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The Warrior Code

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The Warrior Code is a list of sixteen[1] different rules that should be followed by all Clan cats. It is taught from the first means of kithood to when an elder is faced with death. It is said that, as long as the Clans follow the warrior code, no harm shall come to them.[2]


There is a disagreement about the origins of the warrior code. On one hand, Secrets of the Clans states that the rules were invented when the Clans were founded, made up by the leaders Thunder, Shadow, Wind, and River.[3] On the other hand, Code of the Clans states that the rules were developed during a very long timespan, each one invented by different cats after a significant event.[4]

The Warrior Code

The Warrior Code is as follows:[5]

  1. Defend your Clan, even with your life. You may have friendships with cats from other Clans, but your loyalty must remain to your Clan, as one day you may meet them in battle.
  2. Do not hunt or trespass on another Clan's territory.
  3. Elders, queens, and kits must be fed before apprentices and warriors. Unless they have permission, apprentices may not eat until they have hunted to feed the elders. If any warrior or apprentice is sick or injured, they may eat while the elders, queens, and kits are eating.
  4. Prey is killed only to be eaten. Give thanks to StarClan for its life.
  5. A kit must be at least six moons old to become an apprentice.
  6. Newly appointed warriors will keep a silent vigil for one night after receiving their warrior name.
  7. A cat cannot be made deputy without having mentored at least one apprentice.
  8. The deputy will become Clan leader when the leader dies, retires or is exiled.
  9. After the death or retirement of the deputy, the new deputy must be chosen before moonhigh.
  10. A Gathering of all four Clans is held at the full moon during a truce that lasts for the night. There shall be no fighting among Clans at this time.
  11. Boundaries must be checked and marked daily. Challenge all trespassing cats.
  12. No warrior can neglect a kit in pain or danger, even if the kit is from a different Clan.
  13. The word of the Clan Leader is the warrior code.
  14. An honorable warrior does not need to kill other cats to win his/her battles, unless they are outside the warrior code or if it is necessary for self-defense.
  15. A warrior rejects the soft life of a kittypet.
  16. Each Clan has the right to be proud and independent, but in times of trouble they must forget their boundaries and fight side by side to protect the four. Each Clan must help the others so that no Clan will fall.[1]


  • Cats on their way to the Moonstone or Moonpool are allowed to cross other Clans' territories to get to their destination - WindClan grounds on the moorland and ThunderClan grounds by the lake, in the forest.[6]
  • At the lake, cats may travel on other Clans' grounds as long as they are within two fox-lengths of the lake; for instance, to go to a Gathering.[7]
  • Cats may travel on other Clan territories if they have something to report or ask for help.[8]
  • The code is flexible about leadership challenges. Cats may challenge a weak or cruel leader if their Clan is in danger, and if their leadership threatens the Clan, the code expects a warrior to challenge their leader.[9]

Additional Rules

The following rules are not specifically stated in the warrior code, but are expected to be followed:

  • Medicine cats may not have a mate or kits.[10]
  • Kits must stay in camp until they are apprenticed,[11] and are not allowed to hunt.[12]
  • The safety of the Clan is more important than the safety of one cat.[13]
  • Clans must not unite together to drive out another Clan.[14]
  • Clans must not force another Clan to share territory.[15]
  • Enemy patrols must not attack cats if they are on a mission all four Clans agree on.[16]
  • Cats cannot eat when going to the Moonstone or Moonpool to speak with StarClan.

Rejected Codes

Throughout history, several other rules were proposed for introduction into the Warrior Code, however, they were turned down.[17][18] These rules were:

Breaking the Warrior Code

The rules are often broken. All of the Clans break the rules many times, although ThunderClan is the Clan whose cats question and debate the Code the most. Every rule has been broken at least once.

