Well, you've taken the first step! It begins with caring - and then wanting to learn what to do. Congrats!
The idea of trap-neuter-release is two-fold: 1) stop the breeding of the cats, and 2) allow them to remain in their territory to prevent other strays from moving in (called the "vacuum effect."
The cats in the colony must be trapped one by one (unless you have lots of traps to set at once and lots of help to monitor and transport the traps), spayed or neutered - some organizations also have them vaccinated, others do not - and then release them back where they were trapped. The vet should be told to "ear tip" the cats - which means to take a teeney snip of the end of one ear. This way anyone involved with TNR now or in the future will know the cat has already been spayed or neutered - and you can immediately identify any cat back in a trap a second (or third) time and let it free instead of taking an unnecessary trip to the vet.
Many people set up feeding stations that are monitored, and also make sure that fresh water is available. Others go so far as to provide shelters for cold winter weather.
There are many very helpful sites out there.
Alley Cat Allies is the premier organization dedicated to education and resources for Trap-Neuter-Release programs. They are at www.alleycat.org
, and they have a fabulous resources section with information on all aspects of TNR. You can also find out if they have spay neuter clinics in your area.
The Best Friends Network help put people doing things like this together. They also have a fabulous resources section. The main site is www.bestfriends.org
, and their No More Homeless Pets campaign network is located here: http://www.bestfriends.org/nomorehom...ts/thenetwork/
Several of us from The Cat Site have worked to put together a clearing house of useful links to many other organizations that sponsor TNR. General info is at www.StrayPetAdvocacy.org
, and information and links specifically about TNR is located here: http://www.straypetadvocacy.org/html...l_control.html
If you want to search for rescue groups or other types of organizations in your area that may be able to help, type your zip code into this link at Pets 911: http://www.pets911.com/organizations/organizations.php
....and if you have any other questions, feel free to search the threads here, or just start a new one to ask any questions!