Last week I wrote up an introduction to tank points to help bears sort through gear options. I use a similar methodology for building my cat DPS outfits, but instead of using Emmerald's lists I use Toskk's Feral DPS Gear methodology. The Toskk web page is a bit confusing, but once you play with it a bit it's not so hard.
The trick is to start simply. Scroll down the page past the form to the button marked "Generate" and click it. Below the button you'll see a wall of statistics. Skip over those and scroll down a bit further, to the list of gear. That's a list of all the cloak options ranked by "kitty points". The more kitty points, the better the gear. For instance, with Toskk's defaults the Thalassian Wildercloak is at the top with 137 kitty points.
So what's a kitty point? In Toskk's lists, it's the normalized value of the gear. +1 attack power = 1 kitty point in Toskk's models, always. A +10 attack power gem is worth 10 kitty points. A +8 agility gem is worth 19.79 kitty points, or about twice as good as the attack power gem. And that fancy cloak with +68 attack power and +28 agility is about like an extra +137 attack power. You can see the values of the other stats in the wall of numbers above the gear list, in the middle column. The default stats result in a theoretical 552 DPS. +1 Strength is worth about +2.06 attack power (or +2.06 kitty points), +1 agility is worth +2.47 kitty points, etc.
What makes Toskk's lists interesting is that they're generated from a simulated model of DPS for your particular stats. You can get a more fine-tuned list of gear for your specific character by filling in that form you skipped over. Just entering your attack power, crit percentage, and hit rating will get you pretty far towards a personalized gear list. Even better is to check off the options you have; raid buffs in left and right columns, gear options in the middle column. Also pick the boss you care about (I usually use Nightbane for benchmarking). You only have to enter the data once; it's stored in a cookie.
Cat gear is really pretty simple; all you need to do is optimize DPS, no crit immunity or mana regen or whatever to worry about. Prior to patch 2.3 there was some confusion about strength vs. agility, but it's now clear to everyone that agility is the #1 stat for cats. (1 agility =~ 1.3 strength for my stats). So really what Toskk's model does is let you quickly sort out agility vs. strength vs. attack power, etc. And present gear results in a nicely sorted list.
One thing I find particularly helpful is comparing the value of +hit vs. other stats. Every miss is 0 DPS, but the stats on available items are such that sometimes you'd rather miss more but hit harder when you connect. Be sure to fill in your actual +hit and +expertise numbers and don't check the "Ignore hit/exp cap" button unless you mean it.
Another thing to look out for is how the set bonuses are counted. For instance, with the default settings for Helms the Stag-Helm of Malorne appears 3 times: 421.72 (2 pc set), 288.21 (4 pc set), and 257.31 (w/o Set). What does that mean? The lowest value (257.31) is the value of the item itself, just the stats. 288.21 includes the incremental value of the 4 piece bonus divided by 2. Ie, the +30 strength from the 4 piece bonus itself is worth 2*(288.21-257.31) = 61.80 kittypoints. The 2 piece set bonus alone is worth an astonishing total of 329 kitty points. The extra energy lets you shred more often and that's a huge bonus to your damage output (about 8% for me). If you fill out the middle column of the form and include your set bonuses then the incremental increase will be removed in the gear lists, helping you more accurately make gear choices. Just be sure not to accidentally break a useful set bonus!
I put a lot of caveats in my description of Emmerald's tank points; tank gear is subtle and you have to balance a lot of factors. But cat gear is pretty straightforward and I think Toskk's model is close enough to reality that I pretty much blindly trust what the tool tells me. Trinkets are the one place I look more closely; Toskk's model is pretty optimistic about procs and aggressive use of on-use effects.
By the way, Emmerald also publishes a ranked list of cat gear. It's a useful tool too, and the high gear model is pretty close to what Toskk's simulator says for my stats. I stick with Toskk's lists because I like the personalized results and I like that the lists have the gear source right there in the output. There's also a lot more detail for study in Toskk's output; more in future posts.