Cat's PYJAMAS | 

Struggling UK couple scoop £1m Lotto prize after adopting lucky black cat Billy

"When Billy appeared we were close to selling our beloved home and becoming strays ourselves”

Billy, who is thought to be eight years old, as a lottery-winning couple are striving to please the "lucky" stray cat who moved into their home six months before they scooped £1 million. Photo: National Lottery/PA Wire© PA

Billy the cat with Tony Pearce, 71 and his wife Deb Pearce, 63© PA

Billy, who is thought to be eight years old, as a lottery-winning couple are striving to please the "lucky" stray cat who moved into their home six months before they scooped £1 million. Photo: PA/National Lottery© PA

Billy the lucky Lottery cat. Photo: National Lottery/PA Wire © PA

Sam Russell, PAPA Media

A lottery-winning couple are striving to please the "lucky" stray cat who moved into their home six months before they scooped £1 million.

Tony Pearce, 71, and his 63-year-old wife Deb Pearce started to feed Billy the black cat at a time when they were in financial difficulty.

Shortly afterwards, the pair, of Southend, Essex, won £1 million on the National Lottery in 2017 and their pet Billy has shared in their wealth.

Billy, who is thought to be eight years old, holidays with the couple at their second home in Norfolk, has a "huge carrier" so he can move around while travelling and enjoys a selection of food to pick from.

Mrs Pearce said: "Some people say black cats are unlucky, I'd say nothing could be further from the truth!

Billy the cat with Tony Pearce, 71 and his wife Deb Pearce, 63© PA

"When Billy appeared we were close to selling our beloved home and becoming strays ourselves.

"Tony had stopped working due to ill health and we were in serious debt.

"It looked like our only option was to go into rented accommodation then, six months after Billy arrived, lady luck struck and our lives changed for good.

"We were able to stay in our home and renovate it into our own perfect slice of heaven.

"We've enjoyed holidays away and, closer to home, bought a place in Norfolk, somewhere we have always loved spending time and somewhere the whole family can enjoy.

"To top it off, we finally said 'I do' at our dream wedding."

Billy is now part of the family and the couple have spared no expense in looking after him, paying for twice daily insulin injections after he was diagnosed with diabetes and putting him on a tailored hypoallergenic diet.

Billy, who is thought to be eight years old, as a lottery-winning couple are striving to please the "lucky" stray cat who moved into their home six months before they scooped £1 million. Photo: PA/National Lottery© PA

"Aside from having us on call for his twice-daily injections, we also jump through hoops for his catering whims," said Mrs Pearce.

"Perhaps it's due to his days as a stray when he must have enjoyed a very varied diet, but now we have to keep a selection of food for him.

"If he has more than three days on the same flavour, he turns up his nose and while he enjoys the chicken and vegetable meal, Billy doesn't like the peas.

"I find myself rooting through his food, picking out the peas and wondering who is the National Lottery millionaire around here?!"

Mr Pearce said he bought a "huge carrier" for Billy to travel with them to their Norfolk holiday home "so he has space to move about on the journey".

"I thought he might find it too stressful the first time but he settled down and slept the whole way," he said.

Billy the lucky Lottery cat. Photo: National Lottery/PA Wire © PA

"Now, whenever the carrier comes out of the loft he hops in as if to say 'come on, let's get going!'

"To make sure Norfolk is a home from home, he has the exact same set-up there as he has in Essex and this level of attention seems to suit him well.

"He arrives, has a little sniff around the decking and then settles down as though he's never been away.

"When I find myself paying the bill for vet care or Billy's specialist diet, that comes in at more than our annual trip to The Savoy, I can't help thinking that it might be Billy who is also lucky.

"It's not a bad life for a Southend stray who clearly turned up on the right doorstep at the right time and proved to us that black cats are in fact lucky!"


Today's Headlines

More World News

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos