Imagine a world in which you did not have to work a standard 9-5 office job all because your pet was the big money-earner of your home. You would not, of course, be able to merely sit back and collect on your pet’s earnings. There would probably be some travel involved. You would be tasked with keeping that pet healthy and looking its best. You would, after all, want to get the best for and from your pet during the time that it is making money. There will sadly come a day when all you will have from that pet will be past earnings and also the memories that you and your pet created over the years.
Not all of the animals that are mentioned in this piece became rich because they were celebrities featured in television shows and movies. Some were merely lucky enough to “inherit” great wealth from owners who wanted to make sure that their pets were able to lead luxurious existences. Others, however, had to earn money by working different gigs. Time released its list of the richest pets of all time in October of 2015. You may be surprised to learn that the list includes more than just dogs and cats. It is a cat, however, that tops out the list; assuming that Time was correct in its findings, of course.
“Rich Bitch” was the headline that the New Yorker ran following the passing of real estate developer Leona Helmsley. While humorous in nature, those two words also turned out to be quite accurate. Years before Helmsley passed away, she set aside what has been reported to be $12 million all so that her Maltese Terrier named Trouble would continue to live a rich life after Helmsley’s death. Helmsley passed away in 2007, but it would turn out that Trouble would not be receiving $12 million after her owner’s death. As Cara Buckely of the NY Times explained, a judge decreased that inheritance to $2 million. That’s still good money if you can get it.
Miami heiress Gail Posner owned what Metro once referred to as the “the most pampered dog of the world.” Posner saw no reason why that should end she because she would not live forever. Posner, according to Mark Maremont and Leslie Scism of Wall Street Journal, made sure that her chihuahua would be well taken care of upon her passing. Following Posner’s death in 2010, Conchita and also two other dogs inherited the mansion that had belonged to the heiress. That mansion was, per the WSJ piece, worth over $8 million. Posner also left a $3 million trust fund for her pooch.
Maria Assunta was a widow when she passed away at the age of 94 years old in 2011. While she had no children, she was the owner of a cat named Tommaso. Assunta, as explained by Kevin Dolak of ABC News, became concerned about the future of her cat during her final years. She then came up with a brilliant idea: Leave her fortune in a way that would ensure that Tommaso would be just fine in the event of her passing. That cat, who was once a stray, inherited what was reported at the time to be $13 million. Talk about your rags-to-riches story.
7. Toby Rimes
The story of Toby Rimes is fascinating. For starters, people have been unable to decide if the poodle’s first name was actually “Toby” or “Tobey.” New York owner Ella Wendel loved her dog so much that she left her fortune to her poodle. Wendel never married before her passing in 1931. The amount of money that was left to Rimes, as explained in a post on the Lisa Unleashed website, has been debated. As the story goes, million upon millions of dollars have, over the decades, been left to descendants of that poodle, all of which have been named Toby/Tobey Rimes. Is it all real or just an urban legend? You decide.
6. Gunther IV
Multiple websites, including Time and Dogtime.com, list Gunther IV as the richest dog in history. According to the story, Countess Karlotta Libenstein of Germany left her entire estate to her dog. That dog eventually gave birth to Gunther IV. The estate was, per Time, worth around $80 million when the Countess passed away in 1991. Both Time and Dogtime.com claim that investors have grown the fortune to be worth over $370 million. You may recognize the name, as investors for Gunther IV once bought a Miami mansion that had been owned by Madonna. Should Gunther IV be atop the list? Maybe not, as Reader’s Digest once claimed that some believe the whole story to be a “publicity stunt.”
There are apparently some disagreements on which cat truly is the richest in history. Guinness World Records gives that distinction to a cat named Blackie. Blackie belonged to Ben Rea, who passed away in 1988. According to the Guinness World Records post, Rea left what was around $12.5 million at the time of his death to the last surviving pet of his 15 cats. The antiques dealer also donated money to multiple cat charities. That wealth that Blackie acquired upon the passing of Rea may not be equal to the amount of money that a more-famous cat has managed to earn over the past several years.
What you may think would make for a delicious entree could be a pet for a different person. British publishing tycoon Miles Blackwell lost his wife in 2000, and thus he had to decide who would inherit his millions when he departed the earth. We learned what he chose after he passed away in 2001. Blackwell, according to a Reader’s Digest piece, left $10 million to his pet chicken Gigoo. The Time piece claims that Gigoo was given what would be closer to $15 million today. Blackwell also, per the Time article, gave quite a bit of money to charity.
3. Grumpy Cat
You have seen her featured in Internet memes. She has even been the “star” of her own movie. She is affectionately known by fans as “Grumpy Cat,” the feline who always seems to be either distressed or even disgusted by her surroundings. It had been suggested by a British tabloid that the pet who is known as Tarder Sauce by her owner was worth around $100 million. That value, according to the USA Today, was called “completely inaccurate” by owner Tabatha Bundesen in December 2014. Bundesen has not been willing to disclose just how much she has made off of her famous pet, but there is no doubt that she has done well to cash-in on Grumpy Cat.
Let this be a lesson to anybody who believes that it is wise to cut ties with certain family members. Brajesh Srivastava and his wife Shabista were, per the BBC, shunned by their families because of their inter-faith marriage. The couple have no children, but the two of them did purchase a pet monkey years ago. That monkey, according to the BBC story, is set to inherit what is referred to as a “fortune” since the couple has nobody else to give their property when they are no longer around. Their pet monkey may have to share its wealth, though, as the couple arranged a wedding ceremony for their friend and a female monkey back in 2010.
Fashion designer and industry icon Karl Lagerfeld loves his cat. He really, really loves his cat. While speaking with NY Mag for a story that was published in March of 2015, Lagerfeld claimed that his beloved Choupette made 3 million euros last year off of a pair of jobs. That is not all that Lagerfeld had to say about Choupette:
She is like a human being, but the good thing is that she’s silent. You don’t have to discuss it. She hates other animals and she hates children. She stays always with me and she has two personal maids. They play with her, they have to take care of her beautiful white hair, the beauty treatments for her eyes, and they entertain her. She is the center of the world. If you saw her, you would understand. She is kind of Greta Garbo.