Chapter 1: Foreword.
When it comes to naming fancharacters in Warriors, we are all wrong. No set of rules can be right, regardless of how reasonable or logical they may seem. The only people who can be correct about this stuff are those who write collaboratively under the pseudonym Erin Hunter. It is they who decide what is canon, and all rule systems are pretty much fanmade and therefore, not canon at all.
With this said, Erin Hunter herself/themselves/whatever said they weren’t particularly fastidious about how their own set of canon rules were made. Tigerclaw was named Hammerclaw for quite a while before someone pointed out that clan cats would not even know what a hammer was.
Furthermore, any particular structures and patterns - besides the traditional suffixes of -kit, -paw and -star - have been progressively altered as the arcs continue. The names of cats resemble the original cast less and less, with new prefixes and suffixes being continually invented.
For some, this is great. They can use whatever they want - and being honest here, names like Windwhisper, Steelstripe and Ambersong definitely do have some kind of acoustic charm to them - and have a name that no one else in the world has (probably).
But for some, the lack of consistency is a constant headache. I’m sure there are people out there, like myself, that need rules in order to enjoy certain things (as odd as that may be for others to understand). It is for these people that I dedicate this naming guide. While the prior kind of people are just as valid fans of the series, I will be focusing on providing a practical and hopefully enlightening view into my guidelines for a successful Warriors name and character. It might be fun for others to have a look as well, I don’t know.
Not that I am an expert on the subject of Warriors; I don’t know how one goes about being that. I am just an interested party, and maybe, if enough people in the fandom actually live and let live and have a little empathy for others’ opinions, there will be a lot fewer flamewars about stupid things.
Thank you for reading.
Chapter 2: The Triskaidecalogue.
Here are the thirteen rules (or commandments, if you want) that I have found to be an infallible guide when trying to create Warriors names.
The Eight Edicts of the Prefix;
i. Thou shalt choose a prefix that is appearance-related only.
ii. Thou shalt name thy cat for his or her most obvious characteristic.
iii. Thou shalt not name thy cat due to special circumstances at its birth.
iv. Thou shalt be specific to appearance and abstain from a prefix that is vague or inaccurate.
v. Thou shalt also abstain from naming due to eye colour.
vi. Thou shalt name thy cat with a prefix familiar to cats and found in the natural environment.
vii. Thou shalt not choose a prefix that is derogatory in any way, regardless of situation.
viii. Thou shalt abstain from giving a prefix that is considered sacred.
The Five Acts for Suffix Addition;
i. Thou shalt choose to name thy cat with a suffix that appropriately addresses his or her most obvious trait, be it ability, personality or appearance.
ii. Thou shalt not designate a suffix that is derogatory in any way.
iii. Thou shalt be aware of, and apply, the laws of irregular use.
iv. Thou shalt not be overly symbolic with thy suffix.
v. Thou shalt abstain from prolixity with thy suffix.
Chapter 3: Prefix - i. Appearance only.
Unlike the suffix, which changes as the cat matures, the prefix is expected to be eternal. The exception to this is, of course, name-changes, where the prefix is changed to better illustrate the most notable characteristic of the character (see ii. Obvious features). Name-changes are often due to highly unpleasant circumstances that have befallen the cat, and not all that common either, it seems. In Thunderclan, circa 'Into the Wild', there are only two cats that have had name-changes, both of them quite elderly - Halftail and One-eye.
But I think I have digressed a little. The prefix is given to the kitten at birth - perhaps not straightaway, but shortly after. At that age, there is very little difference between kittens - pretty much they're all stumpy, round, squeaking fuzzballs. About the only way to tell them apart - with the exception of extreme sizes, such as an undersized runt or an enormously chubby kitten - is by their fur colour. For this reason, it makes sense for the prefix to represent the pelt of the cat, and that appears to be how Erin Hunter has structured Warriors (for the most part).
To name a few canon characters - Tigerclaw (big dark brown tabby), Dappletail (once-pretty tortoiseshell), Nightpelt (black), Goldenflower (pale ginger) - there is a notable trend among them. Whether a reference to a time of day, animal, pelt type, colour or other, the prefix is directly linked to the pelt of the cat - by colour or pattern. Littlecloud is an exception to this trend, but as he is described as being "very small", there is no reason to suggest that the prefix is unsubstantiated.
