Meet "The Wisp" a cat from across the street. He slips through his woods, crosses the only paved road near Pure Florida, and hunts on my land.
We don't get along.
When I set my HavaHart trap in the fenced in corral that hides my trash cans, I sometimes catch him.
Now, if he were feral ... if I truly knew that, he'd be at the pound by now. That's the nicest thing I would do for a feral cat, I have zero tolerance for them. (Calm down catophiles, I would never hurt a cat, but I would send them to their probable doom at the pound ... I'd send the delinquent owner who dropped them off too!)
The Wisp isn't feral, he belongs to someone in the woodsy neighborhood across the street. I'm sure they love him and he brings them great joy.
When he shows up in my live trap, I always give him a good bath with the hose before letting him go. He scampers off wet and muddy and I cross my fingers hoping that cats are smart enough to associate a place (mine) with discomfort (a bath) and thus avoid that place.
It doesn't seem to have any long term effect on The Wisp though.
I think what's wrong here is that I am using dog logic. A dog would say, "Man, that was unpleasant, I think I'll not go there again. Where's my ball?"
Cats appear to have short memories or maybe they secretly DO ENJOY cold hose baths ... hmmmmm .