It's better to spay/neuter cats before their sexual hormones are produced. (Best time is usually when they are around 6-7 months old). These hormones order cats to mate & produce new litters & pass the genetic material to next generation ! That's the all reason for them to mate... There is no such thing as "motherhood need" ! If there was, they would care for their kitties until the end of their lives..As most people know, mother care is relatively short in cats ( and in most animals)..Male cats (usually) don't even care about their kitties !!
Cats don't "do it" to satisfy themselves, either..Female cat won't let the male near herself if she's not in heat ! ( If that wasn't the case, she would do it anyway
). It's just a duty. The purpose of mating is passing the genetic material as I said before
Spaying/neutering at an early age prevents/decreases the possibility of mammary cancer/infections/cysts etc. in females & prostate dysfunctions, urinary tract infections etc. in males..Because they won't have the hormones, they won't be looking for & aggressive about mating & giving birth & taking care of the kitties etc., so they will be better pets..
That's what I think ( though only some of it
) about spaying & neutering at an early age