A woman who died in Italy last month has left her beloved pet cat a whopping $13.3 million fortune in her will, making it now the world's richest cat and third richest animal.
How lucky can a cat get? A 4-year-old stray cat that was rescued from the streets of Rome has inherited a $13 million fortune from its owner, the wealthy widow of an Italian property tycoon.World's richest cat: $13 million
Maria Assunta left the fortune to her beloved kitty Tommaso when she died two weeks ago at the age of 94. The feline's newfound riches include cash, as well as properties in Rome, Milan and land in Calabria.
As her health began to fail two years ago, Assunta, who had no children, began to seek out a way to see that Tommaso was properly cared for after she died. In November 2009, she bequeathed her entire estate to the alley cat that she rescued.
Assunta initially wanted to leave her riches to an animal welfare association or group that would commit itself to taking care of Tommaso. She was not able to find any association that would satisfy her, so she decided to leave all her riches to the cat.From stray cat in Rome to world's wealthiest car
Under Italian law, Tommaso however is not entitled to inherit the money directly, but Assunta was able to name a trustee to care for the black male kitty. That person has only been identified as Stefania, the 94-year-old woman's nurse.
"She had become very fond towards the nurse who assisted her," Anna Orecchioni, one of the lawyers for Assunta who now act as the lawyer for the cat, told Il Messaggero newspaper. Stefania met the older woman in a park and was hired to take care of her.
"We're convinced that Stefania is the right person to carry out the old lady's wishes. She loves animals just like the woman she devoted herself to right up until the end."Kalu the Chimp: world's 2nd richest animal, $80 million
Stefania told the Telegraph that she had no idea the woman that she was caring for was so incredibly wealthy.
"The old lady suffered from loneliness," the nurse said. "She looked after that cat more than you'd look after a son. Assunta had no living relatives.
"I promised her that I would look after the cat when she was no longer around. She wanted to be sure that Tommaso would be loved and cuddled. But I never imagined that she had this sort of wealth," she said. "She was very discreet and quite. I knew very little of her private life. She only told me that she had suffered from loneliness a lot."
Tommaso and Stefania are now living outside Rome at an address that is undisclosed, so to avoid con artists and potential kidnappers.Gunther IV, world richest animal, $372 million
The windfall for Tommaso places him No.3 on the list of wealthy animals, behind Kalu the chimp, whose owner left him $80 million dollars, and top dog Gunther IV, a German shepherd who inherited $372 million dollars from its father Gunther III, a beloved companion of an eccentric German countess.
Real estate billionaire Leona Helmsley famously left $12 million to her little dog Trouble in 2007, although her human descendents contested the will, and Trouble's pot was cut to $2 million.