by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals
Tags: , .

While the Occupy Movement continues, it has become apparent that the world of pets has a wealthy 1% too. It remains to be seen whether or not the 99% of family pets will stage an uprising.

Tommaso, the cat whose human friend died and left him with $13 million, is among the wealthiest of pets, but his story is of rags to riches.

A black cat that looks identical to Tommaso. Photo credit: Flickr/navink

According to Good Morning America, Tommaso was a 4-year-old stray cat wandering the streets of Rome when he was rescued by the late Maria Assunta. In her will, she left him with “properties in Rome, Milan and land in Calabria” along with her millions. The widow of a property tycoon and with no children, Assunta asked her lawyers to “identify an animal welfare association or group to which to leave the estate and the commitment of looking after Tommaso.”

A German Shepherd that looks like Gunther IV. Photo credit: Flickr/will_brenner

With his $13 million fortune, Tommaso is only number three on the list of the richest pets, believe it or not. The number one spot belongs to Gunther IV, who has inherited $372 million. The fortune was originally left to his father, Gunther III by German Countess Karlotta Libenstein. Gunther even owns Madonna’s former mansion in Miami.

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Number two is Kalu the chimp. According to the Daily Mail, Kalu was found by Patricia O’Neill, daughter of the Countess of Kenmore and Olympic champion swimmer Frank O’Neill, tied to a tree amidst war in Zaire. The chimp, who O’Neill says was “terrified and traumatized” when rescued,  lives on her estate in South Africa, and was set to inherit $80 million. The heiress now claims that her fortune has been stolen, and while Kalu is still the benefactor of her will, it is unknown how much will be left to him.

Screen grab via CBS News

You may have heard of number four, hotel heiress Leona Helmsley‘s dog Trouble. When Helmsley died in 2007, she left Trouble with $12 million. According to ABC News, a judge later ruled that the beloved dog would only receive $2 million. Before Trouble died last year, there were many threats to kidnap him, leading to the hiring of Trouble’s full-time security guard.

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Last but not least is Flossie, the former canine companion of Drew Barrymore. The rescued dog returned the kindness by saving Barrymore and then-boyfriend Tom Green from a fire that destroyed their Beverly Hills home in 1998. According to People, a publicist for the actress said “Flossie barked and literally banged on (Drew and Tom’s) bedroom door. She was really the main alert.” Flossie died last year, but after the dog’s act of heroism, Barrymore added into her will that her $3 million house would be left to her beloved canine, according to Dogs In The News.

My animal companions are pretty spoiled, but so far, I don’t have any millions to leave them. These stories always seem to be followed by accusations of insanity and selfishness, and questions as to why these fortunes weren’t left to human relatives or charity organizations. What do you think; would you leave your fortune to your family pet?

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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