My confusion lies in that the number of protons in the nucleus will increase but is the number of electrons assumed to automatically follow suit such that the result is a neutral atom with equal numbers of electrons and protons? Shouldn't the expected result rather be a cation?
An element is defined by the number of protons in the nucleus; a change in the number of protons is a change in the element. The chemical characteristics are determined by the number of protons. Isotopes of an element have different number of neutrons, same number of protons. An ion will eventually capture electrons to become neutral.