Within the Warriors universe, the cats live in a highly structured society that is firmly divided into five groups known as Clans.

Clan cats are divided into five Clans: ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and SkyClan. Deceased cats who were believers in the religious structure and generally followed the warrior code join together as StarClan.[1] If they made mistakes, but believed what they did was right, more likely than not they will join StarClan when they die.[2] Cats who commit heinous crimes, or had the intent of doing so, join a place called the Dark Forest (Place of No Stars).[3] SkyClan was the fifth Clan, but they were forced to leave when their territory was destroyed,[4] but eventually join the Clans around the lake again. BloodClan was not so much a Clan as a group of cats banded together for safety and strength in numbers. They had no belief in StarClan, did not follow the warrior code, and had no formal system of training.[5]

The Clans


RiverClan is known for their skill at swimming. RiverClan cats are also known for their unique skill at scooping fish from the river.[6] The very first leader was Riverstar, who was a loner that met the cats that came from the mountains.[7] At the beginning of The Prophecies Begin arc, RiverClan was led by Crookedstar,[8] with Oakheart as deputy.[9] RiverClan is currently led by Mistystar[10] with Reedwhisker as deputy.[11]


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, and crowfood- foods most Clan cats turn their noses up at.[12] Their first leader was Shadowstar. She was one of the cats to make the journey from the mountain to the forest, and she lead the traveling group at one point in time.[7] At the beginning of The Prophecies Begin, ShadowClan was led by Brokenstar,[8] with Blackfoot as deputy.[13] ShadowClan is currently led by Tigerstar,[14] with Cloverfoot as deputy.[15]


ThunderClan is heavily featured in the books, being the Clan of origin for many of the protagonists of the arcs. ThunderClan cats are known for their skill at stalking prey through forest and undergrowth.[16] 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. She had left Skystar's forest after he was overly protective. Thunder was her only surviving kit.[7] At the beginning of The Prophecies Begin, ThunderClan was led by Bluestar, [17] and Redtail was deputy.[18] ThunderClan is now led by Squirrelflight as temporary leader, with Lionblaze as temporary deputy.[19]


WindClan, who lived closest to the Moonstone,[20] are cats well versed in Twoleg culture (due to the farm they lived so close to). WindClan Cats are known for their swift paws, which lend ease to catching prey such as rabbits on the open moors of their territory.[20] 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.[7] At the beginning of The Prophecies Begin, WindClan was led by Tallstar,[21] with Deadfoot as deputy. [9] WindClan is now led by Harestar,[22] with Crowfeather[22] as deputy.


SkyClan was the fifth Clan of the forest, and they were 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.[4] They were known for their ability to jump considerable heights, and they have hard gray pads that help them walk long distances on rough surfaces.[23] Their first leader was Skystar. When the mountain cats arrived at the forest, Clear Sky established a group. He and his group soon became known as the most ruthless, strong, and well-fed cats in the forest. [24] SkyClan is currently led by Leafstar,[25] with Hawkwing as her deputy.[26]


BloodClan is an unofficial Clan. Its only known members are Scourge, Ice, Snake, Bone, Jaggedtooth, and Brick. Boulder, Snipe, Barley, and Violet were known members but left BloodClan.[27] 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 makes them fend for themselves.[27] They eat anything they find. The last known leaders were Ice and Snake.[28]

Clan hierarchy

Each Clan (excluding BloodClan and StarClan) shares the same basic ranking system, consisting of nine distinct ranks.


An elder is a retired warrior, deputy, queen, medicine cat, or leader who is too old or not in suitable shape to continue with their duties.[29] Elders are taken care of by the whole Clan, and are given respect for the time they have served as part of the Clan. They are responsible for taking the body of a dead cat out to be buried.[30]
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,[31] Heavystep[32])


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 nine StarClan cats come to them in a dream at the Moonstone/Moonpool.[33] 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).[34] Sometimes StarClan will not accept a leader (e.g. Nightstar), if this happens then the Clan is usually thrown into turmoil.[35]


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.[36] 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.[36] However, in the New Prophecy Arc, Brambleclaw became deputy of ThunderClan without an apprentice, but he was granted the promise to train one.[37]
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),[36] or step down and continue as a normal warrior, such as Tawnypelt.[38]

Medicine cat

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.[39] 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.[40] Clan leaders often rely on them to carry messages from StarClan, as medicine cats have a link no other cat has to their ancestors.[41]
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.
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 medicine cat, they are not allowed to have a mate or kits,[42] but this rule has been broken by certain medicine cats (for example, Leafpool, Yellowfang). Medicine cats also exist outside of typical Clan rivalries in order to treat all cats fairly.[43]


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). They are thought to do this because they feel they can help the nursing queens.[44] 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. Squirrelflight to Leafpool)
Kits are protected from attacks and the nursery is often situated at the back of the camp, away from the entrance.[45]


A warrior is a 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.[46] 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."[47]
Warrior dens are very often near the front of the Clan, where they can protect the rest of their Clan from attacks.[source?]
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).[source?]


