|"The Clan may not be able to offer you such easy food or warmth. In the season of leaf-bare, nights in the forest can be cruel. The Clan will demand great loyalty and hard work. You will be expected to protect the Clan with your life if necessary. But the rewards are great. You will remain a tom. You will be trained in the ways of the wild. You will learn what it is to be a real cat. The strength and the fellowship of the Clan will always be with you, even when you hunt alone."|
|— Bluestar to Rusty about the Clans in Into the Wild, page 22|
Within the Warriors universe, cats live in a structured society divided into Clans. There are five main Clans: ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and SkyClan. What sets the Clans apart from other cats are their belief of their ancestors. The Clans recognize two formal afterlives, StarClan and the Dark Forest. Outside of these beliefs and the warrior code, there are the Twolegplace rogues, BloodClan, and an informal group of kittypets known as WarriorClan.
- "Water feeds us, cools us, and keeps us safe from foxes, dogs, and curious Twolegs. It gives us the power to choose whether we fight or not, knowing that few cats are brave enough to swim across our borders to attack us. Some say we are too quick to hide behind our barricade of streams, but it's easier to call us cowards than admit we have an advantage over all the other Clans."
- ―Reedwhisker Battles of the Clans, page 27
- RiverClan is known for their skill at swimming. While other Clan cats feared the water, RiverClan cats instead are at home swimming in its depths and hunting fish from the river. RiverClan cats make their camp near the river. The very first leader was Riverstar, who was a loner that met the cats that came from the mountains. At the beginning of The Prophecies Begin arc, RiverClan was led by Crookedstar, with Oakheart as deputy. RiverClan is currently led by Mothwing and Frostpaw.
- "Oh, and Mistyfoot? Never trust the shadows. My warriors wear the night like second pelts. If you wrong ShadowClan, you will never be safe in the dark."
- ―Blackstar Battles of the Clans, page 37
- ShadowClan, the source of many of the darker cats seen in the series, is sometimes referred to as the "dark heart of the forest." ShadowClan cats are known for their ability to walk quietly and avoid detection. They are also known for their willingness to eat frogs, toads, lizards, rats—foods most Clan cats turn their noses up at. ShadowClan cats live in a pine forest. Their first leader was Shadowstar. She was one of the cats to make the journey from[the mountains to the forest, and she lead the traveling group originally. At the beginning of The Prophecies Begin, ShadowClan was led by Brokenstar, with Blackfoot as deputy. ShadowClan is currently led by Tigerstar, with Cloverfoot as his deputy.
- "We're ThunderClan. We protect one another. We're bound by kinship and loyalty and the warrior code. Some of you chose ThunderClan. All of you have fought for your Clan, even when everything seemed hopeless. Some of you are preparing to bring new life into ThunderClan. Kits need to be protected and loved and taught how to live as warriors, and I know they will be, because in ThunderClan we protect those who need to be helped. We live, not for ourselves, but for one another. Everyone of you has put your Clan first before yourself in the past. No matter how young or inexperienced, you've all fought to protect your Clan. The bond that we've shared will not be broken now."
- ―Squirrelflight Darkness Within, page 284
- ThunderClan is heavily featured in the books, being the Clan of origin for many of the protagonists of the main arcs. ThunderClan cats are known for their skill at stalking prey through forest and thick undergrowth. ThunderClan cats live in a dense forest with thick undergrowth. The very first leader was Thunderstar, who was the son of the first SkyClan leader, Skystar. He was born in a monster den to a she-cat named Storm, when the monster den collapsed, and Thunder was her only surviving kit. At the beginning of The Prophecies Begin, ThunderClan was led by Bluestar, and Redtail was deputy. ThunderClan is now led by Bramblestar, with Squirrelflight as his deputy.
- "There have been no easy victories against WindClan warriors, nor will there ever be."
- ―Webfoot Battles of the Clans, page 45
- WindClan lives on the open moorlands and sleep underneath the stars. It is said that WindClan cats believe they're the closest to StarClan because of that. WindClan Cats are known for their swift paws, which lend ease to catching prey such as rabbits on the open moors of their territory. They're also proficient tunnelers, carving tunnels underneath their territory to catch prey and sneak on their enemies. Their very first leader was Windstar, who was also known as Wind Runner. She and her mate, Gorsestar joined the early settlers. Before Windstar became the leader of WindClan, Gray Wing and Shadowstar held the leadership of the moor cats. At the beginning of The Prophecies Begin, WindClan was led by Tallstar, with Deadfoot as deputy. WindClan is now led by Harestar, with Crowfeather as his deputy.
