black cat split image

Usually when someone passes away, they’ll leave whatever fortune they’ve amassed to their family members. 

But this wasn’t the case for Ben Rea (UK) and his beloved pet cat Blackie.

Blackie was left £7 million ($12.5 million) when the millionaire antiques dealer died in 1988.

That sum today would be worth around £18.5 million ($32 million).

The whopping inheritance officially made Blackie the world’s wealthiest cat, a record that still stands today.

(stock image of a black cat)

Blackie’s owner Ben made his fortune buying and selling antiques, which allowed him to give his cats the pampered life he felt they deserved.

And it was Blackie, the last surviving of the 15 felines who lived with Ben in his mansion in Dorney, Buckinghamshire, who inherited the cash.

Ben did have family, but he was a recluse and refused to recognize his family in his will.

Instead, the majority of his money was split between three cat charities along with the instruction that they were to look after his pet until his very last day.

Ben also bequeathed a small amount of his millions to his gardener and mechanic.

(stock image of a black cat)

Interestingly, the fact that the money was left to the charities and not directly to Blackie is the reason the record is still active.

This is unlike the richest dog record, which was discounted when cracks began to appear in the story.

Gunther the German Shepherd was reportedly left $65 million (£40 million) when his owner Countess Karlotta Liebenstein died. 

The entire world was captivated by Gunther’s story, and even we briefly fell for the spiel when we included the record in our 1998 book.

It wasn’t long after this that we stopped monitoring the record, with a spokesperson for Guinness World Records telling the press in 1999 that there simply wasn’t enough evidence to support claims of Gunther’s wealth and that he was no longer recognized as the record holder.

Gunther being served by his personal chef

Blackie and Gunther aren’t the only ‘rich’ pets out there though.

It’s claimed that some famous cats on the internet are worth millions, like Taylor Swift’s cat Olivia Benson and internet sensation Grumpy Cat, although of course, they don’t actually have that money themselves.

But technically, Ben’s money was forever tied to Blackie, with the charities unable to receive the funds unless they agreed to care for the cat.

A couple days before Ben’s sad passing, his sister also passed away and left £2 million to animal charities. The love for animals must've run in the family.

And Ben wasn’t the only person to ever bequeath his millions to his pets.

Jared Leto dressed as Choupette at the Met Gala

Famed Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is said to have left his blue-cream tortie Birman cat Choupette $1.5 million when he died in 2019. 

Choupette became famous thanks to her owner, with celebrities including actor Jared Leto even dressing as her for the 2023 Met Gala, which was themed in honour of the late designer.

Not much is known about what happened to Blackie after Ben’s death, and whether he is still alive today and continuing to enjoy his millionaire lifestyle.

However, as this happened over 35 years ago, it’s likely that Blackie is no longer with us.

If he was, he’d also have the record for oldest cat living, which belongs to Flossie (UK), who was 26 years 316 days old when her record was verified in August 2022.

The oldest cat ever was Creme Puff, an American kitty that lived 38 years and 3 days.

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