Cats living in the wild often fall as victims to a number of diseases and injuries. It is the job of the Clan's medicine cat to treat these conditions.[1]

Diseases and Conditions

Chest Infections

Whitecough and greencough are the most common chest infections known to the Clan cats. Whitecough is the milder form, but if untreated, it can develop into the much more severe greencough.[2] Cats usually catch it during leaf-fall and leaf-bare, and sometimes it develops into large-scale epidemics. It can be fatal for elders and kits,[2] and it has claimed the lives of many cats. It spreads quickly and is highly contagious.

Medicine cats treat it using catmint.[3] The first ThunderClan medicine cat, Cloudspots, found out that this was the best remedy.[4] If fevers accompany the cough, tansy or borage is used as well.[3]

In Into the Wild, a disease named kitten-cough is mentioned.[5] Runningnose tells about an herb used to cure it, though it has disappeared since Twolegs came to the forest.[5]

In Moonrise, Mothwing mentions blackcough as a form of chest infection.[6]

In Moth Flight's Vision, Micah mentions that redcough was an illness in the farm where a cat coughed up blood.[7] It is also mentioned by Thunderstar in Thunderstar's Echo.[8]

In Thunder and Shadow, a disease by the name of yellowcough infects and kills several cats in ShadowClan, and is curable only by a plant named lungwort. It causes a loss of appetite,[9] fever, difficulty breathing,[10] delirium, and sore throats.[11]


Poisoning is the ingestion of a substance that causes harm to the body, such as:

  • Eating or drinking poisonous substances or plants such as deathberries. Kits are the ones who usually fall victim to this, being curious and unaware of the danger.[12]
  • Eating poisoned or rotten prey (known as crow-food) or drinking tainted water.[13]
  • Inhaling too much smoke from a fire.[14]
  • Being bitten by a venomous animal such as a snake.[15]

If only a small quantity of poison is ingested, the cat usually just receives a bellyache, but larger amounts can cause death. Medicine cats treat these bellyaches with yarrow or nettle leaves, while mild bellyaches can be treated with juniper or watermint. If a cat has been severely poisoned (as in eating deathberries, as Sorrelkit does in The Darkest Hour) they may become unconscious for a length of time.[16]

Rat-Borne Infections

The cats sometimes fall victims to infections carried by rats. One of these infections is called Carrionplace Disease. The first ShadowClan medicine cat, Pebbleheart, realized that rats were a source of disease.[17] As ShadowClan cats sometimes ate the rats from the Carrionplace in The Forest, they were prone to catch these diseases. This happens in Rising Storm, when two ShadowClan cats, Littlecloud and Whitethroat, come to ThunderClan for help because their Clan is in chaos from the deadly and contagious disease. Yellowfang sends them away because she doesn't want ThunderClan to become infected, but Cinderpelt wants to help them and comes up with a cure. Nightstar dies from Carrionplace disease during this time, which is why the Clan was in chaos (they thought it had ripped all nine lives from him when in fact he only had one life because Brokenstar was still alive).[source?] Burdock root is used to stop infection from rat bites.[18][19]

Loss of Sensory Perception

A cat may lose their eyesight or hearing due to old age as One-eye of ThunderClan did before her death,[20] or from accidents and infections,[21] or birth defects.[22] These conditions usually end their career as a warrior, as they cannot hunt or fight efficiently, and must retire as elders, such as Longtail.[source?] Kits born with defects usually die young,[22] unless they have special skills compensating it, like in Jayfeather's case.[source?] Kits that are white with blue eyes have a higher chance of being born deaf, like Snowkit.[23]

Joint Aches

A condition usually associated with elders, the joints gradually degenerating with age, causing pain and difficulty to move. Damp environments can cause the appearance of this condition, so apprentices must make sure that the moss they gather for bedding is completely dry. It is usually treated using daisy or ragwort poultices.[source?]


A toothache is caused by a cracked tooth, cavities, or an infection in the mouth. Alder bark is used to soothe the pain.[24]


Fever is an abnormally high temperature of the body. It is not a disease in itself, but it usually signs the presence of an infection, such as greencough or an infected wound. If needed, it can be treated with feverfew,[25] borage[26], or lavender.[25]


Chills are mostly associated with cold weather or being submerged in cold water for a long period of time. Although this condition is mild and is not a disease, it has claimed the lives of Mosskit[27] and Hollykit.[28] Kits and elders are more at risk of dying when they get a chill. Licking a cat's fur the wrong way gets the blood flowing again. A poultice of lavender, catmint, and feverfew is also a good remedy.[29]

Other Diseases

Several other diseases were mentioned in the books; however, the cats do not have names for them. Examples include the conditions of Pebblefur,[30] Shellheart,[31] Tawnyspots,[32], Leopardstar,[33] Petalfall,[34][35] and Ravenpaw.[36]



Wounds are injuries when the skin and the muscles beneath are torn, cut, or punctured. They may put a cat's life in danger due to blood loss, infections, or the damage of the organs. Wounds are the most common injuries, due to the nature of the cats often fighting rival Clans, or enemy animals such as badgers, foxes, or dogs.