- "SkyClan can survive without it. I will never go groveling to Redstar to get us out of trouble, and we can't go back on [Darkstar's] decision to let them have that territory. It would be like challenging all our ancestors, as well as the warrior code. SkyClan will survive, without the help of ThunderClan. We are strong, skillful, and more honorable than any of the five Clans of the forest. Trust me, warriors. The Twolegs will not destroy our home."
- ―Cloudstar Cloudstar's Journey, page chapter 5
- SkyClan was the fifth Clan of the forest, introduced in Firestar's Quest. They had to leave the forest a long time ago when their territory was destroyed, which severed their ties with the other Clans. They were known for their ability to jump considerable heights, climbing and fighting in the trees, and they have hard pads that help them walk long distances on rough surfaces. Their first leader was Skystar. When the mountain cats arrived at their new home, Clear Sky established a group in the forest. He and his group soon became known as the most ruthless, strong, and well-fed cats in the forest. SkyClan reunited with the others Clans by the lake in A Vision of Shadows. SkyClan is currently led by Leafstar, with Hawkwing as her deputy.
- "Look around you! These cats are bathed in blood. It soaks their fur and laps at their paws. This is why we survive! We are BLOODCLAN!"
- ―Scourge The Rise of Scourge, page 74
- BloodClan is an unofficial Clan created by Scourge. The group was comprised of kittypets and rogues who lived in the Twolegplace. Most cats born in the Twolegplace were fear-mongered into obeying Scourge and his allies. The Clan laws are quite different compared to the official Clans. They do not believe in StarClan. BloodClan does not care for the sick, weak, or elderly and instead throws them out on the borders and forces them fend for themselves. After Scourge's death, BloodClan suffered through a power struggled and continued to terrorize ThunderClan. The last known leaders were Ice and Snake.
- "Yes, we're WarriorClan. Clan cats have lived on this territory for seasons. You must either submit to our authority, or face our wrath!"
- ―Monkeystar Graystripe's Vow, page 204
- Following the original four Clans' departure from the forest, a group of kittypets grew enamored by the stories of the warrior Clans by Smudge and Barley and began pretending to be warriors themselves in the forest. These kittypets would pretend to hunt and fight during the day but return to their Twolegs at night. WarriorClan found its footing as a real Clan when Graystripe arrived and taught them about the Clans, and more former kittypets joined. WarriorClan is currently led by Monkeystar, with Fang as her deputy.
Each Clan (excluding StarClan) shares the same basic ranking system, consisting of nine distinct ranks.
- A Clan leader is charged with the responsibility to watch over and manage an entire Clan, maintaining discipline, order, and protection. Leaders are normally granted nine lives and a new name with the ending "-star" (e.g. Firestar, Bluestar) in a ceremony where StarClan cats come to them in a dream at the Moonstone or the Moonpool. However, a leader may not receive all nine lives if the previous leader of his or her Clan is still alive; in this instance, a leader will have a life taken off the original total of nine for every life the previous leader still possesses (e.g. Sunstar). Sometimes StarClan will not accept a leader (e.g. Nightstar), if this happens then the Clan is usually thrown into turmoil.
- The deputy is the second-in-command to the leader, and may be considered an apprentice to the art of leading the Clan. They serve in the leader's place in situations where the leader is unable to fulfill their duties. They are in charge of organizing patrols, and they are often called on by the leader for advice, but other than that, they retain the normal duties of a warrior. To become a deputy, a cat must have trained at least one apprentice, though sometimes there are some exceptions. Upon the leader's death, they become the leader and go to the Moonstone or the Moonpool, so StarClan can grant them nine lives. Deputies may also retire and give up their place as deputy if they wish (for example, Tawnyspots), or step down and continue as a normal warrior, such as Tawnypelt.
- The medicine cat serves the Clan as both their spiritual leader and healer, making them akin to the idea of a 'medicine man' in a tribal society. In addition to their responsibilities to their Clan, they have responsibility to one another and StarClan. They carry out their responsibilities to StarClan once every half-moon, meeting together to discuss matters privately and share dreams with StarClan. Clan leaders often rely on them to carry messages from StarClan, as medicine cats have a link no other cat has to their ancestors. In their role as spiritual leader, they teach the code, interpret omens and prophecies, and generally serve the Clan as a conduit between the earthly cats and their ghostly counterparts.
