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prosperous pets: petplan pet insurance on the value of best friends

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan


I have read some fascinating human interest stories involving pets, but none has captured me more than the story of the luckiest black cat in history.

Tommaso, a 4-year-old black cat, started life as a stray cat in Rome. Now this former stray cat is the richest cat in the world! It happened when his 94-year-old owner, who was childless, died and left him $8.5 million in her will. Well, technically, it wasn’t left directly to him, as Italian law prohibits animals from inheriting money directly. Instead, he became a beneficiary, while his owner’s nurse was named a suitable trustee.

This story reminded me of another lucky pet – the tiny dog known as Trouble, who was Leona Helmsley’s beloved Maltese. Helmsley was a flamboyant businesswoman and real estate entrepreneur, and when she died in 2007, Trouble was bequeathed a $12 million trust!

What in the world does a Maltese do with $12 million? Well, as it turns out, it might have been more of a curse than a blessing, as Trouble received quite a few death threats.  This led to an annual bill of $100,000 for full-time security, and his caretaker received a salary of $60,000 a year. Not too shabby! To top it all off, two of Helmsley’s grandchildren got nothing! Now, that’s a lucky dog!

Trouble died of natural causes last December, and the remainder of his trust was combined with Helmsley’s charitable trust used to benefit the lives of other dogs.

For most of us, the ability to leave gobs of money to our pets is a pipe dream. After all, just the yearly costs of caring for a pet take away from our future heirs’ fortunes, be they pets or children. Luckily, Petplan pet insurance can help defray the costs of treating illness and emergencies, and can make the difference between life and death when financial concerns arrive. 

Your pet doesn’t need $12 million – or even $8.5 million – to live a happy, full life. Luckily for most of us, our pets lead far less opulent lives – food, shelter, veterinary care and loads of hugs and kisses should suffice to keep them purring and wagging their tails!

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Chris AshtonCo-Founder and Co-CEO of Petplan Pet Insurance
vet tip of the week

Visit your vet at least once a year to keep your pet protected from preventable diseases.