Warrior Cats

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Name: Warrior Cats, Warriors
Abbreviation(s): WC
Creator: "Erin Hunter"/Various Authors
Date(s): 2003 – present
Medium: Multiple Novel Series
Country of Origin: United Kindgom & United States
External Links: warriorcats.com
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Warriors, or Warrior Cats is a series of novels written by various authors under the collective pseudonym "Erin Hunter." The series follows the adventures of four groups of feral cats, called Clans — ThunderClan, WindClan, RiverClan, ShadowClan — in their forest and lake territories, as well as their interactions with SkyClan and StarClan. The series follows multiple generations of cats and their adventures, which involves battles between the clans, prophecies, quests, and interactions with the spirits of dead cats in StarClan and the Dark Forest.

The cats in Warrior Cats are considered ferals - non-anthropomorphized animal characters.


The Warrior Cats books are young adult and are aimed at a young teen or preteen audience.


The characters in Warriors live in four (or five, depending on the book) Clans of a few dozen wild cats: ThunderClan, WindClan, RiverClan, ShadowClan, and later SkyClan. The cats live by a warrior code, laws of honor that set them apart from "rogues" beyond their borders. Every Clan has a leader, a deputy, at least one medicine cat, senior warriors, warriors, apprentices, and kittens, as well as elders who have retired from duty. Leaders are the only cats with nine lives, in order to make sacrifices for the Clan. They, alongside their deputies, make most of the decision for the Clan, but occasionally defer to the medicine cat, who is both a physical healer and spiritual guide.

Their afterlife is StarClan, where benevolent warrior ancestors watch over the living and occasionally send prophecies or omens. Cats who have committed evil, or in some cases simply displeased StarClan, are sent to the Dark Forest instead, doomed to an afterlife of misery. Sometimes, characters visit either afterlife in their dreams, but StarClan is generally more powerful and more able to impact the living world. StarClan most commonly communicates with medicine cats, and having prophetic dreams or visions as a young cat usually leads one to that career path.

The Clans live in a forest for two and a half arcs, before migrating to the lake territories after humans began to destroy the forest. In both cases, the four clans are arranged in a circle around a neutral meeting place, where Gatherings are held every full moon for the Clans to come together peacefully, share news, and sometimes negotiate political issues. Both territories also contain a neutral area for medicine cats to meet with each other and commune with StarClan on every half moon; this is the Moonstone in the forest territory and the Moonpool in the lake territory.

Non-Clan Cats

There are a few groups outside of the Clans that become important. Namely, the Tribe of Rushing Water, who live in the mountains and are descendants of the original group that the Clans broke off of. They have a similar setup to the Clans with a few key differences. Their leader and medicine cat are the same role, filled by a cat who gives up their name to become the Teller of Pointed Stones, or Stoneteller. Their adult cats are split into prey-hunters and cave-guards, who do exactly what their names imply; cave-guards also often accompany prey-hunters in order to defend them from predators like eagles. Their young cats in training are called to-bes, and they have no name changes aside from the one to Stoneteller. Instead, every cat has a long name describing something in nature, such as Brook Where Small Fish Swim and Cloud With Storm In Belly. They are usually called by the first word in their name, ie Brook or Cloud, except in formal situations.

[expand upon BloodClan, The Sisters, rogues/loners in general...]

Storyline & Continuity

The main storyline is split into arcs of six books each, with every arc having a new plotline and new protagonists, usually the children of previous major characters. There is also supplemental material in the form of Super Editions (which are about twice the length of the normal books), novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and field guides. There is also an official, dubiously canon Warrior Cats play. Due to the authors' lack of communication and documentation amongst themselves, as well as countless retcons over the years, there are many continuity errors, some of which have spawned entire fandom wars[1] (see "Inconsistencies").

The series begins following Firestar, once a young housecat, who is prophesied to save ThunderClan. After he joins, he quickly becomes entrenched in Clan politics and wars, and uses unconventional methods to solve problems, which often lands him in trouble. Most of the main characters of the series are his kin, who are inherently prone to special prophecies and quests by virtue of being related to him. Firestar remains a major player even when not a direct protagonist, and a major split in the culture of the books and the fandom comes with his death at the end of the fourth arc.

The fifth arc is a prequel series, telling the story of the founding of the Clans several decades earlier.

The next few arcs pick up the modern world again, following Firestar's descendants and a few unrelated protagonists. This part of the series is often considered a "soft reset," as most of the original cast is dead or rendered irrelevant by time. This is also when the authors began to push the limits of their worldbuilding and story in new ways (introducing new cat societies, new powers, changing some of the Clans' political landscape, etc), which gives the second half of the series a very different feel to the books many in the fandom grew up with.

For more information on individual arcs, refer to their specific pages:


Erin Hunter

Erin Hunter is the pseudonym used mainly by Victoria Holmes, Kate Cary, and Cheryth Baldry. Clarissa Hutton has also written a few standalone Warriors books, and Tui T. Sutherland has been responsible for editing the books and writing one of the field guides. Other writers use the pseudonym to write similar fantasy series with different animals, such as Seekers and Survivors.

