Two simple surgical procedures, spaying and neutering, are performed on cats to prevent reproduction. Spaying is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of the female, and neutering is the surgical removal of the reproductive glands of the male.
These quick and routine procedures are done by a veterinarian and with anesthesia. Often, a cat will enter the hospital in the morning and be home in the evening.
Aftercare depends on your vet and your cat. Some cats are practically back to normal in a day or two. Others may need quiet and reduced exercise for a week or so after the surgery.
The majority of veterinary practices offer spaying and neutering services. And because animal-health professionals feel so strongly about the importance of preventing unwanted litters, the cost is a relative bargain by surgical standards: generally around $100 for males, under $200 for females. Many humane societies offer the procedures at an even lower cost.
Six months is the average age for spaying and neutering in cats, but some practices start spaying and neutering as early as 8 weeks old. Older cats can be spayed or neutered, too, if they are in good general health. (It's a myth that neutering adult males makes them aggressive.)