Feline Infections Peritonitis (FIP) appears to be caused by stress so can be more common in households where there are a number of cats.
The disease cannot be treated by pet medication to cure it, so the Blue Cross has issued advice on the symptoms of the disease to make owners aware.
FIP is caused by a common virus called feline coronavirus which causes mild illnesses such as diarrhoea. In some rare cases it can become serious and become fatal. FIP is also more common in pedigree cats.
"Signs really vary because they are the consequence of immune reactions which can happen anywhere in the body, but they include fits, jaundice, staggering or a swollen belly filled with fluid to name a few," the charity said.
The charity added that just because a cat has feline coronaviruses, this does not mean it will develop FIP. It occurs in less than one per cent of cats seen by vets.