I haven't found a lot of good sources for gear for cats going into Karazhan for the first time - as I mentioned previously, if you're feral chances are you'll be tanking in Kara. But if you're not, or if you want to work on your gear on the offchance you are 4 fite that night, here's a good list of the things you can go grab. I have tried to present items that can be crafted, quested, drop from instances or can be obtained via PvP for each slot. I did not list every item either, with this kind of precedence:
If a quest item is better than a drop, I ignored the drop.
If a cheaply crafted item is better than a drop, I ignored the drop.
If there were two or more quest items I tried to take the best one. If they're similar, I listed both.
For all items, they are ordered from best to worst. Onto the show!
- Deathblow X11 Goggles - Engineering Crafted, BoP. This is one of the best DPS items you can get, and has very few upgrades as you progress. The massive agility and the socket bonus make it stellar and very well itemized. It is occasionally replaced by T4 for the 2-piece T4 set bonus, but not often. However, engineering is not that useful for Bears, so it's not recommended most of the time. If you are Engineering, this is a good choice.
- Vengeful Gladiator's Dragonhide Helm - S3 Arena, 1850 arena points, no rating. This is a good DPS and Bear helm, and will be used for a while in one form or another. I wouldn't wait until you've got this helm to go into Kara, but if you happen to be doing a lot of arena this should be a top priority to get.
- Cobrascale Hood - Leatherworking Crafted, BoE. This is a great starting helm. The only problem is the cost; the mats are 10 scales, 15 primal airs, 15 primal shadows and a nether. That could be pretty expensive to start out with. If you have the means it's a good choice. But if you don't...
- Savage Mask of the Lynx Lord - drop from the Black Stalker, Heroic Underbog. This isn't a hard heroic and because it gives CE rep, chances are you'll run it a couple times.
- Helm of the Claw - quest in Steamvaults normal. Another instance you'll run a ton of times, this is a very good piece with nice abilities for modification as needed.
- Darkguard Face mask - drop from Exarch Maladaar, Auchenai Crypts. There are plenty of head drops from various instances, but this one is the best of the lot at the gear level you'll be targeting. Crypts is admittedly kind of a painful instance to run but at least it's not a heroic.
- Shattered Sun Pendant of Might - requires Exalted with Shattered Sun. For Aldor this is merely a good pendant at the pre-Kara level, but for Scryer this is a huge boost in damage at that level. It does require exalted, but it is good enough that it won't be replaced until well into T5 content, most likely.
- Necklace of the Deep - Jewelcrafting crafting, BoE. This is one of the better necks for any feral, cat or bear, and with two agility gems you'll have a neck that'll serve you well as both a good dps choice and a good avoidance piece in the future.
- Natasha's Pack Collar - Blade's Edge questline. This is obtained early on and it's quite good, but you might want the Guardian Cord for a resto set as it's one of the best healing necks pre-Kara too.
- Vindicator's Pendant of Triumph - 15300 honor, 10 Eye of the Storm. This isn't ideal for cats - no agi - but the socket bonus, the high attack rating and the decent crit rating make it okay.
- Talon Lord's Collar - Sethekk Halls quest. Another decent quest reward, and you'll probably do Sethekk Halls at least once.
- Gromtor's Pendant of Conquest part of the Cipher of Damnation questline in Shadowmoon Valley. As you'll almost certainly be doing the SMV questline to get bear gear, this is a great piece to pick up along the way.
- Swiftstrike Shoulders Leatherworking Crafted, BoP (pattern is BoE). This is a hugely expensive item that is only available for a druid that wants to buy both the pattern and the hearts of darkness, but if you have the money I figured I'd throw it out there, as it is very good.
- Gladiator's Dragonhide Spaulders - 11250 honor, 20 Arathi Basin marks. Clearly the Merciless Gladiator or Vengeful Gladiator set is better if you can obtain them (and good luck with getting the VG shoulders on a pre-kara feral), but this is fairly cheap and easy to get. Shoulders are a hard slot to fill. This is very poorly itemized for a feral, but even with the poor itemization it ends up working out okay.
- Wastewalker Shoulderpads - Avatar of the Martyred, Heroic Crypts. This is very unlikely to drop for you and it is a pain, but it is the best drop pre-Kara that you could reasonably hope for. What's more likely to get is...
- Shoulderpads of Assassination - Talon King Ikiss, Sethekk Halls (normal or heroic). Don't roll over a rogue on these, but they're just great for a cat as they are. They're not even that bad for a bear given the shoulder options out there.
- Cleansed Fel Pauldrons - Deathblow to the Legion, netherstorm quest. This is an Aldor-only quest. These are basic but fairly good. The only issue here is that they are also a choice with Kaylaan's Signet which is a good ring. Make sure to choose wisely. I'd personally go with the shoulders, but if you're really hurting for ring options this is a possibility too.
- Dragonhide Spaulders- honored with Sha'tar. These are also good starting shoulders for bears. They're not great for either, but they're cheap and very easily obtained.
- Vengeance Wrap - tailoring crafting, BoE. This is another hugely expensive item requiring a nether, 10 shadowcloth and 14 primal air, but it is very strong and one of the only cloaks in the game with a socket.
