The surgery can be performed anytime over the age of 8 weeks, but we generally recommend waiting until four to six months of age. Cats usually do not reach puberty before 6 months.
It is not better for a cat to go through a heat cycle or have a litter before being spayed. A spay is an ovariohysterectomy — the ovaries and uterus are removed.
Male cats generally do not spray before reaching puberty. The smell of their urine and undesirable marking behavior is prevented with neutering. When a male cat is neutered, the testicles are removed.