Society

Maria Assuntam Dies, Leaves $13 Million to Pet Cat

| by Michael Allen

A 4-year-old stray cat, Tommaso, that was rescued from the streets of Rome has inherited a $13 million fortune from its owner, Maria Assuntam, a wealthy widow of an Italian property tycoon.

Assuntam left the fortune to her beloved kitty when she died two weeks ago at the age of 94. The cat's newfound riches include cash, as well as properties in Rome, Milan and land in Calabria, according to the Daily Telegraph.

As her health began to fail two years ago, Assunta, who had no children, began to seek out a way to see that Tommaso was properly cared for after she died. In November 2009, Assunta decided to leave all her money to the cat via her nurse, Stefania, who cared for her until her dying day. Her last name has not been disclosed.

"She had become very fond towards the nurse who assisted her," Anna Orecchioni, one of the lawyers, told the Il Messaggero newspaper.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

"We're convinced that Stefania is the right person to carry out the old lady's wishes. She loves animals just like the woman she devoted herself to right up until the end."

Stefania told the Daily Telegraph that she had no idea the woman that she was caring for was so incredibly wealthy.

"I promised her that I would look after the cat when she was no longer around. She wanted to be sure that Tommaso would be loved and cuddled. But I never imagined that she had this sort of wealth," she said. "She was very discreet and quite. I knew very little of her private life. She only told me that she had suffered from loneliness a lot."