This allocation of prefixes is probably the most obvious "rule" of Warriors.
However, even in the very first book of the first series, there is some kind of discrepancy. Runningwind - described as a swift tabby tom.
I don't know if any of you have been lucky enough to see little newborn kittens, but running is definitely a thing they don't do. Likewise, they don't pounce (Pouncetail, ginger-and-white Riverclan tom, first seen in 'Outcast') or any other kind of effervescent action. It seems to be an unfounded prefix and doesn't actually describe the appearance of the cat. It is a transient trait as well - pregnant queens are unlikely to "pounce" and elders surely won't - so it doesn't really fulfill the criteria as an eternal feature of the character.
For this reason, it makes much more sense to use only the pelt or size of the cat as the prefix, as that is highly unlikely to change during its lifetime. Furthermore, it makes the cat recognisable from a distance. Any cat with the prefix night- will be black, and so, in an enemy clan, it isn't particularly difficult to distinguish who is who at a glance.
Chapter 4: Prefix - ii. Most obvious feature.
As previously mentioned about the only notable difference between them is their pelt colour. Thus, this should be the focus of the prefix.
There is an exception to this, though - when a particular body part of the cat (such as its tail) is a strikingly different and unexpected colour to the rest of it. Blackfoot, Shadowclan deputy, first seen in 'Into the Wild', is a prime candidate for this. He is described as a large white tom with huge jet-black paws. Likewise Redtail, Thunderclan's deputy in the same book, is described as a small tortoiseshell tom with a distinctive ginger tail.
The question is, how does one decide what is "distinctive" enough to be referenced by the prefix? This is how I see it:
There is a litter of three kits, a black-and-white kitten, a black kitten with white paws and a white kitten with black paws.
The first kitten should be named for its patched nature, as that in itself is unusual enough to warrant attention. To name it for the individual colours (such as black- or white-) is not accurate since the cat has both colours in approximately equal amounts.
The second kitten, on the other hand, could be named for its dark colour, as black is the overwhelmingly dominant colour of its pelt. White feet are a considerably common trait among cats, and so, it is not significant enough to be in the prefix. When picking a prefix, the most obvious and predominant colour (or pattern) of the pelt should always be chosen.
The third kitten, however, is the exception. It is pure white all over, except for its paws, which are black. This is highly unusual (actually, I am yet to find evidence of this existing outside of Warriors, so I plan to dedicate a later post to address choices of appearance), so it is worthwhile referencing in the prefix. For this example, the kitten will be called Blackkit. The catch to naming a kit for such a specific feature, rather than their general appearance, means that the suffix is already chosen for them - in this instance, the kitten is destined to be Blackfoot, no questions asked. If the white kitten's tail was black, the kitten would be Blacktail, and so on.
This will be explained further in the suffix section.
Chapter 5: Prefix - iii. Special circumstances.
To put it simply, there aren't any.
If you've read the two previous rules, you probably have some inkling that the prefix is somehow correlating to the physical appearance of the cat. Therefore, naming a kitten because of something it did at its birth - like jump around (which doesn't happen with newborn kits), shiver (which is just a natural response to cold), or anything similar - is just kind of silly.
There are canon instances of this type of naming, such as Sneezepaw, a Riverclan apprentice in the third arc, and Runningbrook from Windclan.
Sneezepaw is described as a grey-and-white cat, but sneeze- doesn't reflect this. I don't know what colour a sneeze is - technically, it's an invisible and ephemeral response to stimulus, but I guess you could argue that's it's the colour of boogers? Moving on. Presumably, this particular kitten sneezed when it was young and its mother (Greymist) thought it was the most adorable thing and named her kitten after this action. All kittens sneeze at some point, I'm sure, and they're all adorable, particularly when they sneeze. (Maybe I'm just basing this assumption on baby Pandas). Either way, these are not good reasons for a prefix. I am sorry, Greymist.
You have failed as a parent. Look at your life. Look at your choices.
If the kitten did something truly miraculous at its birth, such as a triple backflip or healing the blind, then that's still no reason not to reference what the cat looks like. No one is going to recognise Somersaultface from a distance, and what happens when he is old and decrepit - can he still show his brilliant acrobatic skills? I doubt it, but he'll probably still be brown-and-white.