Minor wounds heal on their own in no time, but severe wounds must be treated by a medicine cat. This treatment includes cleaning it thoroughly with the tongue, stopping the bleeding by pressing cobwebs or moss on it, and applying poultices to prevent infection and help it to heal. Herbs used in the poultices often include goldenrod, marigold, burdock root, or (in the case of rat bites) wild garlic. If the wound becomes infected, chervil or horsetail is used as well. The pain can be eased with poppy seeds or willow bark.[3]


Sprains are injuries to ligaments of a joint, caused by being stretched beyond their normal capacity and possibly torn.[37] It causes severe pain and decreased ability to move the joint. The cat must rest for several days.

Joint Dislocation

Joint dislocation is the displacement of a bone from its normal joint. Medicine cats treat this condition by first feeding the patient poppy seeds to make them sleepy so they don't feel it as much, and then forcing the limb back into the joint.[38]

Cracked Pads

The paw pads may crack while walking long distances on hard surfaces, or due to cold weather. Elders are especially prone to this condition. It is treated with a poultice of coltsfoot or yarrow. Dock leaf poultices are also used to cool cracked pads.[source?]

Broken Bones

A broken bone is usually the result of an accident, such as falling down from a high place,[39] or being hit by a monster.[40] Cats most often break their legs, and while medicine cats try to bind the bone with cobwebs, the injury usually results in the cat remaining crippled for the rest of their life. The only cat known to fully recover after breaking a leg was Cinderheart.[41]

A more severe injury is when a cat breaks their backbone. This results in the cat being unable to feel or move parts of their body.[42] If the break is bad enough the cat will be killed on or shortly after impact.[42] Briarlight broke her backbone, and as a result, her back legs no longer function and she has no control over her bowel movements.[43] Wildfur also broke his backbone, and since he only sat in his nest all day, he got fluid in his lungs and eventually died from not exercising.[42]

Book Mentions

Chest Infections

Chest infections mentioned in the Warriors books come in three stages; whitecough, greencough and blackcough. Little is known about blackcough; the black may be blood.


Rat-Borne Infections

Loss of Sensory Perception

  • In Bluestar's Prophecy, Whitepaw is blinded in one eye after a fight with a badger.[79]
  • In Into the Wild, One-eye is described as being virtually blind and deaf due to old age.[80]
  • In Fire and Ice, Brokenstar is blinded by Yellowfang as punishment for his deeds.[81]
  • In A Dangerous Path, Snowkit is revealed to be deaf.[23] Although his mother tries to train him to be a warrior, he is taken away by a hawk.[22] Dappletail tells about her own first litter; one of her kits was born deaf, and later it disappeared, thought to be taken by a fox.[82]
  • In Firestar's Quest, Longtail is blinded after a rabbit scratches his eyes.[21]
  • In Leafpool's WishJaykit is revealed to be blind.[83]
  • In Dark River, Rock is mentioned to be blind because of old age.[84]

Joint Aches

  • In Forest of Secrets, Smallear's joints are stiff, and Yellowfang says they are the worst case she has seen in moons.[85]
  • In Midnight, Speckletail complains of aching joints due to damp weather.[86]
  • In The Sight, Mousefur complains of aching joints due to a cold draft.[source?]
  • In The Forgotten Warrior, Sorreltail has stiffness in her hip joints.[87]

Cracked Pads

  • In Forest of Secrets, One-eye has cracked pads from the cold.[88]
  • In Firestar's Quest, Firestar and Sandstorm get sore pads after walking on rocks.[89]
  • In Sunset, Goldenflower complains of cracked pads.[90]
  • In Sunrise, Purdy gets cracked pads from cold weather.[91]


  • In The Darkest Hour, Tigerstar loses all of his nine lives due to a single wound.[92]
  • In Eclipse, Squirrelflight gets a belly wound during the great battle.[41]

Joint Dislocation

Broken Bones

  • In Fire and Ice, Cinderpaw breaks a leg after being hit by a monster.[98]
  • In Dark River, Cinderpaw breaks the same leg Cinderpelt did from falling out of the Sky Oak,[99] but later recovers and earns her name in honor of her strength.[100]
  • In Fading Echoes, Briarlight's backbone is broken after being crushed by a falling tree,[101] but she survives and earns her warrior name.[102]
  • In Fading Echoes, Littlecloud mentions a ShadowClan cat, Wildfur, who also broke his backbone. However, he did not survive, as he got a chest infection.[42]
  • In Battles of the Clans and Cloudstar's Journey, Mousefang breaks her leg while fighting Amberclaw by jumping out of a tree.[103]
  • In Crookedstar's Promise, Crookedkit breaks his jaw after falling off a rock.[104]
  • In The Sun Trail, Jagged Peak breaks a leg after falling out of a tree.[105]
  • In Moth Flight's Vision, Wind Runner breaks her leg in battle.[source?]
  • In Darkest Night, Snowbush breaks his leg after a rockslide occurs in the ThunderClan camp. However, he gets an infection from it, and dies afterwards.[106]