- Cloak of the Craft BoE world drop, usually around 50-75g. A decent item sometimes found on the AH.
- Capacitus' Cloak of Calibration - Cache of the Legion, Mechanar. A very good cloak with nice stats for raids. Easy to get too, as you'll likely be running a lot of Mechanar for guildies and the like.
- Cloak of Malice -Nethekurse, Shattered Halls (normal and heroic). Another decent drop from a boss you'll likely see a lot of.
- Delicate Green Poncho Nagrand Quest. This is one of the more annoying or awesome quests in the game depending on whether or not you can time the drop from the jump platform right, but you may have it easy since you'll get your flight form at level 68.
- Skyguard's Drape - Sha'tari Skyguard - Revered. Not a great choice, but it's easy to get if you do your dailies. Not as great now thanks to all the SSO dailies.
- Shadowprowler's Chestguard - Leatherworking BoE. Another 'hugely expensive but awesome' item, this will not get replaced by anything in Kara. It does require items technically obtained from Kara in soulcloth, but this is easily found on the AH. The 12 primal shadows and two nethers aren't as cheap. This will serve you for a long time however, and is worth the investment.
- Vengeful Gladiator's Dragonhide Tunic - 1850 arena points. This is a very good piece as well, and one that has multiple uses after Kara.
- Wastewalker TunicKeli'dan the Breaker, Heroic Blood Furnace. Not the easiest of heroics to run, but this is a good drop from there and even has a decent set bonus for druid cats.
- Tunic of Assassination, Pathaleon the Calculator, Mechanar (normal & heroic). Just slightly worse than the wastewalker tunic, it should be a lot easier to run this to get it.
- Chestguard of the Talon, random BoE world drop. If the clefthoof set didn't exist this would be a good bear item, but alas it is merely eh. Good strength and agility make this a nice item if you can find it cheaply - it usually goes for about 50g.
- Warden's Hauberk - Cenarion Expedition - honored. You can get this as early as level 62, and it's very decent. In some circumstances it'll be better than 3-5 because of the high agility - if you have a lot of attack power, this is worth it and then some.
- Hauberk of Karabor - Varedis Must Be Stopped questline, Shadowmoon Valley. Not outstanding, but a solid DPS piece that is fairly easy to obtain. Be warned that this also drops the Wildcaller, so if you get this you will have to get your DPS weapon elsewhere.
- Dragonhide Robe - Thrallmar/Honored Hold honored. This is really poor, but if you can't get anything else or you have it already, this can do. But you really should have the Warden's Hauberk, at least.
- Vindicator's Dragonhide Bracers - 11794 honor, 20 Warsong Gulch marks. One of the better bracers for cat DPS in the game, they are also quite good for getting uncrittable for bears. Pretty cheap as well.
- Shard-Bound bracers - Ogri'la Exalted. Hard to get exalted these days, but if you happened to get there these are a good choice.
- Nightfall Wristguards - Epoch Hunter, Old Hillsbrad Heroic. A solid piece but one of the harder heroics in the game.
- Primalstrike Bracers Elemental Leatherworking BoP. A very expensive, meh item, but if you happen to be a leatherworker with a few primal mights around, this might be an option.
- Nightstalker's Wristguards - netherstorm quest. For a green, a very good item and slightly better than the spymistress wristguards due to the attack power. Also an easier quest to get done that doesn't require a group.
- Vengeful Gladiator's Dragonhide Gloves - 1125 arena points. Another good item with multiple uses including a sometimes usable spell interrupt ability. The gladiator gloves, unlike the other choices above, are not particularly good to get though.
- Windslayer Wraps - Leatherworking BoE. Another expensive but worth it craft item, though this one will be replaced fairly soon. 12 wind scales, 8 primal air and a nether are all a bit pricey, but it is very strong.
- Handgrips of Assassination - Aeonus, Black Morass (normal and heroic). The drop from Heroic Arcatraz is slightly better, but its extremely difficult to obtain and it's only slightly better. You'll be running BM at least a couple times for Kara attunement (because you DO want the Violet Signet, right?) and the glyph of defense, and this should drop at some point, hopefully.
- Fel Leather Gloves - Leatherworking BoE. Not hugely expensive (only 6 primal shadow), just barely worse than #3, this should be the priority most of the time.
- Drake Tamer's Gloves Shadowmoon Valley quest. This isn't the easiest questline but make no mistake - these green gloves are better than any drop you can get that wasn't mentioned and are just barely not the ilvl of a purple from a heroic. A very solid piece.
- Belt of Deep ShadowLeatherworking BoE. This used to be absolutely unobtainable; now it's merely hugely expensive. It is very good and will be used for a long time, likely deep into T5. Note that I am not mentioning the primalstrike belt here because of how expensive it is; if you're willing to spend that much, you should instead get this.
- Vindicator's Dragonhide Belt - 17580 honor, 40 arathi basin marks. Very strong belt though it is not as useful for as long as the other vindicator's pieces.
- Girdle of the Deathdealer - Aeonus, Heroic Black Morass. One of the harder heroics to do, but this belt is better than anything in Kara.