Examples of Breaking the Warrior Code

  • Rule 1 was broken by Graystripe when he was torn between his loyalties to ThunderClan and RiverClan due to his love relationship with Silverstream, and refused to fight her.[20] This rule was also broken by Bluefur when she fell in love with Oakheart, and refused to battle him when he was attacked by Thistleclaw.[21] It was also broken by any cat who joined the Dark Forest. This was broken by Fallowtail and Reedfeather when they gave birth to Graypool and Willowbreeze.[22]
  • Rule 2 is one of the most frequently broken, with many Clans crossing boundaries to catch prey or apprentices not acknowledging the boundaries.[23]
  • Rule 3 was broken by Firepaw when catching prey for Yellowfang after she was exiled from ShadowClan.[24] It was also broken by Longtail and Darkstripe, who ate prey on a hunting patrol instead of bringing it back to the elders and kits.[25] It is rumored by Graypaw that Sandpaw and Dustpaw did this every so often.[26]
  • Rule 4 was broken by Tigerstar and his warriors when he killed prey only to raise a hill of bones.[27]
  • Rule 5 was broken by Brokenstar of ShadowClan, when he forced kits to become apprentices before they were old enough. He also trained them too hard, killing some of them. Some were made warriors before they were even six moons old.[28] This rule was also broken when Bluestar apprenticed Cinderpaw and Brackenpaw before they were six moons old.[29]
  • Rule 6 was broken when Squirrelflight was named a warrior, but did not sit vigil, as ThunderClan did not yet have a camp. This comes into conflict with her story in Code of the Clans, where she gives vigil tips and shares experiences from her own vigil.[30]
  • Rule 7 was broken by Firestar when he appointed Brambleclaw as deputy because he had no apprentice, even though he was going to mentor Berrykit when he became six moons.[31] This rule was also broken when Hawkfrost was appointed temporarily as deputy, since he hadn't mentored an apprentice.[32]
  • Rule 8 was broken by Tallstar when he appointed Onewhisker leader, even though Mudclaw was still deputy.[33]
  • Rule 9 was broken by Bluestar when she waited for too long to name a new deputy, and when Firestar refused to name a deputy when Graystripe disappeared.[34]
  • Rule 10 was broken by all Clans when they fought numerous times at Gatherings.[35]
  • Rule 11 was broken by ShadowClan when they stopped believing in StarClan and stopped patrolling their borders.[36]
  • Rule 12 was broken by Russetfur and her patrol, watching Berrykit struggle with his tail caught in a fox trap, and making no move to help him.[37] Also done by Tigerstar when he was an apprentice and tried to kill Scourge while he was a kit named Tiny.[38]
  • Rule 13 was broken by Fireheart when he refused to attack WindClan when Bluestar planned an attack.[39]
  • Rule 14 was broken by Brokenstar, Hawkheart, Tigerstar, Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Clawface when they killed cats to win their own battles.[40]
  • Rule 15 was broken by Cloudpaw when he took food from Twolegs[41] and by SkyClan's daylight warriors because they live with Twolegs at night. Also by Pinestar when he left Clan life to be a kittypet.[42]
  • The rule about medicine cats being forbidden to have a mate and kits was broken by both Leafpool and Yellowfang.[43]


The Clan Leader may choose to punish cats who broke the Warrior Code. These include scolding, giving a warrior apprentice duties, or giving an apprentice an unpleasant task (like when Bluestar put Firepaw in charge of taking care of Yellowfang for feeding her).[44] In severe cases, the cat may be exiled from the Clan; such as Leopardstar exiling Graystripe, Firestar exiling Darkstripe, or Bluestar exiling Tigerclaw.[45]

Cats who would murder for no reason or caused much pain to other cats for no reason would go to the Place of No Stars instead of StarClan (Tigerstar,[46] Hawkfrost,[47] Darkstripe,[48] etc.).[47]

See Also

References and Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 Revealed in Bramblestar's Storm, chapter 35
  2. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 32
  3. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 6
  4. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 10
  5. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 7-8
  6. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 168
  7. Revealed in Twilight, page 85
  8. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 203
  9. Revealed on Kate's blog
  10. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 131
  11. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 12
  12. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 293
  13. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 202
  14. Revealed in Fire and Ice, pages 299-300
  15. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 26
  16. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 245
  17. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 73
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 155
  19. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 154
  20. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 309
  21. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 458
  22. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 290
  23. Revealed in Eclipse, page 68
  24. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 86
  25. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 40
  26. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 74
  27. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 197
  28. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 55
  29. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 93
  30. Revealed in Starlight, page 30
  31. Revealed in Sunset, page 256
  32. Revealed in Dawn, page 80
  33. Revealed in Starlight, page 119
  34. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 296
  35. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 97
  36. Revealed in Long Shadows, page 9
  37. Revealed in Sunset, page 115
  38. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, pages 400-401
  39. Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 162
  40. Revealed in Sunrise, page 310
  41. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 134
  42. Revealed in SkyClan's Destiny, page 390
  43. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 67
  44. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 100
  45. Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 192
  46. Revealed in Starlight, page 208
  47. 47.0 47.1 Revealed in The Sight, page 227
  48. Revealed in Sunset, page 2

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