Victoria Holmes is the "original" Erin, having been asked by HarperCollins to write a book series about fictional cats. Initially unenthusiastic, she created a detailed storyline for the first book and brought Kate Cary on to do the actual writing, with Cheryth Baldry coming in later to write the third book. Since then, aside from a few exceptions, Cary and Baldry have done the writing for the series. Holmes was in charge of creating storylines and helping the series to maintain a consistent voice; however, she stepped down from the project in 2017 and it is unknown how her position was filled.

Warrior Cats Ultimate Edition

in 2021 a Roblox video game based on the series was released, called Warrior Cats Ultimate Edition. It averages 10,000 players a day.


Warrior Cats fandom skews young due to the young target audience of the books. Particularly in the early days of the fandom, it was apparent that people older than teenagers did not have a significant presence in the fandom. Over time, since it has been over a decade since the series began, the age demographics of the fandom are more mixed. The fandom continues to draw new participants while there are also older longtime fans.

Warrior Cat's long run and many arcs have built up an extensive fantasy world, abundant lore, and an extremely large cast. There are many characters, relationships, or events regarded as fan favorites. There is opportunity of almost endless variety and exploration.

Warriors Cats fandom has a significant Furry presence, but the series is not targeted at furries and it is unknown how strong the correlation between liking Warrior Cats and being a furry is. WC is considered a gateway fandom to Furry by some, and personally recalled to be such by many Furries.

Tropes & Fanon

  • Leader Marks: Many works choose to depict Clan leaders as having some sort of special marking on them. Most commonly this marking is a star on the forehead, though the exact form and location of the mark can vary based on headcanons and the tastes of the artist.
  • Naming Systems: Fans have created naming systems based on the canon system for use in Warrior Cats fan works. The two most prominent systems are traditionalism, which introduces structured meanings behind prefixes and suffixes, and lyricism, which emphasises a lack of rules and puts a high value on aesthetics. The two styles have historically come into conflict, as supporters of one style often fail to see the appeal of the other. See also: Fan Naming Styles in Warrior Cats.

Original Characters

It is very common for fans to create OC cats and create fanart of them in much that way that furries do with fursonas. These OCs are generally named following the naming convention within the WC world; however, it is something of an in-joke that many fans will improbably stretch the conventions in order to give their OC an interesting/unique name. As one fan put it, "Kids want to make their own unique cats with names like Darknesstalon and Furyscythe (those names definitely wouldn't fit into the world of the books, if it's unclear)."[2]

Warriors uses a two-part name system, being given a prefix at birth and a suffix to denote their rank throughout their lives. The prefix can be almost any word, usually a noun or adjective related to nature, though canon and various fandom circles each have their own rules on the exact qualifications. As a kitten, a cat's suffix is -kit, then -paw as an apprentice, before receiving a unique suffix as a warrior/medicine cat, usually related to a skill, achievement, or physical trait. Most cats keep this name all their lives; however, leaders receive the suffix -star, and some cats' names are changed if their name is no longer representative of them.

Fans also create original Clans (commonly called "fanclans") to put their OC cats in.

OC generator challenges, where artists create OCs based on descriptions of cats, are also common, with ClanGen commonly being used for this purpose.


Fanart is very popular in Warrior Cats fandom, as it is in general Furry fandom.

Fanart extends to animatic fanvids. Multi Animator Projects (MAPs) and Animashes are genres of vids that rose to prominence or were created in WC fandom.


During the late 2000s and early 2010s, Forum RP was also very common in the Warrior Cats fandom. This is and was often framed as original Clans full of OCs, though sometimes people would also roleplay as parts of the canon Clans. A number of these RP websites were set up using free hosting platforms such as Freewebs (Now absorbed and shut down by Vistaprint) rather than a more typical forum platform, were run through dedicated chat widgets, and had various levels of complexity with some websites having multiple RP sections and activity requirements. Many websites that used to focus on WC roleplay have since then either shut down or shifted their focus as the series faded out of popularity.

Warrior Cat RP also occurred through the review sections for books on the Barnes & Noble website circa 2012. Roleplayers would post book reviews but the content of the reviews would in actually be Warrior Cat roleplay rather than a review of the book. A 2012 blog entry by Carolyn Jewel pointed the reviews out, even including screenshots and links back to roleplayer DeviantART profiles.[3] A few people discovered and brought attention to the roleplaying on the Barnes & Novel website in a Tumblr post.[4] Video essayist Izzzyzzz talked about the Barns & Novel roleplayers in her Warrior Cats deep dive in 2021.[5]

ok i was VERY involved in the. b&n reviews warrior cats roleplay scene when i was like 10-12. the first two books of the series were general hubs where ppl would post ads for their clans and other groups. there was a huge percy jackson community i remember participating in too. it worked through search results, eg. riverclan might be under the search result “rivers”. book 1 was rules and a “map”, book 2 might be the main area, book 3 the medicine cats tent, etc. there was also usually a book where ppl would post lengthy descriptions of their character(s). it was a rlly bizarre little corner of the internet jdksj also it was impossible to find any real reviews of any of the warrior cats books bc of it

brandnewclty, 2021[4]

