My son brought home two tiny kittens 3 days ago, saying there was a woman with a Free Kittens sign on the sidewalk he uses to come home from school (yes, he knows better at 12 years old, but is such a softie for animals I'm just glad he didn't take the whole box of five kittens). Naturally, he takes the smallest 2, not realizing how much more difficult this would be. I had discussed getting a pair of kittens perhaps later this summer when I could budget for a vet, and am not prepared for this. Nevertheless, the person was gone when I went back, and all the rescues are completely full up. So I told my son we'd try to make a go of it.
From what I've been able to research, based on the teeth they have, they are about 5 to 6 weeks old. Adorable, naturally, and just as loving as can be. No fleas that I have been able to tell, pretty good about using the litterbox, and the bigger one is good about trying to eat the soft food mixed with some dry kibble (using Iams products). The first day they both seemed to be getting a little more active as they both ate and got used to new surroundings. Last night, I came home and my son said the smaller one (who is so small as to be able to curl up in my hand), didn't eat all day. I ran to check him out and he was in his bed, very weak. I set him in front of the water dish and he was very unstable, almost fell over. I immediately ran out and got a kitten formula (after determining he just couldn't/wouldn't eat even just soft kitten food), and a bottle.
He absolutely refuses to open his mouth and I had to practically force the formula by putting the nipple in the side of his mouth. I was very careful to make sure he was in an upright position, after quickly going online to see what I could possibly do. I managed to get 1.5 ounces of formula in him through the night, from 8pm to 8am. I've kept him warm but not too warm, and he does seem a little livlier, just a little. He wobbles to the litterbox and is interested in the water dish but still seems unsure what to do.
Today I did a lot more online searching, and got a syringe and human baby food, meat variety, along with some Karo syrup. Still won't open his mouth very much but is at least a little more receptive to having the turkey baby food 'force' fed to him. He took 3ml and looked just like a human baby afterwards - food all over his face. He tried water again, took a few sips, used the litterbox, and then keeps climbing up to my shoulder to conk out. I'm still not quite sure how to administer the Karo syrup, since I hate trying to pry open his tiny mouth.
I do realize that the ideal answer is to take him to the vet; however, I can't stress enough how much I cannot afford that and the local humane society basically told me the kitten would not receive adequate care from them and would most likely die within hours. The local rescues won't even help with trying to find low cost vet options and outright refuse to take them since I 'voluntarily' took them in.
Please, I just need to know the very best way I can help this little guy on my own. He's still just skin and bones, and I just want to help him. The other kitten is doing well, as I have the formula out in a dish and he would drink it all if I let him. Eats the food well, uses the litterbox well. I just get a little worried that he's drinking too much formula because he pigs out until his little tummy is very full.
How much should I be trying to feed the little one (baby food)? How often? Should I keep trying formula, too? It seems like such a delicate balance - too much food is bad, too little food is bad...
For the bigger one, is it ok to let him drink as much of the kitten formula as he wants?
I appreciate all constructive responses - thank you!