Blizzard kindly collapsed the bear and cat talent branches into one “feral” line many moons ago, so most of the talents we discussed back in the bear guide remain relevant and useful for cats also. The talent that is most cat-centric, IMO, is Shredding Attacks, which reduces the energy cost of your cat’s Shred (backstab) as well as the rage cost of Lacerate. This talent stacks nicely with Brutal Impact, which increases the stun effect of your Pounce (and bearslap) by 1 second.
It may not sound like much, but if you have a full energy bar, what it effectively allows you to do is stealth, Pounce your target, then Shred twice (maybe even three times if you get a lucky Omen of Clarity proc) before your stun effect wears off. When applied to NPCs, your target will usually be around half health before it can even swing at you. This is an excellent way to open on single targets. As a cat, you probably don’t want more than two targets on you anyway – your health and armor won’t bear up long with more than that. Fill up your combo points with Claw and Rake and then Ferocious Bite. Creatures you would typically attack while soloing won’t live long enough to bother with a Rip (Bleed finisher) and you’ll have energy again by the time you get to your next target.
How about instances and raiding, where things are bigger and badder? First, if you haven’t already, and I hope you have, install Omen or a similar threat meter. And watch it like a hawk – pulling threat off your tank in a group or raid setting is a good way to get yourself killed and probably yelled at. If you are competing with the tank for threat, hit that good old “Cower” button on cooldown until you are sufficiently below your tanks’ threat again. Your opening can be the same – stealth, pounce, shred, shred, and continue to shred your way to 5 combo points. Since the tank should have aggro, you can stealth and open with a Ravage just for variety. If your target is low health by the time you arrive at 5 combo points, Ferocious Bite it. If it’s still around half health or so, you can use your bleed finisher, Rip. Special Note: undead creatures (aka, 99% of Karazhan) are bleed immune, so you can just continue to Shred away even past 5 combo points, because the downside of Bite is that it blows your entire energy bar. One way to decide if you want to do a Bite is to do it at a time where you won’t waste much of your energy. My quick rule of thumb is that I’ll try a bite if my energy is between 35 and 40.
A cat shares another similarity with a rogue, namely that your bread and butter DPS move, Shred, requires you to be behind your target. So try to be positionally aware and stay behind the target or you’ll be wondering why your combo points are stuck at zero. Since critters in instances and raids often have nasty little extras like “Cleave”, safely behind is the best place to be anyway. If you can’t get behind the target, you’ll have to rely on the much less spectacular Claws and Rakes to get your combo points. Happily, both Bite and Rip can happen from any angle.
I hope this little mini-cat-guide has been helpful. Happy Shredding, brothers and sisters of the Claw!