February 3, 2023

A formerly stray cat lives the high life after being taken in by a couple six months before they won the lottery

After all, black cats aren’t so unlucky, say Tony and Deb Pearce (Photo: PA)

A formerly stray black cat lives the high life after being taken in by a couple six months before they won the lottery.

Tony, 71, and Deb Pearce, 63, started feeding Billy at a time when they were in financial trouble.

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

Rumor has it that black cats are bad luck, but according to them nothing could be further from the truth.

Today, pet owners are “jumping through hoops” for Billy’s specialist catering grills, as he vacations with them at their second home in Norfolk.

Deb joked that she wondered ‘who is the National Lottery millionaire here?’

But there’s no question that she and Tony have also enjoyed their newfound wealth – spending on vacations and their dream wedding.

“When Billy showed up, we were about to sell our beloved home and become strays ourselves,” Deb explained.

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

The couple had financial problems when they met Billy (Picture: PA)

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

“It seemed like our only option was to move into a rental when, six months after Billy arrived, luck struck and changed our lives forever.

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

‘We’ve enjoyed holidays away and, closer to home, bought a house in Norfolk, somewhere we’ve always enjoyed spending time and where all the family can enjoy.

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

Billy, believed to be 8, has been diagnosed with diabetes, meaning he’s been placed on a tailored hypoallergenic diet.

“In addition to being available for his twice-daily injections, we also jump through hoops for his catering needs,” said Deb.

‘Perhaps it is because of his wandering days that he must have enjoyed a very varied diet, but now we must save a selection of foods for him.

“If he has the same taste for more than three days, he turns up his nose and while enjoying the chicken and vegetable meal, Billy doesn’t like the peas.

Billy is ready for Christmas (Picture: PA)

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

Tony said they bought a ‘huge carriage’ for Billy to travel with to their holiday home in Norfolk ‘so he has room to move around during the journey’.

He said, ‘Now every time the porter comes out of the cage, he jumps in as if to say ‘come on, let’s go!’

‘To make sure Norfolk is a home from home, he has exactly the same setup there as he does in Essex and this level of attention seems to suit him well.

‘He arrives, sniffs around on the terrace and then lies down as if he had never been away.

“When I find myself footing the bill for vet care or Billy’s specialized diet, which adds up to more than our annual trip to The Savoy, I can’t help thinking that maybe Billy is in luck too.

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

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