- As a healer, they gather herbs and dispense them as an apothecary would. They handle diagnosis and treatment of both illness and injury for all the cats in the Clan. As a medicine cat, they are not allowed to have a mate or kits, but this rule has been broken by certain medicine cats (for example, Leafpool and Yellowfang). Medicine cats also exist outside of typical Clan rivalries in order to treat all cats fairly.
- The mediator is a cat who specializes in solving disagreements within or involving the Clan or outside of it as a representative for the Clans. Mediators are not warriors and thus can choose whether or not to participate in Clan life and may not fight in battles. Mediators remain impartial to disagreements even if they go against their own Clan. The first and only mediator so far in the series is Tree, a former rogue who provides an outside perspective to Clan disagreements.
- A warrior is an adult cat trained in the arts of fighting and hunting. Warriors make up the bulk of a Clan, and provide that Clan with the protection and food supply that keeps it safe and well-fed. Typically, a cat is made a warrior at or over the age of twelve moons. In their oath to become a warrior, they promise to "uphold the warrior code and protect and defend their Clan, even at the cost of their life." There are also senior warriors—older, highly respected warriors, typically mentioned to have a good bond with the Clan's leader (e.g. Whitestorm to Bluestar). Clan kits dream of being the best warriors they can to defend their Clan.
- An apprentice is a cat in training to become a warrior. Their names end in the word "-paw" (e.g. Tawnypaw, Bramblepaw, Firepaw, etc.) to signify the "path their paws are now on." One exception to this is Boulder who opted to keep his loner name upon joining ShadowClan, and becoming an apprentice, and Egg, who kept his name upon joining SkyClan, becoming Sharpclaw's apprentice. Most usually are at or over the age of six moons per the warrior code. They have a mentor appointed to them at their ceremony and most days are taken out battle training or hunting. They are also given the task of cleaning out bedding and removing elders' ticks and fleas. Typically, apprentices must pass their warrior assessment, such as catching prey, before being promoted to warriors.
- A medicine cat apprentice is the cat that is being trained to follow in the pawsteps of the medicine cat. They learn healing and spiritual lore from the medicine cat. Medicine cat apprentices must be accepted by StarClan in order to be trained. The apprentices may also accompany their mentors in their visit to the Moonstone or Moonpool every half-moon to receive dreams from StarClan. Unlike warrior training, training to become a medicine cat may take longer than warrior apprenticeship.
- A medicine cat apprentice who has full training will be given a their full name similar to warriors; however, medicine cat apprentices remain apprentices, even when fully trained, so long as the current medicine cat is still practicing the arts. When the apprentice becomes a full medicine cat, they can then have an apprentice of their own. At the time the old medicine cat either dies or retires, the medicine cat apprentice becomes a full medicine cat, similar to a leader/deputy relationship. However, medicine cats do not always retire when their apprentices become full medicine cats. Some exceptions to this are Alderheart, Leafpool, and Jayfeather being co-medicine cats of ThunderClan, Willowshine and Mothwing of RiverClan, Puddleshine and Shadowsight of ShadowClan, and Frecklewish and Fidgetflake of SkyClan. Each of these medicine cats continues to serve and share responsibilities with their former apprentices.
- A queen is a she-cat nursing or expecting kits. Their primary task during this time is the raising of their kits. Some queens stay in the nursery after they have kits (e.g. Daisy, Goldenflower, and Ferncloud) to help the nursing or inexperienced queens. Some queens, such as Daisy, do not feel suited for Clan life aside from helping the other queens. They most often help other queens when no milk is available, or when the mother is ill or deceased (e.g. Ferncloud to Squirrelflight). Queens usually stay in the nursery until their kits become apprentices, then they return to their warrior duties.
- A kit is a kitten under six moons old who has not been made an apprentice yet. Their names always end in "-kit" (e.g. Dovekit, Lionkit, Blossomkit). Most often, they are under the age of six moons, though sometimes they are held back from being an apprentice for a certain amount of time, sometimes due to injury or misbehaving (Crookedkit, Deadpaw, and Lionkit, Hollykit, and Jaykit). Kits stay in the camp and are forbidden to leave it, unless accompanied by an older cat, such as a warrior, a medicine cat, or any kind of apprentice. Kits are protected by all members of the Clan, and to be protected by all Clan cats, regardless of Clan, since they are the future of the Clan.
