RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Wild cats roaming Black Hills communities present more than just a question of how to reduce their numbers humanely.

The list of animals that are affected when domestic cats have to fend for themselves starts with native birds and chipmunks and goes up the food chain to mountain lions.

Feline leukemia is easily transferable between domestic cats and lions. It can cause blindness long before it causes death. Starving or diseased lions are less likely to succeed at hunting their natural prey and more prone to human conflict.

The Rapid City Journal reports advocates for wild cats see programs like Trap-Neuter-Release as a humane way to reduce the number of feral cats without having to euthanize. It traps feral cats, sterilizes them and releases them back into the wild.

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