Chapter 6: Prefix - iv. Specifics and stuff.
So, if the cat is to be named for appearance unequivocally, how do we know when the names we choose are too indistinct to work to their full potential? There's an easy way to check, follow these steps.
1. Close your eyes.
2. Think of the prefix, and note what colour or trait connotations instantly spring to mind.
For example, think of night-. I'm quite sure most people would see just pure, perfect black, possibly with stars? Apply that to the character - a jet-black cat. This can be done with any prefix, but the best prefixes to use are those that give consistent results. Since this post seems to be all about activities, or something, here's another one you can do, but you'll need a few volunteers (or hapless friends that are too slow to escape).
Take your prefix, no suffix attached, and tell your friends/volunteers/victims the word, whether it be daisy- or golden- or what have you. Ask them, separately, what the first colour or colours they imagined were. Most Warriors prefixes will probably yield similar results. If three people or so have the same vision of the prefix, you're onto a good one.
But just as there are good ones, there are some that should really be avoided. There's a lot, so I will just cover the general categories that tend to be reliably inaccurate with their connotations.
Certain types of animals:
The prefix wolf- is notorious for this. Wolf pelts can range from grey to brown to black, and even white. As such, there is no clear image of a cat when it is called Wolfkit. It could be any of these colours - you might as well name it Catkit for all the description the prefix gives.
Gender or age of animals: It recently came to my attention that in Crookedstar's Promise, there was a Vixenpaw. To the best of my knowledge, there is no significant difference between male and female foxes in appearance, and therefore, this name doesn't say anything more than fox- does. The question must be asked, why the differentiation in prefix? I have absolutely no answer.
Sometimes, there is confusion about the prefix fawn- as well. Deer- is a perfectly valid fauna prefix, but fawn- actually references the colour (a light brown/beige). To have fawn- represent a young deer encourages the use of gosling-, cub-, chick-, owlet- and any other baby animal that can be imagined. Most of these are pretty vague at best, as they do not specifically note a species of said baby, and between species young can look vastly different in size and colour.
A stream can change dramatically, from a clear trickle to a brown flood, just as the sky changes a hundred times a day - from rose-coloured dawn to bright blue, dull overcast grey to stormy black and purple. The wind, other than being supposedly sacred to Windclan, is invisible and so has no visual connotations whatsoever. There is a Marshkit in The New Prophecy, but his colour is never determined. When I think of marshes, I see hazy green.
What do you think of? I bet there'll be a lot of divergence of opinions. For this reason, I don't advise using anything in the landscape, as it is so changeable~
--oh dear, James Moriarty--
Generally ambiguous prefixes:
Feather- is a prime candidate for this. It's a very popular prefix, no doubt due to Feathertail (who was a silver-grey tabby). However, feathers do not have a specific colour. They can come from any bird - be it crow or robin. You don't call a cat Furpelt, because it has reddish fur like a fox, do you? Well, I hope not.
Petal- is another, for the same reason. In the books, there is a Riverclan she-cat called Petalfur, who is grey-and-white. Petals, however, can come from any flower, not just grey-and-white plants (now I am inordinately curious as to which flower her namesake came from from).
This is probably more being pedantic than anything else, but I would like to draw your attention to how many times the prefix scarlet- has been used in the series.
The answer is none. Not once. In place of scarlet-, red- is always used. There is no crimson- either. Long story short, the most basic colour form is chosen, and this is the prefix that is given. It makes sense, when you think about it. Why would cats have a dozen synonyms for one colour? For this, I suggest keeping colour prefixes plain and simple.
Chapter 7: Prefix - v. Eyes.
The first reason for not using eye colour in the prefix is common sense. Compared to the rest of its body, the eyes are not particularly large - even in the Singapura, who is well-known for its owlish eyes. I know people who don't know their cat's eye colour, particularly as eyes have a tendency to change in different lights. Personally, my eyes can appear either blue, green or hazel on any given day, even though they are naturally green.
