Leaders are regarded as not only the figureheads of ShadowClan, but also as almost parental figures. Clan leaders play a large part in the life of every cat, at least up to adulthood. ShadowClan leaders must be compassionate, selfless, and fiercely protective of their family. ShadowClan leaders are more involved with the life of the Clan than most. They personally observe the training of each apprentice, attend most patrols, and spend what little free time they have overseeing their Clan from a cozy spot in camp, most usually their den. This has often led to an overworked rule over ShadowClan across the decades and has left leaders with little free time, but it is always particularly rewarding. This helps the leader bring the clan together and makes sure that no cat is left in the dust.
ShadowClanners are very close with each other, tending to refer to each other as family, even if they are not related by blood. Many cats eat, train and breathe as one, forming a strange harmony between them. Despite the best efforts of leaders, loner-like cats are very difficult to fit into this system, often leaving them out to the side. ShadowClan depends on socialization and communication, so a cat that cannot is difficult to integrate into everyday life.
The nursery is located in the wall of the ravine, two tail lengths above the ground. There are small pawholds along the wall up to the den, often tested by warriors. To be allowed to begin socializing with their clanmates, kits must prove that they are able to climb down the nursery without help. This may sound cruel, but it is to ensure that kits have the strength and mental maturity needed to interact with their clanmates.
The breeding pool is generally approved of in ShadowClan, as long as the mate outside of the clan has traits that are mostly absent or desired in ShadowClan. Half-Clan kits are treated no differently from pure-blooded kits, although some elders bicker amongst themselves about the benefits of such a system.
Apprenticeship tests vary wildly from cat to cat, but they all focus on the cat's greatest weakness. ShadowClan prides itself on warriors with no weaknesses to hold them back, so this is a crucial stepping stone in the life on the way to adulthood. The task is usually decided by the council, but on some occasions, families are involved.
On the night of no moon, a feast is held in camp for any apprentices that have finished their training. (Note: Let’s say that Lilypaw finished her apprentice training a day after the new moon. She will earn her suffix and stand vigil, but her graduation will only be fully celebrated on the night of the new moon.) They celebrate on the night of no moon to signify the coming of age of an apprentice and new beginnings. This is also a time to tell stories about the new warriors or folktales of a time long forgotten. The new warriors are often asked to demonstrate their skills to the clan. this can be shown in any way, like through storytelling, acting, or most commonly, sparring with any superior cat.
After the festivities, the new warriors are led to the burial field by their former mentors to pay respects to their ancestors. They all must scratch a mark onto the worn stump in the center of the clearing before plucking a flower and returning it home to weave into their new warrior nest. The new warriors are not bound down by any curfew in their night of transition, but it is advised that they get an adequate amount of sleep, since they will not be pardoned from any patrols.
As said in the dead section, it is believed that the spirit of any ShadowClan cat that isn’t buried in the heather field will become a violent spirit that wanders the territory, seeking out another cat to take its place. Many debate that this is just a story told to young cats to prevent them from wandering the territory at night.
Elders (cranky ones that have been woken up one too many times) say that long ago, before the Clans were established on the territory, a wildcat roamed the ShadowClan territory, killing cats and wearing their pelts as trophies. The tale varies from cat to cat, but all can agree that it gives younger cats a good scare. Some like to include that the cat still roams the territory to this day, looking to add new pelts to its collection.
It is said that during nights with no moon, StarClan cannot view the actions of the cats below. This is a popular night in ShadowClan to battle, or for cats in general to make little bits of trouble. This is also partially why apprenticeship feasts are held on these nights since it is said that the following morning, the new warriors will be viewed by StarClan as entirely new cats. On nights without planned raids or apprenticeship feasts, the camp is more heavily guarded to prevent any tricksters from wreaking havoc on the neighboring clans.
ShadowClan's dead are buried out in a secluded field covered in small, white-and-purple blossoms in the middle of the territory. It is said that if any ShadowClan cat is not buried here, they will be unable to reach StarClan and be stuck on Earth as a tortured soul wandering the territory.