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"The bond between medicine cats felt almost stronger than the bond between Clanmates. They shared knowledge and visions warriors would never experience. Their connection with StarClan tied them to one another almost like kin."
Alderheart's thoughts in Darkest Night, page 119

Medicine cats are members of a Clan who treat diseases and injuries.[1] They also receive and interpret omens and prophecies from StarClan.[2] They are highly respected cats by all the Clans.[3]

Description

Medicine cats are Clan cats who treat diseases and injuries, and who receive directions and guidance from StarClan.[2] They have their own den in their Clan's camp, where they sleep, store herbs, and treat wounded or sick cats.[4] Medicine cats are not allowed to take mates or have kits.[5] They are expected to stand apart from Clan rivalries.[6] Medicine cats have a special way of getting their full name,[7] including that this ceremony is performed by the apprentice's mentor instead of the Clan leader. Also, the ceremony takes place during the next half-moon meeting at their sacred Moonstone or Moonpool with the other Clans' medicine cats to cheer their new name, instead of right away in their Clan with their own Clanmates to cheer their new name.[8] They are deeply respected by their Clanmates and few cats dare to argue with them.[9]

Tasks

Some of a medicine cat's tasks are:

  • Knowing all of the herbs and store a supply of them in their den[10]
  • Treating wounded and sick cats[11]
  • Assisting queens while they are pregnant with kits, giving birth, or nursing them[12]
  • Check up regularly on the health of Clan cats, (especially queens, elders, and kits)[13]
  • Visiting the Moonstone/Moonpool at every half-moon to seek guidance from StarClan[14]
  • Interpreting prophecies and omens and sharing them with the Clan leader[15]
  • Upon the death of the Clan leader, accompany the deputy to the Moonstone or Moonpool to be appointed as the new leader[16]
  • Training an apprentice as the Clan's next medicine cat[17]
  • Bearing the knowledge of basic battle training in case they need them[18]
  • Visiting their ancestors when in a crisis that requires direct communication with StarClan.[19]

Appointment and education

Kits who wish to become medicine cats are apprenticed at the age of six moons to the Clan's current medicine cat.[20] They are introduced to StarClan as a medicine cat apprentice at the first half moon after they gain apprenticeship.[21] They earn their name at the Moonstone or Moonpool after successfully completing their training,[22] assuming full responsibilities even while their mentor is still alive.[3] While there are usually two medicine cats at most, this is not always the case, and there may even be three at one time.[23] Most of the time, a medicine cat's training takes longer than normal warrior training.
When an apprentice, the mentor (or full medicine cat), has them do tasks that prepare them for being a full time medicine cat.[24] The apprentice has to gather herbs, get water, or do other useful things.[25] They are expected to watch carefully when their mentor is treating a cat, so that when the time comes, they can do it, too.[26]
It is also revealed in Night Whispers that ShadowClan trains their medicine cats to fight like warriors,[27] and ThunderClan medicine cats occasionally train their apprentices some fighting moves, such as Cinderpelt training Leafpaw.[28]
Featherwhisker was also taught to hunt for prey even though it didn't follow the basic duties.[29]

Special cases

Some cats have been known to exchange their life as a warrior to be a medicine cat (for instance; Littlecloud,[30] Hawkheart,[31] Jayfeather,[32] Mudfur,[33] Mothwing,[34] Spottedleaf,[35] or Yellowfang[36]) while some have life-altering experiences that may cause them to take that path (such as, Cinderpelt[37]) but this is considered to be very uncommon.[38]
Though most medicine cats believe in StarClan, a few rare exceptions (e.g. Mothwing), have become medicine cats despite their lack of belief.[39]
Medicine cats usually keep their role until they die, with the exception of Goosefeather,[40] Leafpool,[41] and Runningnose.[42] However, Leafpool did return to her medicine cat role after the issue of having kits was settled in the very end of The Last Hope, and she was a ThunderClan medicine cat again instead of a warrior along with her former apprentice, Jayfeather, in Bramblestar's Storm.[43]
While medicine cats are not permitted to have mates or kits, cats that have previously had and lost a mate may become medicine cats if they choose, even if they still have kits (e.g. Mudfur).[44]

The Tribe of Rushing Water

In the Tribe of Rushing Water, the leader and the medicine cat are the same cat, known as the Healer, Stoneteller, or Teller of the Pointed Stones.[45] The leader can receive omens from the Tribe of Endless Hunting,[46] just as Clan medicine cats receive dreams from StarClan.[47]

History of ranks

ThunderClan

Medicine cats
Name Gained rank in... Left rank in...
Cloudspots Moth Flight's Vision Before "The Medicine Cats Decide"
Prickleface Before "The Medicine Cats Decide" Before "The Leader Who Sought Peace"
Pearnose Before "The Leader Who Sought Peace" Before "The Victorious Clan"
Kestrelwing Before "The Victorious Clan" Before Mapleshade's Vengeance
Oatspeckle Before Mapleshade's Vengeance Before Mapleshade's Vengeance
Ravenwing Before Mapleshade's Vengeance Mapleshade's Vengeance
Cloudberry Before Goosefeather's Curse Goosefeather's Curse
Goosefeather Goosefeather's Curse Bluestar's Prophecy
Featherwhisker Bluestar's Prophecy Bluestar's Prophecy
Spottedleaf Bluestar's Prophecy Into the Wild
Yellowfang Into the Wild Rising Storm
Cinderpelt Rising Storm Twilight
Leafpool Twilight Before Lost Stars
Jayfeather Sunrise -
Alderheart Thunder and Shadow -

WindClan

Medicine cats

Trivia

  • It is possible that StarClan has a lot to do with cats being born with the ability to communicate with them, and that they are too wise to have too many talented cats born at once.[48]

See also

Notes and 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 LonersRogues

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