18 richest animals in the world
More often than not rich lists are made up of people who don’t deserve to have money. These could be people who made the most of their 15 minutes of fame, those born rich or people who just lucked out with the lottery.
It can be depressing if you are struggling to make ends meet. Then there’s this kind of rich list, one that’s depressing but in a different kind of way. We live in a world in which quite a number of animals are richer than most people could ever dream of being.
Most countries have laws that forbid people from leaving assets to their animals following their death. However, thanks to myopic lawmakers and clever lawyers, there is a loophole. The first documented instance where a person left their wealth to an animal happened in Russia during the 1800s. Maria Leontieva, a merchant from Uglish, stipulated that 100,000 rubles (a significantly large sum at the time) was to be given to her dog Serko in the event of her death.
The precedent for leaving assets to an animal started in the U.S. with Jonathan Jackson. In 1880 he left orders that a hotel was to be built for his cats. Since 1923, it’s been legal in America for a person to leave assets to an animal. It has since become commonplace over the years with people leaving all sorts of weird valuables to their pets. Nowadays there are over a million wills throughout the U.S. that include stipulations regarding how a person wishes their pets to be treated and/or assets their pets are entitled to.
18. Silverstone the Tortoise and Porgy, Joy, Pride and Ronald the Cats
Silverstone is a tortoise worth $27,000. The 50 year old inherited his money from his former owner, a bookshop business woman named Christina Foyle, when she died in 1999. She ultimately left behind a $120,000,000 fortune.
Silverstone wasn’t the only animal left money in Foyle’s will. All up, she left $200,000 to a tradesman and his wife, Anthony and Eileen Scillitoe, for the two of them to care for her six tortoises and her collie-cross bred dog. While the dog died shortly after her owner, all the tortoises live on to enjoy their riches, being very well taken care of with those assets.
What sets Silverstone apart from his peers is that, while the other five tortoises remain with the Scillitoes, Silverstone is under the care of Foyle’s old housekeeper, Maureen Harding who pampers Silverstone more so than the Scillitoe do the five other tortoises in their care.
Foyle also left money to her cats, Porgy, Joy, Pride and Ronald, which Harding also cares for. Harding was originally left a $140,000 cottage by Foyle. Harding later sold it and bought another house where she cares for the four cats and one tortoise.
17.Tina and Kate the Dogs
Together, dogs Tina and Kate are worth over $1,000,000. The collie-crosses inherited their money when their owner, Nor Hardwell, died just one day prior to her 90th birthday. To ensure that her dogs would live out their lives in the luxury they’d been accustomed to, Hardwell left them her 5 acre property, plus $1,000,000 to spend on whatever they wished.
Her only conditions were that an aide was to be installed to oversee the animals, and keep the property clean.
16. Tinker the Cat
Tinker the cat is worth $200,000. When he was eight years old, he caught the attention of an elderly woman named Margaret Layne. When she died in 2003 at the age of 89, she had no one else that she wanted to leave her belongings to, so she left both her money and her 3-bedroom house to her cat Tinker.
A representative was appointed to ensure that Tinker would get milk and food daily. It was stipulated in Layne’s will, that the house was to stay open for either 21 years or until Tinker’s death (whichever happens first), at which point the representative inherits everything.
In a particularly odd turn of events, Tinker received death threats and harassing phone messages when the story became public. Despite the fact that Tinker’s representative had everything to gain from the death of Tinker, the rep opted to act in Tinker’s best interest and moved him to a safe house for the sake of his well being. As such, to this day, Tinker’s whereabouts or whether or not he’s still alive are unknown.
15. Tommasino the Cat
After being rescued by millionaire Maria Assunta, Tommasino the cat made a huge impact in the last years of the elderly woman’s life. So much so, that he inherited her entire fortune of $13 million when Assunta passed away.
This immediately made him the third richest cat in the world.
14. Flossie the Dog
Some animals don’t even have to wait for their owners to die before effectively inheriting their fortune. For some it’s just a formality, given that so long as their owner is alive, they’re living a life of luxury anyway. Flossie is one such animal. She is owned by actresses, Drew Barrymore, after Barrymore purchased her from a flea market.
Remarkably, while most pets don’t really have to do anything other than what animals would naturally do, Flossie actually went above and beyond expectations when she actually saved Barrymore and her husband at the time Tom Green’s life in 2001. Flossie awoke the pair when a fire started in their home. Barrymore has since left $1.3 million to her dog.