The Official Erin Hunter Message Boards

The publishers of the books, Harper Collins, maintained an official forum for fans of the Warriors series, on which fans could discuss the books (including other Erin Hunter series such as Seekers and Survivors), share fanworks, and roleplay. Notably, the Hunters would sometimes visit the forums and share info or answer questions about the books. The official forums were shut down on August 12, 2016, though fans started an [1] unofficial forum in reaction to the shutdown. See also: The Official Erin Hunter Message Boards

Discussion & Controversy

Treatment of Disabled Characters

It has been noted that Warriors has a history of mishandling disabled characters. Notable instances of this that are commonly pointed out include:

  • Longtail's early retirement due to blindness
  • Cinderpelt and Jayfeather going into the non-combative medicine cat role because of their disabilities (a lame leg and blindness, respectively)
  • Brightheart, who is half blind, being denied the chance to fully train an apprentice despite being promised the opportunity
  • Snowkit getting taken by a hawk he couldn't hear due to being deaf
  • The renaming of cats such as One-eye, Deadfoot, and Halftail after their disabilities

Controversial Characters

Several characters, most notably Ashfur and Thistleclaw, have drawn considerable debate over time. Ashfur's actions and treatment in regards to Squirrelflight and his obsession with her is one of the fandom's most consistent and contentious discussion topics.

The primary debate on Thistleclaw comes from his depiction in the novella "Spottedleaf’s Heart," due to the fact that his behaviour towards Spottedpaw can be read as child grooming. Notably, the debate on Thistleclaw has involved fans trying to claim that Spottedleaf’s Heart shouldn’t be canon, or that the Erins shouldn’t have written Thistleclaw that way.

The Tribe & Racism

Warrior Cats fandom periodically falls into discourse over the series and racism, where different conclusions are drawn each time. One of the aspects of the series that most fans agree on, though, is the Tribe of Rushing Water. The Tribe, a group of cats living in the mountains and direct descendants of the group the Clans initially broke off of, appear repeatedly in the series. Their portrayal has been criticized by many fans as falling into anti-Indigenous tropes and stereotypes.

The Tribe cats are coded as Indigenous; they are directly related to the Clans' ancestors, their names are short phrases about nature (Crag Where Eagles Nest, Night Of No Stars, etc), and they are overall written as more "primitive" and spiritual than the Clan cats.

Fans have called out the use of three major racist tropes[6] in the books:

  • White Savior- In the Moonrise, the second book of the New Prophecy arc, the Clan cats work to save the tribe from a mountain lion that has been plaguing them. A warrior named Feathertail eventually sacrifices herself to kill the animal. Further, in Outcast, the third book of Power of Three, the Clans visit the Tribe again and help save them from a band of young cats who have been harassing them. The Tribe cats never solve their own problems and are never protagonists; they function mostly as filler and opportunities for the Clan characters to save the day.
  • Indian Maiden- Also in Moonrise, the warrior Stormfur falls in love with a Tribe cat named Brook and decides to join the Tribe in order to stay with her. Brook has almost no character of her own, serving only to be Stormfur's exotic mate. She later goes with Stormfur to rejoin the Clans.
  • Noble Savage- As the Tribe's spiritual leader, Stoneteller is portrayed as mysterious and untouchable, rather than just another cat like the Clans' leaders.


Numerous inconsistencies have occured over the course of many books, which vary in severity. They can been understood as a result of Erin Hunter being a group of writers working together who many not always be in clear communication. Addressing inconsistencies may be a subject or inspiration in fanworks.

A fully list of errors can be found in Mistakes in the Warriors Series on the Warrior Wiki.

  • Dovewing’s Eyes: The character Dovewing has suffered from inconsistent descriptions, resulting in her eyes being described as gold, blue, and green. This resulted in debate over what the canon eye color is, along with attempts to explain the inconsistency through various headcanons, such as depicting her as heterochromatic.
  • Rowanclaw's Gender: The character Rowanclaw has been referred to with various pronouns over the course of the series, starting out mostly being referred to with the feminine she/her and being referred to as a she-cat (the term used in canon to describe female cats) before settling on he/him and being referred to as a tom (the term used in canon to refer to male cats) in the later books. While this has been confirmed to be a mistake by the writers,[7] many fans have explained this by headcanoning Rowanclaw as a trans man or as genderfluid.
  • Superpowers: Several cats are given magical powers that are used very inconsistently. For example, Jayfeather's dreamwalking (and possible telepathy) and Lionblaze's invincibility are defined and used in so many different ways it is difficult to even label what they are. Other examples are Leafpool and Squirrelflight briefly being shown to have telepathy and Yellowfang having the ability to feel others' pain--both of these powers are used only once or twice before being forgotten about.

Example Fanworks

Fan Animations/MAPs

Fan Animated Series




  • Fire and Water by Hissing Willows. An AU in which Rusty joins RiverClan instead of ThunderClan due to Thistleclaw leading ThunderClan in place of Bluestar. Also uploaded to FF.net in the form of (so far) two books.

Roleplay Communities




Links & Resources