The next reason is biological. Ordinarily, kittens are born with their eyes closed. Longhaired kittens tend to take a little longer to open their eyes, but this isn't always the case. According to Wikipedia, "kittens open their eyes about seven to ten days after birth". To be fair, Wiki isn't always reliable, so I double-checked a few other sources. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Cats, Cat Breeds and Cat Care says that kittens under a week old are blind and primarily deaf, and by three weeks they are open-eyed with improving mobility. As well as this, the books I read said that kittens have blue (or rather, a blue-grey) eye colour for a few weeks after their eyes open. The Nature Library: Cats, by Yvonne Rees, says that "eye colour changes at about eight weeks".
So, don't name the kitten after its eyes. They're either closed or blue - though, I'm sure there are people out there who will say "my cat's kittens were born with their eyes open and amber" and this might be true, I don't know. The point is, so what? To me, even bi-coloured eyes come second to pelt colour, but I guess I'm old-fashioned, or something.
There was a Riverclan she-cat in Forest of Secrets who was never actually described. Her name was Greenflower, so presumably her eyes were green - or she was a green cat. She also vanished at some point with no warning and no one ever remembered her again. This is less of a point, and more just interesting Warriors trivia...
Chapter 8: Prefix - vi. Keepin' it real.
A cat is a cat is a cat. As obvious as this appears, some people forget that, being cats, characters in Warriors would be unfamiliar with human things that are part of our everyday language. As a result, sometimes prefixes that would be impossible are chosen.
Slate is a metamorphic rock, formed by clay or volcanic ash subjected to pressure and extreme heat, and often composed of quartz, hematite, pyrite, illite or muscovite, as well as other types of rock.
Now, I didn’t know this until I researched it, and if you showed me a piece of slate, and a piece of something else, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between which is which, most likely. You probably would either - unless you’re into geology, at which point, I say “Geology rocks!”, gives you a hi-five and then sits in the naughty corner because of my terrible pun.
If we, as clever as we are, cannot easily tell the difference between types of rock, why would cats have any more luck, or more importantly, interest? What good is a rock to a cat, besides something to sleep on or hide behind? And yet, I have seen cats with the names Slateheart and Granitecloud, and others beside. Keep it simple, is the best advice, and keep it true to life.
Likewise, there some things that cats wouldn’t know of because of location. Ebony, for instance, is usually used to describe any dense dark-coloured wood. The true species of ebony grow in western Africa, southern India and Sri Lanka and Indonesia. If your cat does not live in these areas, they will not know what ebony is. It is not actually synonymous with black, and even if it was, you would use black-.
Warriors originally is set in England, or a place based closely on England, though in later books, North American influences are included, such as the Cougar/Puma that acts as an antagonist in the second arc. It is important to consider where your cats and clan is situated to avoid any kind of embarrassing mistakes.
Chapter 9: Prefix - vii. Derogatory names.
Just don't. Please.
Every kitten has a mother, and no mother hates its young. There are instances where mothers will abandon kittens because they are born deficient or ill, and they often die shortly after. So, if you cat has named its kits for this reason, you're not going to have the kits around for very long.
So what are the common prefixes that could be considered derogatory?
If you're a Warriors fan, you know that dirt is just the cat term for feces. Don't ever call a kit dirt- anything, or even derivatives of that, such as earth-, soil-, so on. It's offensive; Graystripe once called Darkstripe "Dirtstripe" as a massive insult. No one would respect a queen who did that.
The next option that some people use is blood-. It's really not as glamorous as everyone is led to believe by vampires and alike. It consists mainly of plasma, interstitial fluid, white- and red-blood cells with the purpose of transporting chemicals, gases, nutrients and waste around the body. See? Already it sound at least eleven times less cool. Not to mention, a queen who has just given birth or had given birth recently is hardly likely to want to name her precious kit after something so messy and unpleasant. This goes for all bodily liquids, in case you get any ideas. Saliva- is transparent, and urine- is just a bad plan all over.
The last big "no" when it comes to being sensitive and appropriate is death and anything of this nature. That is a horrible thought for any mother, whether its a cat or a human, and not to mention its a concept, not an appearance. Decay, killing, loss or any other emotion is not to be used for a prefix. Bone- is not advised either, because it has connotations of this.
I know, sometimes these things sound "badass" or "cool" or whatever, but thing before you make a decision. If you had a kid, would you honestly name it something horrible?
