpaw which symbolizes the path their paws are on, until they receive their warrior name. Most apprentices just have the suffix "-kit" taken off their name and replaced with "-paw", but in special cases, their name completely changes (i.e., Hopkit's name was changed to Deadpaw). An apprentice becomes a warrior once their mentor or Clan leader thinks they have learned enough or proved they are worthy of becoming warriors.
Apprentices have their own den in the Clan camp where they sleep. Once an apprentice earns their warrior name, they are a full warrior and they are able to contribute to warrior duties, and they move in the warriors den. Sometimes apprentices are referred to as 'paws. Apprentices can change their position as a warrior or medicine cat apprentice if they get permission, or if they have a certain injury, like Cinderpaw, who broke her back leg when she was hit by a monster.
Tasks of apprentices include training with their mentors, going hunting, border patrol with other cats of their Clan, and looking after the elders, mostly taking ticks out of their pelts and collecting moss. They still have fun, as there is an old apprentice trick of telling the kits that tiny drops of rabbit dung are actually tasty berries.
Duties and rules
Apprentices cannot leave the camp without the permission of their mentor or another warrior, and they cannot eat until the elders and nursing queens eat, unless they have special permission. If an apprentice breaks a rule, they usually have to go through punishments, such as searching the elders pelts for ticks, and if they find any, they must dab some moss with mouse bile on it to get the ticks to drop off. Another punishment is cleaning out old bedding and replacing it with fresh moss. There are other punishments that have been given out, although sometimes it depends on their actions. In some cases, the leader will not allow the misbehaving apprentice to go to the next Gathering. It is noted that apprentices are worked very hard, as once starting, they'll be glad to get some sleep.
A kit is to be apprenticed to a mentor at the age of six moons, according to the warrior code. However, there have been a few exceptions where apprentices are made earlier or later than six moons due to special circumstances. Mentors are assigned by the Clan leader during an apprentice ceremony, choosing pairings based on seniority and whether or not the pair will be able to work together. Often, kin will not train each other, as it is harder for kin to give out punishments. The mentor is responsible for the training of the apprentice. After apprenticed, in the Forest they would've had to make a trip to the Moonstone with their mentor to receive StarClan's blessing, but now that the Clans have moved to the Lake, the tradition died out.
Warrior apprentices train with their mentor whenever their mentor takes them. After their mentor is satisfied with them and their skills, and after passing their final assessment, the apprentices are made into warriors after a warrior ceremony, and they keep a silent vigil watch overnight.
An assessment is a test for an apprentice given by their mentor. When a mentor assesses their apprentice, they watch in secret as their apprentice hunts and judges how well they did. If it is their final test and their mentor deems the assessment a success, then they will become a warrior.
Medicine cat apprentices
A medicine cat apprentice sleeps in the medicine cat den with the full medicine cat. Medicine cat apprentices get their full name at the Moonstone (in the old forest) or at the Moonpool (in the lake territories.) They also stay as an apprentice for as long as their mentor is still a medicine cat, even after they receive their full name, unlike warrior apprentices.Medicine cat apprentices will still tend to elders like warrior apprentices, dealing with their ticks and bedding.
Most medicine cat apprentices take a liking of healing cats almost as soon as they are able to go outside the nursery. Kits or other apprentices can help out with the medicine duties if needed.
Medicine cat apprentices are taught about healing techniques, such as how to care for a sick cat, or what herbs and medicines do. They are usually taught in the medicine cat's den, or outside the camp when they gather herbs. They also learn how to interpret signs from StarClan.
After a medicine cat mentor is satisfied with their apprentice they are given a warrior name in a slightly different ceremony than a regular apprentice's. They are still known as an apprentice until the current medicine cat either retires or joins StarClan.
Kit for too long
Apprenticed for too long
Notes and references
- Revealed in Into the Wild, allegiances
- Revealed in The Sight, page 87
- Revealed in The Sight, allegiances
- Revealed in Midnight, allegiances
- Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 108
- Revealed in Tallstar's Revenge, page 490
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 53
- Revealed in The Sight, page 241
- Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 175
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 55
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 49
- Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 280
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 91
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 99
- Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 15
- Revealed in Outcast, page 118
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 271
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 130
- Revealed in Starlight, page 287
- Revealed in Rising Storm, allegiances
- Revealed in Starlight, page 285
- Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 126
- Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, page 199
- Revealed in The Forgotten Warrior, pages 49-50
- Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 106
- Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 64
- Revealed in Goosefeather's Curse, chapter 4
- Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 234
- Revealed in Dawn, page 169
|Hierarchy and positions in the Warriors world|
|Clan hierarchy||Kits • Apprentices • Warriors • Deputies • Leaders • Queens • Elders • Medicine cats • Mediators|
|Ceremonies||Vigil • Apprentice • Warrior • Deputy • Leader • Elder • Medicine cat • Name changing|
|Tribe hierarchy||To-bes • Cave-guards • Prey hunters • Kit mothers • Healer/Stoneteller|
|Miscellaneous||General Clan information • General Tribe information • Cat names|
|Other groups||Loners • Rogues • Kittypets|