- An elder is a retired Clan cat who is too old or not in suitable shape to continue with their duties. Elders are taken care of by the whole Clan, and are given respect for the time they have served as part of the Clan. It is usually the apprentices job to hunt and care for the elders. They are responsible for taking the body of a dead cat out to be buried. Some cats don't become an elder only because of old age; if there is ever a condition which prevents the cat from fulfilling their duties to their Clan, it usually leads to the cat's decision of retiring (e.g. Longtail, Heavystep). Though at times they may appear grumpy, elders offer their wisdom to all Clan cats, including the Clan leader.
- Kate thinks there are other Clans beyond the lake with their own code and different prophecies.[blog 1]
For more details on the Clans, see:
For more details on the individual territories and cats, see:
For more details on the religious beliefs of the Clan cats, see:
Notes and references
- Revealed in Into the Wild, chapter 5
- Revealed in Into the Wild, allegiances
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, allegiances
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 43
- Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 392
- Revealed in The Darkest Hour, allegiances
- Revealed in Graystripe's Vow, page 207
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 2
- Revealed in A Shadow in RiverClan, page 127
- Revealed in Sunset, page 99
- Revealed in The First Battle, allegiances
- Revealed in River, page 127
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 60
- Revealed in Battles of the Clans, page 17
- Revealed in Into the Woods, page 24
- Revealed in Yellowfang's Secret, chapter 5
- Revealed in Yellowfang's Secret, chapter 8
- Revealed in Yellowfang's Secret, page 7
- Revealed in Outcast, page 124
- Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 191
- Revealed in Lost Stars, allegiances
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 73
- Revealed in Battles of the Clans, page 7
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 32
- Revealed in Starlight, page 85
- Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 307
- Revealed in River, allegiances
- Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 140
- Revealed in Crowfeather's Trial, page 222
- Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 81
- Revealed in Battles of the Clans, page 67
- Revealed in Fire and Ice, allegiances
- Revealed in Darkest Night, allegiances
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page prologue
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 207
- Revealed in Battles of the Clans, page 48
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 499
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 379
- Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 2
- Revealed in The Darkest Hour, pages 247-248
- Revealed in Graystripe's Vow, page 3
- Revealed in A Clan in Need, page 72
- Revealed in Graystripe's Vow, chapter 15
- Revealed in Graystripe's Vow, chapter 21
- Revealed in Graystripe's Vow, chapter 29
- Revealed in Graystripe's Vow, page 205
- Revealed in Graystripe's Vow, page 395
- Revealed in The Darkest Hour, chapter 4
- Revealed in Winds of Change, page 204
- Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 496
- Revealed in Exile from ShadowClan, page 200
- Revealed in Long Shadows, page 260
- Revealed in Rising Storm, chapter 1
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 101
- Revealed in Sunset, page 258
- Revealed in Veil of Shadows, page 199
- Revealed in The Darkest Hour, chapter 2
- Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 494
- Revealed in The Raging Storm, chapter 6
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page prologue
- Revealed in Forest of Secrets, chapter 17
- Revealed in Into the Wild, chapter 9
- Revealed in Forest of Secrets, chapter 29
- Revealed in Bramblestar's Storm, chapter 3
- Revealed in River of Fire, page 196
- Revealed in Darkness Within, chapter 6
- Revealed in Lost Stars, page 60
- Revealed in The Raging Storm, chapter 12
- Revealed in Lost Stars, page 64
- Revealed in Into the Wild, chapter 1
- Revealed in Into the Wild, chapter 2
- Revealed in Into the Wild, page 301
- Revealed in Into the Wild, chapter 8
- Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, chapter 1
- Revealed in Yellowfang's Secret, page 150
- Revealed in SkyClan's Destiny, page 311
- Revealed in The Sight, chapter 8
- Revealed in River, chapter 1
- Revealed in Long Shadows, allegiances
- Revealed in Sunrise, allegiances
- Revealed in The Apprentice's Quest, chapter 4
- Revealed in A Dangerous Path, allegiances
- Revealed in Squirrelflight's Hope, allegiances
- Revealed in The Apprentice's Quest, allegiances
- Revealed in Into the Wild, chapter 3
- Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 27
- Revealed in Daisy's Kin, chapter 9
- Revealed in Daisy's Kin, chapter 1
- Revealed in The Sight, chapter 1
- Revealed in Rising Storm, chapter 15
- Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 55
- Revealed in Tallstar's Revenge, page 490
- Revealed in The Sight, chapter 4
- Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 49
- Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 121
- Revealed in Code of the Clans, pages 36-37
- Revealed in Into the Wild, chapter 4
- Revealed in Fire and Ice, chapter 26
- Revealed in The Sight, allegiances
- Revealed in Erin Hunter Chat 4
- Revealed in The Darkest Hour, chapter 9
|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|