  • Whitecough and greencough are like a cough and pneumonia, respectively.[107]
  • Greencough's original name was blackcough. The name was changed before publishing "Into the Wild", as it was thought that the new name reflected the disease better. Vicky stated that the mention of blackcough by Mothwing was an oversight on their part.[108]

See Also

References and Citations

  1. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 130
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 166-168
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 134-136
  4. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 24
  5. 5.0 5.1 Revealed in Into the Wild, page 144
  6. Revealed in Moonrise, page 163
  7. Revealed in Moth Flight's Vision, page Chapter 17
  8. Revealed in Thunderstar's Echo, chapter 1
  9. Revealed in Thunder and Shadow, chapter 13
  10. Revealed in Thunder and Shadow, chapter 14
  11. Revealed in Thunder and Shadow, chapter 19
  12. Such as Minnowkit and her siblings in Twilight, Revealed on page 172
  13. Revealed in Moonrise, page 250
  14. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 250
  15. Revealed in Sunrise, page 214
  16. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 88
  17. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 68
  18. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 134
  19. Revealed in Yellowfang's Secret, page 260
  20. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 97
  21. 21.0 21.1 Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 30
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 95
  23. 23.0 23.1 Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 81
  24. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 84
  25. 25.0 25.1 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 135
  26. Revealed in Twilight, page 201
  27. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 483
  28. Revealed in Dawn, page 126
  29. revealed in Erin Hunter chat
  30. Revealed in Code of the Clans, pages 68-69
  31. Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 404
  32. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 515
  33. Revealed on Vicky's facebook page
  34. Revealed in Cloudstar's Journey, chapter 4
  35. Revealed in Cloudstar's Journey, chapter 7
  36. Revealed in Ravenpaw's Farewell, page Chapter 10
  37. Revealed in Eclipse, page 230
  38. Revealed in Moonrise, page 279
  39. Revealed in Dark River, page 131
  40. Revealed in Fire and Ice
  41. 41.0 41.1 Revealed in Eclipse
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 168
  43. Revealed in Fading Echoes, pages 173-174
  44. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 227
  45. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 187
  46. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 110
  47. Revealed in Sunset, page 150
  48. Revealed in The Sight, page 7
  49. Revealed in The Sight, page 11
  50. Revealed in The Sight, page 323
  51. Revealed in Long Shadows, page 166
  52. Revealed in Long Shadows, page 239
  53. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 86
  54. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 87
  55. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 42
  56. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 71
  57. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page ThunderClan Medicine Cats
  58. Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 445 and 447
  59. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 262
  60. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 292
  61. Bluefur goes on to become Bluestar, page 497, and Rosepaw receives her warrior name, Rosetail, page 315
  62. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 85
  63. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 294
  64. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 280 and 283
  65. 65.0 65.1 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 113
  66. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 95
  67. Revealed in Moonrise, page 166
  68. Revealed in Moonrise, page 211
  69. Revealed in Starlight, page 171, 196, 249
  70. Revealed in Twilight, page 172
  71. Revealed in Twilight, pages 163, 197, 168, 173, and 219
  72. Revealed in Twilight, page 219
  73. Revealed in Sunrise, pages 212-215 and 220
  74. Revealed in Cats of the Clans, page 46
  75. Revealed in Cats of the Clans, page 2
  76. Revealed in Starlight, page 313
  77. Revealed in Midnight, page 249, 268
  78. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 66
  79. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, allegiances
  80. Revealed in Into the Wild, allegiances
  81. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 268
  82. Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 82
  83. Revealed in The Sight, pages 35-36
  84. Revealed in Dark River, page 3
  85. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 160
  86. Revealed in Midnight, page 209
  87. Revealed in The Forgotten Warrior, page 59
  88. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 45
  89. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 241
  90. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 247
  91. Revealed in Sunrise, page 234
  92. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 234
  93. Revealed in Moonrise, page 277
  94. Revealed in Twilight, page 288
  95. Revealed in Sunset, page 22
  96. Revealed in SkyClan's Destiny, pages 70-77
  97. Revealed in The Apprentice's Quest, page 103
  98. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 183
  99. Revealed in Dark River, page 103
  100. Revealed in Eclipse, pages 317-318
  101. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 174
  102. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 176
  103. Revealed in Cloudstar's Journey, chapter 8
  104. Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 36
  105. Revealed in The Sun Trail
  106. Revealed in Darkest Night, page 261
  107. Revealed in Erin Hunter Chat 3
  108. Revealed on Vicky's Facebook page.

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