Tommaso, the former stray cat from Rome, is the world’s richest cat.
Since the death of his 94-year-old staff last month, he has become a property magnate — or perhaps mognate — with flats and houses worth millions scattered from Milan in the north to Calabria in the south.
Tommaso’s staff person and primary carer was the childless widow of a successful builder. She searched for a suitable animal welfare organisation to which she could leave her fortune, but she couldn’t find one that guaranteed the loving care she wanted for her precious cat.
One afternoon she met a fellow cat-admirer – named only as Stefania – in a park. “Sometimes I’d go to her house so my cat could play with Tommaso,” Stefania said.
As the old lady became increasingly frail, Stefania, a nurse, began to take care of her.
Under Italian law, animals cannot inherit directly. But they can be beneficiaries if a suitable trustee is found. The elderly widow decided to entrust the cat – and his fortune – to Stefania.
Tommaso’s trustee, who is now looking after him an undisclosed address outside Rome, said: “I had no idea the signora had such wealth.”
But the fortune pales by comparison with that of Gunther IV, an Alsatian who inherited from his father Gunther III, the pet of a German countess. According to the Pet Gazette, he is worth around $372m.
The richest cat was previously thought to be Blackie, who was left $9 million by his reclusive British owner in 1988.