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6 Cats Who Inherited Fortunes

Two Tennessee cats got a house and pile of money, but they're not the only “fat cats” in recent history.

 |  Dec 5th 2013  |   8 Contributions


Last month, Frisco and Jake became wealthy kitties. When their owner, Leon Sheppard Sr., passed away, he left his huge house and $250,000 to his feline buddies.

“His will states the money should be used for the care of Frisco and Jake and the maintenance of this house they live in,” says a report from WMC-TV.

You might think this is odd -- and it is -- but it’s certainly not unique. Here are facts about five other cats who inherited fortunes when their owners died.

1. Tommaso

This four-year-old cat was born on the streets of Rome, but when he was rescued by Maria Assunta, he went from rags to riches. Even after Assunta’s death in 2011, Tommaso continues to live in luxury, because she left her entire $13-million estate to her beloved feline friend and instructions to find an animal welfare charity to look after his care.

2. Red

When reclusive lifelong bachelor and gardener David Harper passed away in 2005, he left is $1.3-million estate to the United Church of Canada ... but with one stipulation: The church had to take care of his ginger tabby cat, Red. The bequest provides $80 per month for the cat’s care and feeding for the rest of his life, and the church also has to cover Red’s veterinary bills.

3. Tinker

Another former stray kitty, a black tom by the name of Tinker, made friends with rich widow Margaret Layne. When she passed away in 2003, Tinker inherited Layne’s $800,000 house and a $226,000 trust fund for his care. She also left a sizable chunk of change to her former neighbors so that they could take care of Tinker.

4. Nicholas

British singer Dusty Springfield died in 1999 and bequeathed a huge but unspecified amount of money to her 13-year-old Ragdoll cat. She left very specific instructions for his care and maintenance, including that he should be fed imported American baby food and that her songs should be played for him every night before bedtime.

5. Blackie

British antiques dealer Ben Rea shared his mansion with 15 cats. By the time Rea died in 1988, only one remained: Blackie. This lucky kitty inherited half of Rea’s $25-million estate. The other half was split between three cat charities.

Even if you’re not a millionaire, it’s a very good idea to think about how you want your cats taken care of if you should die or become incapable of taking care of them. I have. I've discussed it with my friends and stated my wishes in my will. One of the beneficiaries of my employer-offered life insurance policy is the person who has agreed to be my cats' caretaker in the event of my passing.

Have you made arrangements for your cats’ care if you should die? If you haven’t, do you have some ideas about what you want for your feline friends? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts on millionaire cats or taking care of your cats after you’re gone.

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.

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