The pet pass has finally been released on the beta servers, and boy is it exciting. If everything continues on this front I hope to see the choice you make on which pet to bring becomes something that's a little more influential come Cataclysm. Frostheim over at Warcraft Hunter's Union posted an article going over each pet's new abilities. It's a great article and I recommend reading it.
One thing I'm surprised about it the level of upset of the pet pass. This first thing I noticed about this information is that nothing has been done with Cats. I suspect this is either because Blizzard likes cats as they are, or the probably more likely reason, because they just haven't gotten to it yet. However, there is the strange rumor going around because of this lack that Blizzard plans to remove Cats as pets.
I don't expect that Blizzard plans to remove Cats in the game, and I have a few reasons for I feel this way. To start, what reason does Blizzard have for removing them? Blizzard is consolidating a lot of things, but pets so far don't appear to be one of these things. They've even started adding some new pet families. If Blizzard wanted pets to be consolidated they would be fine with the current "wolf or die" model in WotLK, or they would go with one of my favorite hunter podcaster/blogger's Euripides' idea and just give us all untextured cubes. But they're not consolidating, they're diversifying.
In addition to this first reason, they recently assigned the Cat to be the Night Elf starting pet. If they were going to remove a pet family it wouldn't be on a whim, so I doubt they would have assigned Cats to Night Elves if they were going to be removed as a pet class.
The final reason I don't think they'll actually be removing the Cat as a family is because it's already a family, and quite a popular one. I know I have a Cat, Tailchaser, who began as one of the level 8 Cats from Teldrassil. I've had him since I first completed the hunter's pet quests and ran out to tame my favorite in the area. I may not use him for raiding, but I do bring him out to play of other things, and I know I'm not the only hunter in this boat. Many a Vanilla-born hunter camped for days for any number of rare Cats. I doubt Blizzard would change their mind about Cats after all these years.
Another big uproar on the forums is regarding some of the pet families being given buff that are traditionally player buffs. The new Corehound ability is a great example. Don't have a Shaman? No worries, your local BM hunter can tame a Corehound and offer the same Bloodlust/Heroism type buff. Let's just hope it can't be set to auto cast.
People seem to be upset about this change for two reasons. Because they feel pets shouldn't offer the same buffs as player characters, and even more strangely because hunters don't want to "have" to bring a specific pet.
I find the first reason to be completely ridiculous. If you have the player to cast the buff, why does the pet buff matter? The hunter will either cast it anyway (and if you care about this please explain it to me, because I don't understand why it matters in the least who cast the buff), she'll bring a pet that has a buff the raid doesn't have, or she'll bring the pet of her preference. It sounds like a win all around to me.
I do understand where the hunters who don't want to be "forced" to bring a specific pet are coming from...kind of. I love pets, I collect them in any form I can in game and I do have my favorite, which is of course Tailchaser. This is why I keep him. I don't, however, feel the need to take him with me everywhere. He farms with me, quests with me, and even (casually)PvPs with me, but when it comes to raiding, I do take whichever pet is "best". In this expansions case, Wolf is best because it buffs me the most. However, in Cataclysm the "best" pet may just be the one that buffs your raid the most. We do have to keep in mind, while we may often top the charts, the raid still does more dps than us. Meaning, raiding is a group effort, and if it's more beneficial to the group to bring pet X, you should probably do it.
It's of course always the hunter's option; you can bring whatever pet you'd like, they can't make you change pets. However, don't be surprised if you suddenly get the cold-shoulder from your guild because you won't make a concession on which furry companion accompanies you to guild hosted events.