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A kitten’s heartwarming rescue by postal worker Joseph Waldherr leads to $717,5000 lottery win

Small act of kindness also brought “Peaches” to his forever home

Olympia, Wash. (August 24, 2023) – Joseph Waldherr’s determination to rescue a meowing kitten led to an unexpected $717,500 triumph from Washington’s Lottery.

It all started when Joseph, a postal worker from Tacoma, got to work and heard a kitten meowing. Unable to ignore the cries, he looked for the tiny creature but was unable to locate the source of the noise. Joseph returned the next day and heard the meowing again. With newfound determination he found the kitten, which he pulled out carefully from the tight space it was stuck in. He put the kitten in the pocket of his sweatshirt, where it slept for the rest of his shift. Feeling lucky to have found the kitten, Joseph decided to wrap up his day by stopping at his local convenience store to purchase a Hit 5 ticket before heading home to his wife with the kitten in hand.

A few days later after remembering he had bought a Hit 5 ticket on his way home, Joseph and his wife scanned the ticket. Joseph thought something was wrong when the message “See Lottery Office” appeared across his phone screen. The couple scanned the ticket again and received the same message. Checking a third time, Joseph looked up the winning numbers online and realized it was their ticket that had won big!

The couple couldn’t help but attribute their new fortune to the rescued kitten they decided to keep, who they named “Peaches” because of her peach-colored cheeks.

After claiming their prize, the couple took Joseph’s father, whose birthday was right around the corner, and his mother, brother, and sister-in-law to dinner to celebrate.

With his new fortune, Joseph plans to save some of the money while also helping his parents with their home so they can continue to retire peacefully. He also plans to make donations to several charities as he said, “My wife and I have everything we need. We just want to help others.”

Hit 5 is a Washington state lottery game that replaced Quinto in 2007. Each play is $1. Players pick five numbers between 1 and 42. Alternatively, players may use Quick Pick by letting the computer select their numbers. With four winning ball combinations, the more numbers that match those drawn, the more a player will win.

Making a Difference in Washington State
Since 1982, Washington’s Lottery has generated more than $4.5 billion to support several important state programs, including providing much-needed funds for the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account (WOPA). In FY21, WOPA received $185.7 million from the Lottery, enough to pay college tuition for more than 18,000 Washington residents. It also provided approximately 25% of the annual budget for the state’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, which provides critical services to more than 15,000 children at 440 locations across Washington.

Washington’s Lottery Beneficiary Fact – April 2022
Washington’s Lottery is very proud to be a financial supporter of the state’s Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program (ECEAP). The $40 million annual investment the lottery makes in ECEAP has lasting effects. Children who participate in ECEAP are more likely to be kindergarten-ready than non-participants, and those who participate five or more hours per day are especially prepared in reading and math.* Children in state-funded pre-K programs like ECEAP see long-lasting positive effects, including increased grade progression, high school graduation and college enrollment.**

About Washington’s Lottery: The state’s Lottery offers consumers several types of games, including Mega Millions, Powerball, Lotto, Hit 5, Match 4, Pick 3, Daily Keno and Scratch. For more information, visit or find us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at @walottery.

Keep it fun. Know your limit. Washington’s Lottery is an advocate for responsible gaming and collaborates with the Evergreen Council for Problem Gambling to provide resources for those in need. More information is available at


Press Contacts
Dan Miller (Curator on behalf of Washington’s Lottery)

Xiamara Garza (Curator on behalf of Washington’s Lottery)


* Early Learning Feedback Report.

** Boston Public Schools Department of Early Childhood. (n.d.). Boston universal pre-K. Retrieved June 9, 2021, from