Essex: Stray black cat turned out to be lucky when couple won lottery

Essex: Stray black cat turned out to be lucky when couple won lottery

A formerly stray cat is living the high life after being adopted by a couple six months before winning the lottery

Black cats aren’t that unlucky after all, say Tony and Deb Pearce (Image: PA)

A formerly stray black cat is living the high life after being adopted by a couple six months before winning the lottery.

Tony, 71, and Deb Pearce, 63, began supporting Billy when they ran into financial difficulties.

The Essex couple feared they would have to sell their home after falling into debt in 2017 – until they hit £1million in the National Lottery.

Black cats are rumored to be unlucky, but they say nothing could be further from the truth.

These days, pet owners jump through hoops for Billy’s special catering whim while he vacations with them at their second home in Norfolk.

Deb has jokingly said that she wonders, “Who is the National Lottery millionaire here?”

But there’s no doubt that she and Tony have also been enjoying their newfound wealth – spending it on vacations and their dream wedding.

“When Billy showed up, we were on the verge of selling our beloved home and becoming strays ourselves,” Deb explained.

Billy is now very particular about his needs (Picture: PA)

The couple were facing financial difficulties when they met Billy (Image: PA)

“Tony had stopped working for health reasons and we were heavily in debt.

“It looked like our only option was to go into a rental apartment. Six months after Billy’s arrival, lucky fairy struck and our lives changed forever.

“We could stay in our house and remodel it into our own perfect piece of heaven.

“We have enjoyed the holidays and bought a flat in Norfolk closer to home, a place we have always enjoyed spending time and where the whole family can have fun.

‘To top it off, we finally said yes to our dream wedding.’

Billy, who is believed to be 8 years old, has been diagnosed with diabetes which means he has been put on a tailored hypoallergenic diet.

“Apart from being on call for his twice-daily injections, we also jump through hoops for his catering whim,” Deb said.

“Maybe it’s because of his time as a stray that he must have had a very varied diet, but now we need to have a variety of food for him.

“If he has the same taste for more than three days, he will wrinkle his nose, and while he’s enjoying the chicken and vegetable menu, Billy doesn’t like the peas.

Billy is ready for Christmas (Image: PA)

“I find myself rummaging through his food, picking out the peas and wondering who’s the National Lottery millionaire around here?”

Tony said they bought a “huge van” for Billy to take them to their Norfolk holiday home “so he has room to move around on the trip”.

He said: “Now when the porter comes out of the attic, he hops in as if to say, ‘Come on, let’s go!'”

“To ensure Norfolk is a home away from home he has exactly the same set up there as he has in Essex and that level of attention seems to suit him well.

“He arrives, sniffs around the patio for a bit, then calms down like he’s never been away.

“When I pay the vet bill or Billy’s special diet, which costs more than our annual trip to the Savoy, I can’t help but think that maybe Billy is lucky too.

“It’s not a bad life for a Southend stray who clearly showed up at the right door at the right time and proved to us that black cats are indeed lucky!”

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