If your answer is yes, seek psychological help.
Chapter 10: Prefix - viii. Sacred and forbidden.
Star, or rather -star, is the Leader’s suffix without exception. Everyone knows this. For that reason, it is sacred to that role and to Starclan. Use your common sense; not the prefix. If you do, and your cat becomes the leader, their name will be Starstar.
The moon is also sacred, as it is the bridge between Starclan and the cats through vectors such as the Moonstone and Moonpool. The sun, as another celestial mass, is also not to be used in a prefix. Your cat is really not that special, I’m sorry.
With this said, there was both a Sunstar (the leader previous to Bluestar) who is described as a bright ginger tom with yellow tabby stripes, and a Moonflower, who is a silver-grey tabby and mother of Bluestar. However, at one point Erin Hunter had attempted to change the name to Duskflower, because by using “the prefix ‘Moon-‘, it would imply that a particular cat had more beauty and significance than its Clanmates”. In a clan, this is a bad thing. Clanlife is based on cooperation for the betterment of all.
Another few names that could be considered canonically sacred are the names of the four original founders of the clans. Godric Gryffindor. Helga Hufflepuff. Rowena Ravenclaw. And Salazaar Slytherin.
(I am so sorry.)
Actually, they are Thunder, River, Wind and Shadow, each of whom lent their name to their clan. No prefix of any of these has appeared in the series. It could be implied that the names are not to be used, i) because of their historical significance, ii) because it would be awkward being Riverstar of Riverclan or something like that, and iii) because thunder and wind are invisible forces and a river is an ever-changing element of landscape. The only one that could work is shadow-, although this is not advised for characters that exist within the canon Warriors world. If the clans have alternate names, there is no reason not to use it, though.
And with that, the Eight Edicts of the Prefix are complete.
Chapter 11: Suffix: i. Most Obvious Trait.
It’s common knowledge among Warriors fans that every suffix has certain significance, and can refer to the talents and abilities, personality and even appearance of the cat in question. Everyone has their own connotations of each suffix - for those unfamiliar with the term, a connotation is the implied imagery or thoughts that a word invokes. For example, fire can have connotations of warmth and comfort for one person and connotations of destruction for another.
For the cats of the clans, receiving a “warrior name”, complete with suffix, is the highlight of their young life. It is expected to be eternal - not everyone can become leader; it is an honour, not a certainty. Name-changes are invariably negative, so no one would be hoping for one of them in their lifetime. Because of this, it is important to pick an appropriate suffix for every character. In-world, bad suffixes would dishonour the clan and imply an incompetent leader.
So, how do we choose the right suffixes?
Firstly, the suffix must represent one of the following characteristics: the cat’s useful skills, the cat’s notable temperament or the cat’s distinctive appearance, and in this order. The talents of the cat are more valuable than whether or not they are a bit of a wet blanket at gatherings. If the cat has no exceptional skills (that is to say, they are average or below-average in all aspects of being a warrior), their personality may be taken into consideration. They may be especially charismatic or incredibly patient and considerate. By this point, every cat should be eligible for a suffix.
However, in unusual cases, certain appearances are worth noting. Cats such as Blackfoot and Redtail (see Prefix: ii.) where a particular body part is drastically different to the rest of them. Their suffix should reflect this.
Warriors spend every day hunting, fighting and risking their lives so that they, and their family and friends, can survive. Every cat should be an asset to their clan in some way or else they are dead-weight. For this reason, ability is more important than anything else. A “nice” cat is nothing much when compared to a cat talented in combat.
If you cat is a great hunter, don’t name it for its personality.
If your cat is highly unusual in appearance, it is obligated by its prefix to have the corresponding suffix.
Personality-based suffixes are for cats that are not exceptional in any area.
Chapter 12: Suffix: ii. Belittling Names And How To Avoid Them.
Just like prefixes, there are suffixes that can be considered disparaging of the cat. However, they tend to be more subtle than the prefix counterparts. Some people don’t even see these suffixes as an issue and will choose to use them regardless, which is okay too. This is just my interpretation, after all.
