We’ve all heard of pampered pets, but what about animals who are worth millions? Check out these amazingly wealthy pets who possess some big bucks.
Countess Karlotta Liebenstein of Germany loved her German Shepherd, Gunther III, so much so that when she died in 1991 she left the dog $124 million. Trustees for the dog have made some smart investments since then, building up that inheritance into a fortune valued at $375 million, which is now in the paws of Gunther’s heir, Gunther IV. Among the acquisitions of this later Gunther include villas in Italy and the Bahamas, and a Miami Beach mansion once owned by Madonna.
As if the power of the Internet wasn’t already evident, for further proof look no further than Grumpy Cat. Born with dwarfism, the famous feline (whose real name is, no joke, Tardar Sauce), has an enormous social media following, has starred in a movie and is the ambassador of an iced coffee brand, Grumpacccino. Estimates of the cat’s net worth are all over the place, with some pegging Grumpy Cat’s fortune at a mere million while others guess it’s more like $100 million (the cat’s owner says the latter is an exaggeration, but declines to say by how much).
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has described his white Birman — named Choupette — as “the most famous cat in the world, and the richest.” He may not be wrong; the cat (which has two maids, has published her own book and has more than 93,000 followers on Instagram) has earned a reported $3.3 million in modeling fees for appearing in photoshoots advertising "cars in Germany and the other was for a Japanese beauty product," said Lagerfeld. As for Choupette’s appeal, Lagerfeld explained: "She is the center of the world. If you saw her, you would understand. She is kind of Greta Garbo." In any case, U.K.’s Daily Mail Online estimates the cat’s net worth at $97 million.
Taylor Swift’s two cats — Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey (named for the female protagonists of two of her favourite TV shows) — are nearly as famous as she is, appearing regularly on the “Shake It Off” singer’s social media. Olivia Benson, however, is the apparent moneymaker of the two, with the white Scottish Fold snagging endorsement deals with Diet Coke and Keds footwear (although, to be fair, Swift was also involved in both). In any case, the Daily Mail Online estimates Olivia Benson’s net worth to be a staggering $97 million.
Ella Wendell was the heiress to a vast fortune amassed during the Gilded Age, but had no heirs of her own. When she died in 1931, she left the entire family fortune (estimated at being up to $80 million) to her poodle, Toby Rimes, who would continue to reside in her Park Avenue mansion.
Sadie, Sunny, Lauren, Layla and Luke
Oprah Winfrey loves her five dogs — cocker spaniel Sadie, springer spaniels Lauren and Sunny, and golden retrievers Layla and Luke, and an “insider” told the National Enquirer the dogs are in line for a hefty inheritance of $30 million.
After retiring, British publishing magnate moved to a farm in the country to raise sheep and hens. When he died shortly after his wife, in 2001, he divvied up his $95 million fortune to a variety of charities, but carved aside $15 million for his beloved hen, Gigoo, as part of a foundation for rare breeds.
Frankie, Ani and Pepe
According to reports, an anonymous man in San Diego left $14 million to a neighbour in order to take care of his dog, Frankie, and two cats, Ani and Pepe.
A black stray in the streets of Rome, Tomasso was rescued by wealthy widow Maria Assunta. When she died in 2011 at age 94, Assunta bequeathed her $13-million fortune to the cat. Since Italian law prohibits animals from being the recipients of any inheritances, Assunta’s nurse instead received the fortune, and the responsibility of taking care of the pampered pet for the rest of its life.
According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Blackie is the world’s wealthiest cat after inheriting a $13-million fortune when his owner, antiques dealer Ben Rea, passed away in 1988.
During the 1980s, New York City real estate developer Leona Helmsley was dubbed “the Queen of mean” for the way she allegedly treated her employees, but she proved to be anything but mean to her Maltese terrior, named Trouble, who was bequeathed $12 million when she died in 2007. That figure was reduced to $2 million after ticked-off relatives (to whom Helmsley left zip) went to court to contest the will.
Conchita the Chihuahua had been described by her owner, socialite Gail Posner, as “the most pampered dog in the world.” When Posner passed away in 2010, she left the dog a $3 million trust and her $8.3-million Miami mansion. Fun fact: Posner’s son received less than half of what Conchita received in the inheritance.
Golden Girls star Betty White is as renowned for her work as an animal rights activist as she is for her legendary sitcom performances, and White has reportedly set up a trust fund valued at $5 million to provide for her beloved golden retriever, Pontiac, and her other pets after her passing.
Majel Barrett Roddenberry’s Pets
Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who appeared on the original Star Trek series and was also the widow of series creator Gene Roddenberry, left her pets a $4 million trust when she died in 2008, along with an additional $1 million to her housekeeper to take care of her cats and dogs in one of her homes.
Unlike the other animals on this list, Moose didn’t inherit his money — he earned it. The Jack Russell terrier is best known for the role of Eddie the dog on Frasier, a role he would eventually share with his lookalike son, Enzo. When Moose died in 2006 at age 16, his net worth was believed to be approximately $3.2 million.