Thanks QuietTiger, I had some of those concerns too, and would be happy to wait a while to reduce the stress all round (although believe me I'd love to have them with us!). The thing is, it's my other half who is desperately keen to get them now.
I had a look around the house the other day and noted a couple of things that need urgently sorting pre-cat (ie tons of wires behind tv, back porch needs looking at) so am hoping that if I get him going with those, that may take some time and get us closer to the due date...
My concern as someone who has worked with cat rescue for a very, very long time with several charities, both national and not, (BTDT, fostered, adopted, home-checked etc) would be that at 28 weeks pregnant, you only effectively have a few weeks for the new cats to settle before more massive change - that of a new baby.
I personally wouldn't re-home any of my own foster cats into this situation and I would recommend that the organisation I was home checking for didn't either. I also would CATEGORICALLY not re-home a shy cat with you if you were having a new baby.
Of course, I am just a stranger on t'internet (albeit a very experienced person who works in rescue) and I can't speak for the rescue organisations you have visited, but these would be my reasons why I "failed" you as an adopter.
1) While I appreciate that you would be committed to having cats for the duration of their lives, you are 28 weeks pregnant, anything could happen with the birth etc, and the last thing you would (IMO) need is 2 relatively new cats added into the mix of a young child/a new born baby. Add into the mix litter boxes, keeping the cats indoors for at least 3 weeks when they first arrive (possibly longer if they are shy) and it's potentially a disaster waiting to happen.
2) I have seen far too many people push the pets out when a new born baby arrives. I'm not saying you would, but I have quite literally lost count of the number of people who have handed their cats back into rescue stating the fact they can't cope with a baby/cat - especially if the cat starts stress spraying because it's not coping with the baby.
3) Shy cats take quite a while to settle. Once they are settled, they can be very easily unsettled by change. You then get stress behaviours, such as spraying, peeing in inappropriate places, litter box avoidance etc.
4) Once you've got used to the new arrival (congratulations on the pg, BTW!) then is the time to think about getting cats. I would be happy to rehome an older kitten (I'm talking around 8 months old as 4 months is still on the young side for me) with a young child - they are more robust, adapt quite easily if they are friendly and actually, are more desperate for and harder to home because they have gone beyond the "cute kitten" stage. They are still playful, loveable hooligans, but just more "robust".
Personally, I would suggest that you wait until well after the baby comes, so that the home environment has time to settle down. That way, the cats are introduced to your new DC from day one and will adapt to that situation straight away. I would also suggest that confident, out going cats would be a better bet with babies, rather than more shy cats.
I'm really only qualified to answer one bit of your question - and that is if two kittens would be considered company for each other if a person can't be around most of the time. The answer is yes. Our rescue will only home kittens in pairs for this reason, and if you're looking at four months old ones then they shouldn't need people around all the time.
Whether you should be considering this with a baby on the way I really can't comment. Hopefully other people who've done this will give their advice.
I have a conundrum and hope you knowledgable lot can help. I'm 28 weeks pregnant with first child and DP and I have decided we'd really like to get a cat (or maybe 2). He is a former dog owner, I'm a former cat owner and DSS who's nearly 11 loves animals. We also have two hamsters.
We went to local RSPCA at the weekend and fell in love with a four-month old kitten. We figured it was a sensible age (ie not too young), and this particular one was quite shy, but looked interested in us and frankly, we think it would fit in well.
There are two slight snags in this. The first is that we both work full time, which apparently means they don't like a kitten under 6 months to be rehomed to any house where there isn't someone around for more than two hours at a time. The second is that, obviously, there's a baby on the way.
We thought it would be a good idea to get the cat introduced to the house and settled in before baby arrives, and they can then both grow up together.
The 4-month old in question came in with a brother, and we're thinking about applying for both of them, to keep each other company (and I can nip back from work some lunchtimes until I go on mat leave).
So... are we bonkers to be thinking about this now? Would it be better to wait til I'm on mat leave or well after baby comes? And would the RSPCA consider taking two cats to keep each other company as an alternative to having someone in the house with them all the time?