Tommaso the cat is currently in hiding after amassing a fortune worth nearly 10 million euros.
An Italian kitty named Tommaso has once again proven that black cats are anything but bad luck, after the fortunate feline inherited an estate worth 10 million euros, consisting of cash, shares, land, and a "property empire" with homes in Rome and Milan.
So how did a once scrawny street cat end up with more cash than most of us will see in a lifetime? A few years ago, Tommaso grabbed the heart of Maria Assunta, an unassuming widow, who decided to adopt the former stray.
When the elderly woman's health began to decline in 2009, the heiress made arrangements for him to be cared for after her death. Under Italian law it's forbidden for animals to inherit money directly, so her plan was to leave the estate to her beloved feline through an animal welfare organization, who would be given the task of looking after the kitty.
However, after several organizations failed to live up to her standards, she decided instead to leave the money to Stefania, a woman she met at the park, who would sometimes bring her own cat over to play with Tommaso. Stefania, who is also a nurse, took care of the woman in her final months, up until she passed away two weeks ago at the age of 94.
For her part, Stefania claims that Assunta made no indication of her extreme wealth, telling Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, "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 was very discreet and quiet, I knew very little of her private life. She only told me that she suffered from loneliness a lot."
Since his owner's death, Tommaso, now 4-years-old, has been placed with the nurse and her cat in a secret location outside of Rome, in fears that "con men" or catnappers will try to make off with the cash kitty.
Assunta's lawyer, Anna Orecchioni tells Il Messaggero, "To be honest, he doesn't need all that money. He is happy with a saucer of milk and some biscuits."
When reached for comment, Tommaso confirmed the woman's statement, adding, "A diamond encrusted collar, and a vacation home in the Florida Keys would be nice, too."