[a design of Moth Flight looking at a green moth]

Why The Medicine Cat Rule Isn’t Fair and What I Think Should Be Done About It by Brillig

Art by cookiefennec

Brillig criticizes the medicine cat code – what do you think?

Mod edit: This article missed its schedule, so it’s being published now!

Throughout the entire Warriors series, one ironclad rule, ever since the very beginning, has been medicine cats cannot have mates, all the more so, kits.

The idea seems to make sense at first. After all, medicine cats are supposed to take care of the entire Clan-a big job for anyone. If the medicine cat is distracted by his or her mate/kits, he or she will have a harder time doing that. Also, the medicine cats will naturally pay more attention to their own kits before the rest of the Clan, even if said kits are not as badly injured or sick as other cats, which could put others in danger.

And so, each medicine cat, upon accepting on his-or-herself the privileges and duties of a medicine cat, also accepts to never take a mate and bear kits.

But think about it. Some medicine cats are apprenticed at the normal age of six moons, like Leafpool and Willowshine. Some medicine cats take a little longer to realize that that is what they want to do, and only apprentice to their Clan’s medicine cat several days or weeks later, like Jayfeather and Alderheart. There have been several exceptions, such as Mothwing and Hawkheart, but a new medicine cat apprentice is generally 6-7 moons old.

That means, that at the young age of six or seven moons-how old is that in human years, twelve?-medicine cat apprentices take upon themselves never to take a mate.

Can cats of that age even fully comprehend what they are accepting upon themselves? To be alone for the rest of their lives?

Of course, they’ll have their former mentor, their future apprentice, their parents and siblings, and the rest of the Clan.

But it isn’t the same as a mate who knows you better than anyone, whom you would trust with your life and vice versa, who understands you better than anyone, who raises your kits with you, who grows old with you, StarClan willing.

And that’s without getting into wanting to have children, and being unable to, and watching as you help so many others have children. The longing these medicine cats must feel…

To reiterate, can cats of that age even fully comprehend what they are accepting upon themselves?

No. They can’t.

(Yellowfang is an exception, of course.)

The medicine-cats-can’t-have-kits edict was imposed by StarClan and Moth Flight, who had to choose between being a medicine cat and being a mother.

But should Moth Flight’s case really have set the rule for all subsequent cases for the rest of time?

The Clans were new then. Medicine cats were new then. Moth Flight was young. Her mate had died.

Is it possible that, in different circumstances-if Moth Flight had been more experiences, if Micah had lived- Moth Flight may have been able to handle being a medicine cat and a mother?

Possibly. We’ll never know.

I propose that an addendum be made to the medicine cat code. A medicine cat should be forbidden from taking a mate and having kits until he or she has fully trained an apprentice.

That way, the apprentice can take over the medicine den while the senior medicine cat is spending time with her mate and, later, raising her kits-or, if male, helping his mate raise their kits. Fatherhood is a full-time job as well.

Of course, this wouldn’t really have helped Leafpool, since in her case her apprentice was her son, but still.

Thank you for reading!

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