Otterwhisker discuses Longtail’s fate after his life-changing injury.
Despite Longtail being a bully to Firepaw (which, to be fair, a lot of cats were.) I don’t think he was ever truly a villain. I think his relationship to Tigerclaw was one of a young warrior’s admiration, I don’t think he was aware of any nefarious schemes and I believe he was somewhat of a naive cat.
I feel Longtail was really cheated out of his life. He was definitely not my favourite to begin with due to his treatment of Firepaw/heart, but I think he started to show real development and maturity when he rescued Fireheart from drowning.
Then, to later stand up to Tigerclaw when he’s being exiled and turn down his offer to join him demonstrated real courage and an awareness of what clan loyalty means, as opposed to loyalty to a single cat. He was also well aware at the time of how powerful and dangerous Tigerclaw was, yet he still chose to reject him. He’d stopped listening to Darkstripe and Tigerclaw at that point and proved he had really become his own cat.
So I feel Longtail’s subsequent blindness and role in the book was really underwhelming. Especially considering Cinderpelt and Brightheart were treated better with their own disabilities – both were allowed to be of service to their clan.
In reality, cats who are blind can still hunt very well. As long as they still have whiskers and their nose, the brain will compensate for the loss of one sense, and develop the others, same with humans.
In fact, a cat who loses their vision shouldn’t have such a hard time with it compared to a human, because of how reliant cats are on their scent and hearing, as well as using their whiskers for orientation and judging spaces.
I also think he should still have been allowed to stand beside Fernpaw when she became a warrior, along with Dustpelt, (since he would have needed to help teach Fernpaw to fight.) It should have been a kind of shared mentorship.
He literally just got shoved into the elders den without any debate or consideration for what he was still capable of doing, and in my opinion, that was really cruel! That must have been really depressing – to not only lose his vision, but get isolated from his fellow warriors, stripped of his pride and probably made to feel worthless and a burden (Longtail didn’t feel worth taking along on the journey to the new territory – that’s kinda sad, it’s not like he was on his last legs).
He could have hunted (probably located prey much quicker than the others) helped the medicine cats find herbs, done guard duty (smelling or hearing any approaching cat easily whilst everyone else was asleep) and helped out when their was an apprentice shortage for jobs like bedding changes. Even if he couldn’t go and fight, he probably still could have given a nasty swipe in defending the elders/kits when ThunderClan’s camp got invaded.
I believe that Longtail still deserved to be a ‘warrior’ and his character should have been put to much more use than he got.