It sounds like the plot for a novel or movie. A homeless wanderer leaves a life of poverty after befriending a wealthy elderly woman. She, in return for his providing her companionship in her declining years, decides to leave him her entire fortune. The former vagrant then becomes an instant millionaire.
For one fortunate resident of Rome, the story is a reality. Tomassino, a 4-year-old former stray cat, has recently inherited the entire fortune of his former owner, Maria Assunta. Several years ago, Ms. Assunta picked the cat up from the streets of Rome and took him into her home. With her husband dead and no remaining family member to inherit her property, Ms. Assunta decided to leave her entire $13 million estate to the fortunate feline.
Technically, Tomassino does not own the property because Italian law does not allow for it. So, Ms. Assunta left her wealth to her former nurse, a fellow cat lover, with the condition that the nurse would care for the former stray. The nurse, called only Stefania, and Tomassino are purportedly residing somewhere in Italy, though their exact whereabouts are unknown.
If the idea that an animal could become a multi-millionaire is surprising, you should know that Tomassino is only the third-wealthiest animal in the world. The top spot is currently held by Gunter IV, a German Shepherd who inherited roughly $370 million from his heiress owner Countess Karlotta Liebenstein.
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