Lucky Lotto winnners like cats

02:08, Oct 03 2010

HAVING A cat could improve your chances of winning Lotto - by a whisker.

A survey released today by New Zealand Lotteries shows 39 percent of big Lotto winners have cats, making felines the most popular pets among lucky Lotto winners. Dogs are second but way behind with only 27 percent of big winners preferring man's best friend to moggies.

"Our new Lotto campaign features a heroic dog called Wilson, so we were inspired to find out how many of our winners had pets, and what the favourites were, so we went out and asked some of our big winners," said NZ Lotteries chief executive Todd McLeay.

"It may come as no surprise to hear cats and dogs are the most common pets owned by Lotto winners, but there were some more interesting results - rabbits, a rat, chickens, a chinchilla, and even a miniature horse," he said.

Lucky Canturbury Lotto winner Sue Hooton, who won $2.3 million in 2007, owned two cats when she bought her winning ticket, but has since expanded her menagerie to include five cats and 12 chickens.

"My daughters call me the mad cat lady," she said.

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Since her win she and her husband have bought new cars, paid off their mortgage and renovated their Prebbleton home, helped out their children financially, and taken Hooton's 85-year- old mum on a trip to meet long-lost relatives in Sweden.

"I've also been able to indulge my love of diamonds, too," she said.

She and her husband - who got a speeding ticket racing to claim their prize - initially thought they had won $500,000. It was only when the ticket was checked that it became clear they had won $2.3m.

Hooton said her husband was still working fulltime but she had given up her job in sales 12 months after the win and was now spending her days growing vegetables for the family, making wine and writing.

Sunday Star Times