We hear about millionaires — and billionaires — quite frequently. But less often do we hear about pet millionaires. They do, however, exist. Since 1923, when the first reported case of a pet inheritance was affirmed in Willett vs. Willett, pets have been receiving money. Sometimes quite a lot of money. Here are seven dogs and seven cats (in particular order) that are probably richer than you:
Some of the World’s Richest Dogs
These dogs know how to live the high life. Seriously. They give a whole new meaning to the phrase “being treated like a dog.”
- Gunther IV, the German Shepherd: This dog actually received his inheritance from his father, Gunther III, a German Shepherd who received an inheritance from Karlotta Liebenstein, a German countess. Gunther IV has bought a Miami villa from Madonna and won a rare white truffle in an auction. Learn more about Gunther IV on a Web site devoted to him and those he hangs out with. He’s worth about $372 million right now, thanks to his growing trust fund.
- Oprah’s dogs: Oprah Winfrey has several animals, including some dogs. She wants to make sure that her dogs are cared for when she is gone. Her will specifies that that her dogs receive $30 million for their care. (Just a drop in the bucket when you look at the billions Oprah is worth.) True, that money will be split amongst all dogs that she has, but even so, each and every one is probably richer than you are. They’re definitely richer than I am.
- Trouble Helmsley: New York’s “Queen of Mean”, Leona Helmsley, famously cut her grandchildren out of her will, but left her Maltese terrier $12 million. However, a judge knocked $10 million off that amount, so that brings the amount to $2 million. Additionally, Trouble will be not be so well taken care of after death, as the dog can’t be buried in the Helmsley mausoleum, due to cemetary requirements and state law.
- Flossie: Drew Barrymore’s yellow Labrador retriever and chow mix, Flossie, has been left a home. Flossie awakened Barrymore and then-boyfriend Tom Green when a fire raged through the home. Barrymore amended her will to leave the home, valued at $3 million, to Flossie in return for this possibly life-saving deed.
- Tina and Kate: These two collie crosses received $1 million for their care upon the death of their owner Nora Hardwell. In addition to the provision for their care, Tina and Kate also enjoy unlimited use of the lovely home Hardwell occupied near Bath, England, in a town called Peasedown St. John. The home comes with five acres, so these millionaire dogs have plenty of room to run.
- Jasper and Jason: These dogs live in luxury, since the death of their owner. Jasper is a Labrador and Doberman mix. He was destined for euthanization after being abandoned. However, Diana Myburgh, a brewery heiress, rescued him. Jason is a Whippet. They were both given trust funds of $50,000. As you might imagine, now their funds have more than tripled. It may not be $1 million, but it’s still a hefty fund. Besides, they own a 1,236 acre estate that is worth waaaaaay more than $1 million, and enjoy the finest steaks prepared by a personal chef and ride around in a stretch limo.
- Tobey Rimes: A reclusive poodle who is worth $92 million. Tobey descends from a poodle who inherited $30 million from his New York owner, Ella Wendel, who died in 1931. Now Tobey is the poster dog for the benefits of trust funds and compounding interest. He makes #3 the list of richest pets ever, behind Gunther IV and a chimp named Kalu.
Some of the World’s Richest Cats
Cats already think that they are royalty. This list of cats rich enough to live like royalty is likely only to increase this feeling of pet entitlement.
- Tinker: This is the classic rags-to-riches story. Tinker was a stray, regularly visiting Margaret Layne, an old widow. In return for Tinker’s loyalty, he was awarded a fortune. There is a $226,000 trust fund for Tinker, as well as a new home — worth about $800,000. Tinker has been joined by two lovely female cats, Lucky and Stardust. Of course, if Tinker returns to his wandering ways, the will strips him of his money.
- Beryl Reid’s Cats: Beryl Reid was an actress. She had a lovely $1.8 million cottage. She was also famous for her love of cats. So, when she died, her cats Hamish, Boon, Eileen, Coco and Tuffnel inherited. A friend was commissioned to look after them as they lived in their house.
- Lola, The Millionaire Cat: This cat isn’t a millionaire — yet. While the other cats on this list inherited their wealth, The Millionaire cat is trying to earn money through blogging. The Millionaire Cat has a blog that shows videos of this entrepreneur doing every day cat things. The Millionaire Cat is taking donations via PayPal, and hoping for enough money to become a millionaire. It’s an interesting concept, but, unfortunately, this cat hasn’t got a cent yet.
- Red: A tabby cat who kept bachelor David Harper company. When Harper died, he left is $1.1 million estate to Red. The cat is cared for the United Church of Canada, and will enjoy the benefits of the best food, bedding and medical care for the rest of his life.
- Blackie: When British recluse Ben Rea died, he left $15 million to various cat charities — and to his cat Blackie. Rea left nothing to his relatives, however. Everything went to Blackie and to help cat charities. We don’t have a picture of Blackie, who seems to be as reclusive as his owner, but here is a picture of a black cat enjoying life.
- Fluffy: Mary Burton was a church organist in Great Paxton, Cambridgeshire, Enlgand. She left her entire estate to the Wood Green Animal Shelter, provided her cat — a ginger tom — was well cared for. Fluffy, the ginger tom, received $60,000, plus the ability to live in the house and be well cared for. His diet was even specified: steamed cod, lean roast beef, milk, frexh pilchards and vegetables. Fluffy also requires plenty of sun and relaxation. He’s probably not worth quite $1 million, but Fluffy lies better than a lot of humans. This is what Fluffy likely looks like (we couldn’t find a picture) — a regular ginger tom.
- Brownie and Hellcat: These felines each received $415,000 in the 1960s when their owner, Dr. William Grier, died. Charlie Chan, another cat beneficiary of Grier, received $250,000. The legacies of Brownie and Hellcat live on, even though they are dead; each legacy is now worth $4.1 million. Not bad. I don’t know what Brownie and Hellcat looked like, but the cat pictured here is definitely living the high life.