Why Everyone is Related to Firestar by Faithpaw

Art by narutofirestar

Faithpaw analyses Firestar’s family tree

A lot of BlogClanners like to point out that Firestar has a lot of relatives. I actually don’t disagree and can explain why this is, but I’d like to point out something first.

Mates aren’t related unless they have parents who are related. So Firestar and Dustpelt aren’t related, because Firestar and Sandstorm don’t have parents who are related. By extension, Firestar and Foxleap aren’t related, Firestar and Icecloud aren’t related, Firestar and Birchfall aren’t related, and etc etc.
This is important because a lot of people like to say things like “Firestar and Greystripe are related! Firestar’s daughter is Squirrelflight whose mate is Bramblestar whose mother is Leopardfoot whose sister is Willowpelt whose kit is Greystripe!”
First, you cannot retroactively make cats related just because their kits mated with each other. It doesn’t work that way; DNA is DNA.
Second, as I said before, mates aren’t related unless they have parents who are related.
So now that we’ve set those ground rules, we can get started.

Firestar is related to a lot of cats because the amount of relatives grows exponentially. An average litter in ThunderClan is three kits. That means the amount of cats related to Firestar in grows a lot every generation. Think about it: every cat who’s in Firestar’s immediate family, excluding Sandstorm, is related to him. Every cat related to one of those cats is related to him. Every cat who’s related to another cat who’s related to another cat who’s related to him is related to him. Every cat who’s related to one of those cats is related to him.
See how fast that grows?
That means the genetic diversity in ThunderClan is pretty low-or it should be, since everyone is now related to each other.
But does that actually matter?
While most cats are related to Firestar, the relation is so distant that only a tiny amount of his DNA is transferred to them. Take Spotfur, for example. Spotfur is Firestar’s great-grandchild. Leafpool has 50% of Firestar’s DNA, Lionblaze has 25%, and Spotfur would have 12.5% of Firestar’s DNA. So her kits with Stemleaf, who is 0% related to Firestar, would have a miniscule 6.25% of Firestar’s DNA-maybe a little more or a little less. At that point, they’re not related to Firestar enough for that tiny amount to even matter.
But what about, say, Sparkpelt? She mated with Larksong, who is related to Firestar. Would her kits have a lot of his DNA?
Actually, no. Squirrelflight has 50% of Firestar’s DNA, and Sparkpelt has 25%. That was pretty easy math. But Larksong’s grandfather is Cloudtail, Firestar’s nephew. Let’s do the math…
Cloudtail is Firestar’s nephew and shares 25% of his DNA with him. His kit Snowbush would have 12.5%. Snowbush’s kit Larksong would have 6.25% of Firestar’s DNA. So Sparkpelt would pass on 6.25% of Firestar’s DNA to her kits and Larksong would pass on 3.125%-again, maybe a little more or less. Add it up, and Flamepaw and Finchpaw have 9.375% of Firestar’s DNA. Is that a lot? Not enough to matter.
It’s important to remember that while Firestar is passing on his DNA from generation to generation, other cats in ThunderClan are as well. So the further away from Firestar you get, the more his DNA is diluted by the other cats in ThunderClan.

If I’ve gotten any of the math wrong, please tell me!

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