Here's the basics of what's up:
The cats seemed to have a slowly-progressing neurological disease, and to have developed it starting at a late age, the researchers said. The illness didn’t kill any of the felines, they added, but over time appeared to make their lives so miserable that some owners decided to have them put down.From that, and one other thing, here's why I suggest mad cow:
First, the where of the illness. Definitely in Scotland, possibly in northern Europe, other locations. And, the UK was the epicenter of mad cow disease. Assume that downer cows were processed into pet food at the same time the human scare was happening and possibly even illicitly after a ban on human food use of downers.
Second, the symptoms. Slowly progressing, and it's called staggering disease, too. Doesn't that sounds like a bad-prion infested "mad" cow? Does to me.