- Socrethar's Girdle - Netherstorm scryer quest. A really strong choice that comes from a long questline in netherstorm. A similar item comes from the Arcatraz attuement questline, but this is better if you're scryer.
- Dunewind Sash - Ghaz'an, Heroic Underbog. An easier heroic with a lesser reward, this is a good piece with decent itemization.
- Vengeful Gladiator's Dragonhide Legguards - 1850 arena points. Still better than anything that drops or can be crafted pre-Kara, they're not quite as good as the other VG pieces. This should be one of your last if you really want it.
- Leggings of the Betrayed - Selin Fireheart, normal Magister's Terrace. While mrT is a very hard instance, the first boss is not so bad and fairly quick to get to. These are very good legs, better than some epics that drop pre-Kara. I don't think I'd encourage anyone to run these a ton, but you could do this 20 times a day (or 5 times an hour) if you wanted to.
- Clefthoof Hide Leggings - Blade's Edge quest. A very long questline that allows for Ogrila dailies, these were the best PvE legs pre-Kara until #2 came out. They're still quite competitive, and if you're nowhere near hit or expertise capped they're on par. These should be a top priority to get.
- Fel Leather Leggings - Leatherworking BoE. Not nearly as good as the #3, they're still quite decent and shouldn't cost too much to make.
- Sunrage Treads - Kael'thas sunstrider, normal Magister's Terrace. It isn't likely that you can do KT on normal prior to Kara, but if you can, these are the boots for you. Ignoring armor, tons of agility and even good stam make these stellar, and they won't likely be replaced until SSC or badge loot.
- Vindicator's Dragonhide Boots - 17850 honor, 40 Eye of the Storm marks. Not quite as good as the Leather boots for tanking, these are great for cat.
- Boots of Natural Grace - Leatherworking BoP. An expensive craft, but one that is great for both cat and bear is hard to beat. The armor alone isn't beaten until T6. If you're a leatherworker this is a good one to obtain if possible.
- Fel Leather Boots - Leatherworking BoE. A much cheaper craft that is very strong, the strongest of the fel leather set.
- Felboar Hide Shoes - Shadowmoon Valley quest. Another Cipher of Damnation quest reward. That whole thing is jam-packed with druid goodies.
- overseer's signet - Netherstorm Quest. This is a Aldor only questline. Very good ring and worth grabbing if you can.
- Slayer's Mark of the Redemption - SMV questline. This is identical to Kaylaan's signet but is not Aldor only.
- A'dal's Command - Sha'tar exalted. IT's not a bad choice, but not stellar and certainly not worth grinding rep for.
- Ravenclaw Band - Talon King Ikiss, Sethekk Halls (normal and heroic). Another reason to kill the Talon King. This isn't as good as some of the heroic rewards out there, but it is an easier to get item.
- Band of Anguish - shadowmoon valley quest. Another long questline, but this is only 2 agi less than #2. Really minor differences between all of them, and it makes this fairly strong.
- Hourglass of the Unraveller - Temporus, Black Morass (normal and heroic). This is a strong enough trinket that many unlucky folks still use it in T6, including myself. The proc rate is high and its on equip is strong anyway.
- Crystalforged Trinket - Ogri'la revered.Another harder trinket to get thanks to SSO, this is a solid piece. If you're grinding them already, great, but don't go out of your way for it.
- Abacus of Violent Odds - Pathaleon the Calculator, Mechanar. Not nearly as strong as the hourglass, but you may have this drop anyway. Not too shabby for what it is, and it does have the advantage of scaling well with your gear.
- Core of Arkelos - quest in netherstorm. Slightly better than the Ogre Mauler's badge, this is done in an early questline in Netherstorm that gives you the archmage's staff. And who doesn't want that?
- Ogre Mauler's badge, Nagrand Questline. An easy, early questline that gives a decent trinket. Go get this when you can.
- Vengeful Gladiator's Staff - 1850 arena rating, 3750 arena points. This is the highest of the high-end items, but it is available pre-kara in theory (and the price and requirements will be being reduced as well). This is on par with the badge staff and is great if you can get it.
- Gladiator's Maul - 27000 honor, 40 alterac valley marks. This is expensive for honor and time, but it is a great item that beats anything in Kara for raw damage. Even better, the Merciless Gladiator staff will be available for the same price, and it is just that much cooler.
- Staff of Natural Fury - BoE World drop. This tends to be very expensive when it hits the AH, but it is a good choice for those who don't want to wait and can afford it.
- Dreamer's Dragonstaff - Thorgrim the Tender, Botanica (normal and heroic). Not too hard to get and a solid staff to take you through Kara.
- Fleshling Simulation Staff and Wildcaller - questlines in Netherstorm (Fleshling) and SMV (Wildcaller). These staves are so close that they're too close to call. I'd recommend going after the Fleshling staff simply because Wildcaller also has a good chestpiece associated with it, but either would be fine.
- Staff of Beasts - Nagrand questline. This isn't as good as any of the others, but you can get it very, very early, especially if you have someone boosting you through the Ring of Blood quests.