13. Kalu the Chimp
Kalu is a chimpanzee who currently lives a life of luxury with the woman who saved her in 1985, Patricia O’Neal. O’Neal is the daughter of the Countess of Kenmore. O’Neal had found Kalu tied to a tree out in front of the Argentinian Consul-General among the war-ravaged countryside of Zaire.
Assuming she outlives his owner, Kalu will continue with her enviable life given that O’Neal changed her will in 2000, ensuring that Kalu would inherit her residence in Cape Town, South Africa that is worth around $80 million.
The only thing that may stand in Kula’s way would be Patricia’s husband, former Australian swimmer, Frank O’Neal. Their relationship is curious. Whenever he would go swimming, Kula would run alongside the pool and hit him on the head, which Frank was never sure how to interpret. Patricia changed her will while Frank was away, attending the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, suggesting that she did so knowing that Frank would have objected had he been aware of her intentions. Furthermore, Frank is reportedly still bitter over an incident in which Kula was discovered to have stolen and indulged in Frank’s alcohol and cigarettes.
12. Conchita, April Marie and Lucia the Dogs
When Gail Posner’s Chihuahuas Conchita, Lucia and April Marie outlived their owner, they inherited a fortune worth almost $3 million. They also got special accessory packs that were made of diamonds.
Furthermore, they received Posner’s $8.3 million Miami mansion.
11. Oprah’s Pets
Oprah is a vocal animal lover and has numerous pets that are under her care. Should any of them outlive her, then they will be set for life because Oprah has stipulated that $30 million of her incredible fortune will be allocated to the care of her animals.
She has five dogs and a variety of other animals that will benefit from the money.
10. Bubbles the Chimp
When music icon Michael Jackson died, his pet chimpanzee Bubbles who Jackson often referred to as his first son, was supposed to inherited $2 million. This sum was set aside to ensure his long term well being.
In his early years Jackson had reportedly shared a bedroom with the animal, and often ate meals at the dinner table with him. Bubbles was reportedly even house-trained and known to frequently use Jackson’s bathroom. In later years, Bubbles became aggressive and had to be taken to an animal sanctuary.
As with most things to do with Jackson, both in life and at the time of his death, things got complicated with the stipulated inheritance. It is yet to be paid out due to legal issues, which is also true of many of Jackson's other family members who are still fighting over his estate.
9. Jasper the Dog
Jasper is a Labrador-Doberman cross who began his life in Battersea Dogs’ Home. It was there that he was spotted by Diana Myburgh, a brewery heiress. Myburgh adopted Jasper and pampered him up until her death at the age of 74 in 1995.
Myburgh had ensured with her will that Jasper and her other dog, a whippet named Jason, would receive $50,000. When Jason passed Jasper inherited Jason’s $50,000.
Jasper lives at Maunsel House in Somerset. He is cared for by Myburgh’s former son-in-law, Sir Benjamin Slade. After investing Jasper’s inheritance in the stock market, Slade has seen Jasper’s fortune increase by 300%.
Slade had wanted to clone Jasper at one point, but there are a number of individuals who will receive Jasper’s fortune when he dies. They (and their lawyers) felt that a clone would jeopardize their entitlements.
8. Castle of Mey’s Cows and Sheep
Due to a fund of $6 million established by the Queen Mother before her death in 2002, a herd of 150 Aberdeen Angus cattle along with 200 North Country Cheviot sheep at the Castle of Mey Farm, are the richest groups of animals in Britain. Each animal is worth around $16,000 respectively.
A number of other animals at the Castle of Mey also share in some of the money. This includes two goats, six rare breed sheep, two piglets, two male rabbits, six rare poultry, three call ducks, and a couple of lovebirds named Julia and Jeremy.
The Queen Mother had always had an interest in the Aberdeen Angus breed of cattle. In 1937, with George VI, the two became joint patrons of the Aberdeen-Angus Society. The Queen Mother held her post right up until she died at the age of 65.
7. Nicholas the Cat
With the death of British singer Dusty Springfield in 1999, her 13-year-old ragdoll feline named Nicholas was guaranteed to live in luxury for the remainder of his life. Though he didn’t inherit a specific amount of money, Springfield’s will stated that Nicolas was to be given imported baby food, and sleep in a 7-foot-tall indoor tree house. He was also to be treated with catnip and a variety of scratching posts. His bed was to be lined with Springfield’s old expensive nightgowns.
There were even specifications in Springfield’s will that Nicolas was, in order to sleep each night, be played some of Springfield’s own music so that he could hear her voice every night before bed. Perhaps the only drawback of Springfield’s will for Nicolas was that he was to be forced into marriage with her friend’s cat, given that the cat’s owner, Lee Everett-Alkin was assigned to be Nicholas’ guardian.
