The vast majority of new kitten owners do want their kitten spayed or neutered to prevent the kitten from becoming sexually active. The average age at which we spay or neuter a kitten is six months, when they go through puberty and their sexhormones become active.
The spay procedure is a surgical ovariohysterectomy, performed at 6 months of age. Spaying entails the surgical removal of both ovaries and the body of the uterus. To fully understand this, you must first know what these organs do, and where they are.
The ovaries are the female organs. They are suspended from the kidney by a ligament. They manufacture the eggs which are released during breeding. Most kitten queens have their first heat cycle at about 6-7 months of age. Cats in heat are very precocious, meow often, try to get outside, keep their tail raised and flick it, and seem restless or overly affectionate. The average heat cycle lasts 2 weeks.
Cats are induced ovulators, which means that the ovaries only release eggs for fertilization after breeding occurs. This makes breeding very efficient. The ovaries also secrete the female hormone, estrogen, which is required for proper development of the female reproductive tract and for the commencement of estrus. If you take away the ovaries, the queen has no eggs, and virtually no estrogen hormone, resulting in no heat cycles and infertility.
The uterus is the tubular organ that hosts the developing fetuses during pregnancy. Another name for the uterus is womb. The uterus is connected to the vagina by the cervix, a sphincter that opens and closes the passage into the uterus.
The benefits of spaying is to remove the female hormone estrogen, prevent heat cycles and breeding, prevent pregnancy, prevent female medical diseases such as ovarian and uterine cancer, reduce the chances of mammary cancer, and prevent unwanted kittens, which usually end up in overcrowded shelters.
The cons of spaying are increases the likelihood of weight gain, because it lowers the base metabolism; prohibits breeding or showing your queen; reduces activity level.