Earlier today I had an interesting question come up, one that I hadn't thought about in a long time. Someone asked me why I use a cat instead of a monkey or spider, and I realized that I haven't considered this since I originally made the switch to cat, and I think I owe you guys an explanation. You're going to have to keep waiting on the explanation for why my interface is so ugly, however. Sorry.
|She's not the prettiest girl at the prom, but she'll put out the moment you ask her|
The three are:
Spider was the most popular pet at the end of WOTLK. Spider brings a ranged 4 second immobilize, and is a cunning pet, which allows it to use Roar of Sacrifice and Roar of Recovery, as well as tending to have a higher stamina pool than ferocity pets.
Monkey is a newcomer to Cataclysm, and brings with it the ability to do a ranged blind type ability for 4 seconds. This blind is notable in that it doesn't share a DR with just about any other ability in the game, and doesn't break on damage (although it does break on damage on the PTR). This effect has a half second cast time, but the monkey can do it while moving. This is by far the pet of choice of basically all Arena hunters.
An oldie but goodie from the glory days of Season's 5 and 6, crab was the former standby for any hunter that was serious about Arenas. As crabs are tenacity, they brought to the table intervene, which intercepts one ranged or melee attack made against the target (it formerly used to be able to catch Death Grip and Blind, which made this the skill pet of choice), as well as Last Stand, which temporarily boosted the health of the crab by 40% or so, which was perfect to prevent the enemy team from scoring a kill on the pet (as an aside, nobody really attacks pets anymore, but it used to be a huge problem). They also had Roar of Sacrifice, and a 4 second melee range channeled root. Some hunters still swear by crabs to this day, mostly because of the impact they used to have on the match. Despite this, crabs are seldom used in modern arenas.
Some people like to use scorpids for the disarm, and others use wasps for the two second stun, but those abilities seem to pale in comparison to the powerful ranged root of spiders and the four second "stun" of monkeys. Those pets tend to disappear when you start getting into the more serious brackets, which is past around 1900-2000 or so.
However, I prefer to use a cat, despite the powerful abilities that those other pets bring to the table. Why?
Cats bring the Strength of Earth/Horn of Winter buff, which is 549 Strength and Agility with a 100% uptime while the cat is alive. They have no other redeeming abilities, save those brought by the ferocity tree, which are all extremely powerful. Not that a permanent Strength of Earth is weak by any means (almost as much AGI as my belt and gloves combined), but the ferocity tree brings a new dynamic to our team. There are 3 gameplay changing talents in the ferocity tree.
|Tyki, you sly bastard|
First up is Bloodthirsty. I wont say too much about this ability, except that it more than makes up for the lower HP pools of ferocity pets. This heal combined with Spirit Bond is enough to keep your pet alive through any DoT effects that happen to wander their way on to your cat, and it has a decent enough uptime to ensure that your cat will never be within the HP range to be considered for a switch by your enemies. In my experience, even with lock/DK dots, my pet rarely drops below 75% HP.
Next is Call of the Wild. Call of the Wild temporarily boosts your attack power by a further 10%, stacking with any existing attack power buffs, such as Unleashed Rage or Trueshot Aura. I macro this ability with my Rapid Fire and Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Badge of Conquest, and and all of my Archeology Artifacts (for good measure).
The final, and least apparent game changing talent is Wild Hunt. The most effective use of this ability is to take Claw/Bite/Smack off autocast, and to macro those abilities into Explosive Shot. This has the double benefit of ensuring that your pet doesnt wander off and waste his attacks on a different target (this may not be useful if you are attempting to prevent drinks) and causing your pet to nearly always have enough focus to cause Wild Hunt to trigger. A non-wild hunt basic attack crits resil targets for around 1500-2000, but a wild hunter version can crit for up to 5k on cloth. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but these hits really accentuate the burst that explosive shot brings. And when you blow your cooldowns, I've seen Claw crit for over 10,000 damage on a Mage. It all adds up.
So the long winded answer to the question of why I use a cat over other pets is this: 549 Agility is a ton, and the added cooldown combined with higher overall auto attack damage, and the lack of need to constantly cast Mend Pet to keep the pet topped off, all add up to make cat a winning combination for our comp.
And I'll go ahead and add the caveat that this may not hold true for every comp out there. But, ferocity pets are definitely worth the look for the added damage that they bring. Also, dont forget that if you already have Battle Shout/Horn of Winter, you can also try bringing a Wolf for 5% more crit.