6. Minter, Juice and Callum
British fashion designer Alexander McQueen committed suicide in 2010. In the note he left behind, he stipulated that he wished that his bull terrier dogs, Minter, Juice and Callum would be taken care of.
Ultimately, each received $81,000 to ensure that they would be fully taken care of for the remainder of their lives. Much of the rest of McQueen’s remaining money was distributed to various animal charities.
5. Trouble the Dog
Maltese terrier, Trouble is worth $1.6 million. Were it not for his former owner’s relatives, though, he’d actually be worth a lot more. His departed owner was property billionaire, Leona Helmsley, who originally left Trouble $12 million when she died in 2007.
Trouble’s entitlements were slashed, when Helmsley grandchildren (who she had disowned) contested the will. The New York State Attorney General’s Office lowered Trouble’s inheritance because it was ruled that Helmsley had been mentally unstable when she decided to leave her money to her pet. This is despite the fact that Helmsley had been nicknamed the “Queen of Mean” and openly loathed her grandchildren. This left very little doubt that she honestly wanted to leave all the money to her dog.
Thanks to the money, Trouble lived the remainder of his life in Florida aided by Clark Lekic, the general manager for the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel. Trouble’s yearly expenses consisted of $60,000 in guardian fees, $100,000 for 24-hour security, $8,000 for grooming, $3,000 for various expenses, $1,200 for dog food and between $2,500 to $18,000 for medical related expenses. Trouble passed away when he was twelve.
4. Trekkie Dogs
Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was the widow of ‘Star Trek’ (1966 – 1969) creator Gene Roddenberry. When she died in 2008, she left her dogs a fortune of $4,000,000, with another million allocated to her employee, Reinelda Estupinian.
Estupinian was entrusted to take care of the animals, given that Barrett-Roddenberry felt that Estupinian had taken as good care of the animals, if not better than than Roddenberry, over the years.
3. Gigoo the Chicken
Gigoo is the richest chicken in the world, and has a net worth around $10 million. She inherited the fortune thanks to publisher, Miles Blackwell.
With his wife gone, Blackwell felt that there was no human he wished to leave his money to. So Blackwell decided to leave it to his pet chicken.
2. Blackie the Cat
The wealthiest cat in the world is Blackie, and has a net worth around $25 million. He inherited the fortune when his owner Ben Rea, when he passed away and left his money to his beloved cat – and ONLY to his cat. Rea refused to leave anything to his human relatives because over the years head had become estranged from them.
As a notorious recluse, Rea found companionship with his cat. He wanted to ensure that Blackie would live the rest of his life in comfort. In Blackie's case, it is more like living in luxury.
1. Gunther IV the Dog
Gunther is a German Shepherd worth around $324 million dollars. He inherited the wealth from his father Gunther III, who inherited the original amount of $124 million in 1992 from his former owner, Karlotta Liebenstein. When Gunther III passed away, his own fortune, which had increased significantly over the years, was handed down to his son.
Representatives of Gunther IV have used his money to purchase Madonna’s former Miami villa, properties in the Bahamas, Germany and Italy, a BMW, a truffle worth around $1,300 and to hire a personal chef in additoin to a large number of servants.
There is speculation in the media that, while Gunther III legitimately inherited his fortune from Liebenstein, Guther IV’s inheritance is just an elaborate publicity stunt made by those around him. However, a legitimate law firm in the Bahamas manages his finances, suggesting that everything may actually be on the up and up after all. This would make Gunther IV the richest dog in the world. Whatever the case may be, the fact is that whether Gunther IV is officially super-rich or not, he lives like he’s the richest dog in the world.
On the surface it sounds eccentric, if not completely crazy to leave assets to a pet. Especially taking into consideration the numerous people and causes around the world that could really use the assistance and opportunity that the money could buy. Then again, when you really think about how much pets can bring to people’s lives – the companionship, the enjoyment and the unconditional love – it’s understandable that some people would be so thankful and concerned for the welfare of the pets once they themselves pass. You can see that pet owners will do whatever they can to ensure that their pets are both taken care of, but also have the best of everything that money can buy.
In reality, many people don’t even consider their pets’ welfare or just what might happen in case they were to die suddenly. So in a way, as eccentric, weird or downright crazy as it may very well seem, maybe leaving pets money is actually the right things to do. It all just seems a little odd, even for the most eccentrically, wealthiest people.