Class Systems In Warriors by Creekdapple

Creekdapple discusses the different class systems in the series. Spoilers for AVOS!

With different societies of cats, there will come different social structures and divisions within them. Since these are groups of feral cats, we can’t exactly describe them as having “classes”, per se, but we can try looking for equivalent social structures.

The Clans:
The five Clans all have essentially the same “class” system, a hierarchical structure with the Clan leader on top, the deputy and medicine cat second in power, the warriors, who do most of the work in the Clan (though of course anyone else who can helps as well, including the leader, deputy, and the medicine cats, who have a whole different specialization), and other, more temporary positions based on age and ability. Warriors, deputies, leaders, and apprentices do most of the hunting for the Clan; some of their catch is given to those who are mostly unable to catch their own prey, and of course the medicine cats, who contribute in their own important way. The warriors and apprentices eat last, so it could be argued that, despite bearing the weight of their Clan on their shoulders, they are the least important cats in a Clan; however, I don’t see this to be the case, as they are basically in control (external conditions notwithstanding) of what prey they hunt and what they do with the prey they hunt, so some rules must be imposed to ensure that this is not at the expense of those who cannot get their own prey, while they are still in control of their own work.

The Kin:
The group that actually inspired me to make this article was the Kin, because it was the only group where I felt that which “class” you were in had a direct impact on your wellbeing. At the top of the hierarchy are Darktail and his Closest Kin, which are seen, at least by the gorge (though arguably Darktail’s group by the gorge was a bit different than the Kin by the lake), to have first pick of the fresh-kill pile. After that, there’s another “class”, which, while technically having the same opportunity, can be roughly divided into two: the “strong” and the “weak”. These two groups are, by lack of leftover resources and by the social norms of the Kin, pitted against each other for survival, with the stronger cats who are not part of the Closest Kin inevitably at an advantage to the weaker ones, who must either subsist on whatever the others don’t want, or, if there is not enough prey, starve. (Though this wasn’t as much of an issue by the lake, as, with two Clans’ territories under the paws of the Kin, there was more than enough prey for all) When the Kin set up in RiverClan camp, it could be argued that there was a third/fourth “class”, prisoners. I’m not sure whether or not I would say this counts; on one hand, there are significant differences between the treatment of Darktail’s prisoners and the treatment of any of the other “classes”, and prisoner was never a very temporary position in the Kin, but on the other hand, I’m sure there have been many permanent prisoners among humans, and those were never considered a third/fourth class. Anyway…

The guardian cats:
The guardian cats are roughly divided into two different roles: healers and scavengers. However, I’m not sure whether or not these could be considered classes even in the sense that I’m using the word “class”. Healers and scavengers, though somewhat specialized, are not bound to their roles as tightly as, say, medicine cats and warriors are, nor does either specialization as a group have unique power over the resources of their territory; indeed, guardian cats didn’t even have a territory of their own until TIGERHEART came and messed with their ways. I would say, depending on how you look at it, that the guardian cats are either a single “class” (which I think could fit them once they gain exclusive control over a certain territory like TIGERHEART wanted), or they have no “classes” at all.

I was thinking of doing BloodClan and/or the Tribe as well, but I haven’t read about either in a while, and if my memory serves me correctly the “class” system of the Tribe is very similar to the Clans’ “class” system.

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  • An interesting analysis. Frankly, I would order the Clan Classes like this: Leader, Deputy/Medicine Cat, Elders/Kits, Warriors/Queens, Apprentices. Although the warriors and apprentices do much more work than the elders and kits do, food is always sacrificed to the kits first and the elders’ opinions are always valued.
    The analysis of the Kin is quite thoughtful. The Kin’s system set up a way of pitting the subordinates against one another that insured Darktail and his Closest Kin would always be on top, since the weak were starving and the strong were trying to impress the higher-ups.
    All in all, a great article! 🙂

    P.S. If I remember correctly, the Tribe’s system is similar to the Clans, but with the positions of Leader, Deputy, and Medicine Cat all combined into one position, Stoneteller.

  • It was always so unusual to see the clan cats waltz in and claim that their system is the only system that works. When the Tribe was being attacked and didn’t want super defined territory, the Clans forced them into it, when it was made clear that rouges almost never came up the mountain, much less lived there. But when the Clans only did what worked for THEM not for the Tribe. The only person who considered the well-being of the Tribe was Stormfur, who actually suggested nicely that they should confront the enemies. But they banished him because when they attacked, some of their cats died. That was only because the Tribe never had experience fighting OTHER CATS. Like I said before they never got visitors, unless it was the Clan cats, who were peaceful. Their territory is ragged and they have frequent snow storms in the winter. They can’t patrol the area all the time and scent markers hardly work because of the changed in the landscape. I wish the Clan and the Tribe would be treated as equals, because they both have valid points. Instead, the Tribe is seen as the Clan’s lesser know brother who doesn’t know anything, so the Clan has to spoon feed it all to them. This totally contradicts because the Tribe is technically much older than the Clan and therefore should be more experienced. It just feels wrong.

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