An apprentice is a cat in training to become a warrior. Their names end in the word "-paw" (e.g. Tawnypaw,[48] Bramblepaw,[48] Firepaw,[18] etc) to signify the "path their paws are now on."[49] One exception to this is Boulder who opted to keep his loner name upon joining ShadowClan, and becoming an apprentice,[50] and Egg, who kept his name upon joining SkyClan,[51] becoming Sharpclaw's apprentice. Most usually are at or over the age of six moons. 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.[52]

Medicine cat apprentice

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 also accompany their mentors in their visit to the Moonstone/Moonpool every half-moon to receive dreams from StarClan.[source?]
Frequently, a medicine cat apprentice who has full training will be given a warrior name ("-paw" replaced with another ending); 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 the 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. Two exceptions to this role inheritance exist; Alderheart, Leafpool, and Jayfeather are co-medicine cats,[source?] as are Willowshine and Mothwing.[source?]


A kit is a cat who has not been made an apprentice yet. Their names always end in "-kit" (e.g. Dovekit,[53] Lionkit,[31] Blossomkit).[54][55] 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,[56] Deadpaw)[57]
They 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.[58]


  • Kate thinks there are other Clans beyond the lake with their own code and different prophecies.[blog 1]

See also

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:

External links

Notes and references

  1. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 43
  2. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 72
  3. Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 392
  4. 4.0 4.1 Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 54
  5. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 137
  6. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 40
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 4-6
  8. 8.0 8.1 Revealed in Into the Wild, page 161
  9. 9.0 9.1 Revealed in Fire and Ice, allegiances
  10. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 30
  11. Revealed in Battles of the Clans, page 38
  12. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 55
  13. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 141
  14. Revealed in Tigerheart's Shadow, page 405
  15. Revealed in The Raging Storm, chapter 25
  16. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 9
  17. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 31
  18. 18.0 18.1 Revealed in Into the Wild, allegiances
  19. Revealed in Veil of Shadows, page 278
  20. 20.0 20.1 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 27
  21. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 162
  22. 22.0 22.1 Revealed in Tigerheart's Shadow, allegiances
  23. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 207
  24. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 2
  25. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 499
  26. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 501
  27. 27.0 27.1 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 138
  28. Revealed in A Clan in Need, page 72
  29. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 115
  30. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 116
  31. 31.0 31.1 Revealed in The Sight, allegiances
  32. Revealed in Erin Hunter Chat 4
  33. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 103
  34. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 496
  35. Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page Nightstar did not receive nine lives
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 107
  37. Revealed in Sunset, page 258
  38. Revealed in The Raging Storm, chapter 6
  39. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 130-131
  40. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 92
  41. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 130-132
  42. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 131
  43. Revealed in Bramblestar's Storm, chapter 3
  44. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 27
  45. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 62
  46. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 110
  47. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 301
  48. 48.0 48.1 Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 235
  49. All apprentices, save for a small group, have had "-paw" in their apprentice name.
  50. Revealed in Yellowfang's Secret, page 150
  51. Revealed in SkyClan's Destiny, page 311
  52. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 108
  53. Revealed in Sunrise, page 317
  54. Revealed in Eclipse, page 158
  55. There has never been a Clan kit who's name hasn't ended in -kit
  56. Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 55
  57. Revealed in Tallstar's Revenge, page 490
  58. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 49

Author references

Hierarchy and positions in the Warriors world
Clan Hierarchy KitsApprenticesWarriorsDeputiesLeadersQueensEldersMedicine catsMediators
Ceremonies VigilApprenticeWarriorDeputyLeaderElderMedicine catName changing
Tribe Hierarchy To-besCave-guardsPrey hunters‎Kit mothersHealer/Stoneteller
Miscellaneous General Clan informationGeneral Tribe informationCat names
Other Groups LonersRoguesKittypets
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