In this context, a derogatory suffix that highlights the cat’s weakest points or even outright states his or her worst attributes. Even a name that draws attention to the cat’s most irrelevant traits could be seen as insulting, as it suggests that the cat has no other talents.
The suffix should address the cat’s best feature/s, so any name that doesn’t needs some serious reconsidering.
The two most common suffixes that fall into this category are the ever-popular -fire and -frost, the latter made famous by Hawkfrost, a deuteragonist who first appears in ‘Midnight’. While many think of these names as perfectly suitable suffixes, I think the negative aspects overwhelm the positive connotations.
-fire; while this name can imply a brave, warm-hearted cat, it also has strong connotations of being hot-headed, impatient, brash and reckless. In context, fire is actually a very real threat to the well-being of the clans - particularly those that live in heavily forested areas - so it is not to be treated lightly. A cat with this kind of personality would probably be more trouble than he or she was worth; imagine being known for the fact you ran headlong into danger all the time, without thinking of the consequences. Other than being embarrassed frequently, you would also probably be dead.
-frost; the common reason given for this name is that the cat is “solitary, aloof and calculating of mind”, in short, a “frosty” personality. Aspects of this are great - a cat that can keep their cool no matter what’s going on, and has plans within plans for every possible scenario; any clan would value that. But think about the rest of the implications. To be desperately solitary, as well as hostile and dismissive of others - this cat shouldn’t be in a clan. Clans work on team-based activities, trust and camaraderie. Furthermore, there are distinctly sinister undertones of “calculating of mind” - how can you trust a cat that keeps secrets from his or her leader? If anyone disagrees with this, could I please remind you that the first cat to have -frost was Hawkfrost? Enough said, I think.
To be fair, every suffix has positive and negative connotations; -heart doesn’t mean the cat does what is unequivocally right - it means the cat does what he or she thinks is right, which is entirely different. The key is to pick a name that is more positive than negative.
I will be publishing a list of suffixes shortly, complete with all known connotations, for those that have difficulty remembering them all.
Chapter 13: Suffix: iii. Irregular Use.
I have noticed two main ways of rating Warriors names; two-part names where the prefix describes the appearance and the suffix describes the skills, or a cooperative name where the suffix is elaborated by the prefix.
Two-part: Foxheart - a ginger cat who is courageous and outspoken in his or her beliefs.
Cooperative: Foxheart - a ginger cat who is cunning and aggressive. Thus, this name suggests this cat has the heart of a fox.
In most traditional names, the two-part system is preferred and used, simply because it produces more consistent, accurate results. There are instances when cooperative names are used in Warriors, mainly for name-changes. This sudden switch from two-part to cooperative is called ‘Irregular Use’, and that is what this post will be explaining.
Some suffixes have two meanings depending on the situation. The common examples of this are -foot, -tail and -face. Ordinarily, they would represent a skill/trait of the cat, such as exceptionally good balance. However, when in irregular use, they mean the literal paw or paws, tail or face of the character. This is what is alluded to in Prefix: i.
For the suffix to be irregular, the kitten must be named for one body part only, rather than its general appearance - review Redtail, Blackfoot and Brokentail. As soon as such a particular prefix is given, the suffix is already decided in order to keep the prefix accurate. If a white kitten is born with a grey face and is named Greykit, his name will automatically be Greyface when he becomes a warrior.
Name-changes always function by irregular use. The uncommon examples of irregular suffixes are -eye, -ear and -jaw. These are almost invariably for name-changes only, with the singular exception of Smallear of ThunderClan, arc one. He is described as a grey tom with “very small ears”, and presumably he was born this way. (This is the same as Brokentail, also known as Brokenstar, as his tail was disfigured at birth.) Other than the case of Smallear, there is no reason why a kit should be named for their ears, eyes or jaw.
Notable name-changes include: Crookedjaw (Crookedstar), Tornear, Halftail, One-eye, Lostface, Deadfoot and Brokentail (Brokenstar).
Presumably, Clawface is a name-change; he is described as a “battle-scarred brown tom”, and -claw- is naturally a suffix, not a prefix. In this context, claw- probably refers to the fact he is severely scarred - by other cats’ claws - and particularly on his face, though this is not explicitly mentioned.
The two names that are questionable are Yellowfang and Runningnose.
