For canned, we are trying Weruva, Cats in the Kitchen (same), Instinct, Merrick, and have an order in for Fowl Ball. For raw brands, we have Primal Instinct, K9Natural, and RadCat.
First off, that sounds like a good rotation, for both raw and canned. Keeping a wide variety will keep your kitty interested in mealtimes and prevent boredom, plus if one company changes their formulation, you won't be in panic mode scrambling to find something in its place.
Some canned food has a protein of 10-12%, while others read 50-70%. I'm thinking that I am missing something when it comes to reading labels. How can one can have 56% protein, and another (high-rated) only 10%? Something about dry-rated?
You may need to do more reading on reading commercial canned food, especially regarding GA and DMB (dry matter basis) when comparing foods:
Commercial Canned Foods by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: reading cat food labels, canned versus dry cat food
Click on the "composition" and calculating protein, fat, carbohydrates percentages on Lisa's website above.
Or this is site may explain it a bit easier, and be more user friendly:
Commercial Canned or Raw Cat Foods | Feline Nutrition Awareness Effort
Well, if someone wanted to tell me their secret combo recipe, that would be cool. I know, I know - read the label. BUT I HAVE READ THE LABELS! All of them.
Yeah, the commercial pet food companies seem to make things really, really difficult, don't they? Lol. Notice they never, ever list how much carb content is in their food? But they'll list potatoes, peas, tapioca in their grain-free lines.
You want animal
based proteins much more than those that are plant-based. I don't like to buy canned foods with "pea protein" or "potato protein", but that's my personal preference, and the reason I supplement with raw meats (to increase the the animal based protein content in their food more than fats, etc).
AND, finally, is there a brand of raw that actually has real meat and bones in it? I mean frozen partially ground stuff? I really do not want to home cook cat food, but, some say it is the proven way to know what you get. AND, when feeding this way, how can one know the cals, proteins, fats, carbs, etc in a 'serving?'
I think there are some, but again, brands can vary from each locale or store. I can get a product called Small Batch which is local to the Pacific NW, but there are companies you could order from directly called Feline's Pride and Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow. They are both on the East Coast of US (Feline's Pride from FL, and HTGT from PA). Just beware of shipping costs, of course. Nutritional values from commercial raw companies should be able to answer your questions on line via email or talk to over the phone if their labels seem too vague.
Others into feeding a whole prey diet to their cats may prefer to go and order from rodentpro.com and purchase a meat grinder, grind their own meat, organs, & bones, and add the necessary supplements. Catinfo.org (Lisa Pierson's website) has a recipe for making your own raw cat food and info on which grinder she recommends.