Italian cat inherits over $15 million fortune

London: An Italian cat has turned world’s third richest animal by inheriting her owner’s fortune of over $15 million after the wealthy lady died aged 94.

Maria Assunta, the cat’s owner, died last month aged 94 and according to lawyers entrusted with her estate, she left the fortune in property to Tommasino, a stray cat she had found and looked after because of her love for animals, the Daily Mail reported.

Assunta had a large property portfolio with homes and villas across the country, as well as several bulging bank accounts and share portfolios but no living relatives.

The world’s richest animal is thought to be Gunter, a German shepherd with over 90 million pounds. In 1988, British recluse Ben Rea left his fortune of 9 million pounds to his cat Blackie.

Lawyers Anna Orecchioni and Giacinto Canzona say Assunta left the fortune to Tommasino in a will she wrote and deposited with them in their office in Rome in October 2009.

Orecchioni, however, explained that under the Italian law, Tommassino is not entitled to inherit the money directly and the will also asked for the money to be given to a “worthy animal association, if one could be found”.

But, she said, a suitable organisation couldn’t be found.

Orecchioni said: “Then earlier this year, Maria told us about her nurse called Stefania who looked after her and who like her had a love of animals, and in particular, cats. We also could find no living relatives of her at all anywhere.”

“In the end we decided that Stefania was the most suitable person to administer the money that Maria had left in her will.”