Runningnose is a small grey-and-white tom, and as previously explained, running- is not a reasonable prefix. However, he is frequently referenced due to his ironic inability to cure his own cold, despite being a medicine cat. I can only put this name down to Erin being a massive troll, because a) I know it says he always has a cold, but seriously, no one always has a cold. To have a cold constantly is probably a really, really bad thing, especially in a feral cat, where life is hard enough already, so therefore, this is an ephemeral trait and b) it’s not a distinctly apparent trait. Yes, his nose is a little crusted all the time, but who can see that from a distance? This name breaks all the rules of traditionalism - all of them - so I suggest not using it as a base for any of your characters.
As for Yellowfang, she is dark grey. It is never mentioned if she was every given a name-rate, but logic states she must have; she is not golden or ginger in colour, and never has been. Regardless of this, her name still follows the laws of irregular use - it suggests she has very bad dentistry. She is described as having awful breath at some point, so I don’t know if that’s some kind of subtle name-shadowing? My point is, how often do you see a cat’s teeth? Seriously? Like never. I have a couple of cats of my own, and unless they’re yawning or biting me, no teeth. This name doesn’t describe the most obvious trait of the cat, and so should be avoided.
For irregular suffixes, there are three common options (-foot, -tail, -face) and three uncommon options (-eye, -ear, -jaw). These must be used in conjunction with a colour or body-related prefix.
There is one other suffix that requires irregular use, and that is -step. It will be explained when I construct a list of suffixes.
Chapter 14: Suffix: iv. Simple And Sweet.
The names are the names that speak for themselves. They require no extra explanation to make sense and they describe the cat with little room for misinterpretation.
From my experience, I have noted three different types of suffixes. The first is the physical suffix, which is a suffix of a body part - such as -foot or -claw. These are always accepted in name-rates and role plays; I have yet to see someone turn down a Redfur or Blacktail.
The second kind of suffix is the emblematic suffix, which includes names such as -cloud, -flower and so on. These are not physically a part of any cat, and therefore do not represent a skill. They represent a state of being or temperament type; though, sometimes certain personalities tend to be more talented at certain activities. These names tend to be slightly more inclined to interpretation, and some Warriors fans will disagree with their usage. Personally, I think if they can be validated, properly, then there is no reason not to use them.
The last kind is the abstract suffix. These are, essentially, any of those that do not fit into the above categories, such as -shine or -leap. They are neither a body part, nor a suffix indicative of personality. By and large, I have yet to find a successful suffix of this nature.
My advice is to stick with suffixes that leave short, sharp imagery of the character you have in mind. If you need to elaborate on why a cat has a particular name, it is probably not doing its job of distinguishing the cat with ease and efficiency.
Chapter 15: Suffix: v. Not Too Complicated.
Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous." – William Safire.
This is a good rule to follow in just about everything. It is said that the greatest writer is he or she would says the most by writing the least - something I haven’t yet gotten the hang of. Even Mary Poppins has two cents to add: “Enough is as good as a feast”.
For Warriors, this boils down to a simple concept. If a suffix exists that says what you want to about your cat, use it. Do not go inventing another one. That’s just silly. Logically, these are cats - how many synonyms do they really need? Fair enough, this isn’t real, and there’s a lot of things in Warriors that would never happen, but the logic still stands.
The suffix -wing is a body part, but not one traditionally found on a cat. According to most users of the suffix, it means a “highly agile” character, often good at climbing, jumping and catching birds. This is essentially what -tail means as well, and as a tail is a body part native to a cat, and a wing is not, it is better to use -tail.
Some people would argue that by having a more unusual suffix makes their cat more original. This is probably true but there is such a thing as going too far. Furthermore, the traditions of the clans have been going for a while - there’s nothing wrong with having an “ordinary” name. The clan doesn’t survive of the talents of one, but the cooperation of many. I doubt any queen is going to care whether or not the prefix she chooses for her kit is popular; it’s the prefix that she likes for her kit, and that’s that.
I do suggest, however, avoiding having two cats with the same prefix in the same clan.
Over the history of the clans, there have probably been many cats with the same name, just like how many people in the world have the name Aaron or Susan. It doesn’t make you any less for having a “common” name. Why would it make your character any less?