As you know, we have a zoo at our home with two cats and two dogs. Over the many years our nieces have visited, the pets have been generally tolerant and stay away. All except one.
My mom's solution is to simply get rid of him (she's not much of an animal lover) but he's my first baby. How can I get rid of a member of the family? That's not an option. Matt and I have said before and I'll say again that once these cats pass, we're done with cats. It's not that I don't totally butt stinking love cats more than dogs, and I totally do, but keeping a clean household with cats, holy crap is it a lot of work. The shedding, the litter around their litter box, our family/friends suffering from allergies, and the fact that nice furniture doesn't stand a chance… I think we're done once these guys have passed away. But until then, he stays.
I really don't know what he'll be like when a baby is around, especially one that is a part of our family. Will some sort of maternal instinct (he does possess them, you should see him care for his brother) kick in when she's born and he'll want to be near her and sleep at her feet like those cute photos of babies and cats that float around the internet? Or will he be jealous and mean?
The only part that really concerns us is the scratching. He and the pets have been kicked out of the guest room and master for years so they're used to having rooms be off limits and won't associate that with the baby but when she's out of those rooms and in the living room with us or on the office couch where they hang… what will he do then? So, cruel as it may be, if he starts showing signs of hissing and batting, we gotta get him declawed. He's an indoor cat and if he just can't be trusted, that seems to be the only solution. It kills me but when it comes to the safety of my baby, babies trump kitties.
As far as preparation for the rest of the critters, I'm reading a lot of blogger experiences with introducing their babies to pets, consensus seems that you let the dogs smell the baby before they meet it so they can get used to its smell and bring a present and treats for the pet so they will associate good things with babies. I'll be continuing the research. Other than that I don't anticipate much stress with having to care for the pets and the babe. The pets have a routine and they're easy, just fill bowls and clean litter boxes. The dogs run wild in the backyard so they're pretty well exercised. Hopefully though we'll take more family walks together, stroller and non furry baby in tow.