10 of the Richest Pets in History

Steve Jennings, Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group
Steve Jennings, Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group

The relationship between man and animal predates capitalism, but that hasn't stopped some of the wealthiest people to ever live from trying to mix the two by leaving their ridiculous fortunes to their pets. Which means that there are cats and dogs on this planet who have more money than you could ever hope to accumulate in your lifetime.

Some of the richest animals in the world have made their money through inheritance, but others have made it through marketing or acting. Here are 10 of the richest animals in the history of the world

1. GUNTHER IV

Gunther IV is a second generation ​millionaire canine—and currently the richest animal in the world. His father, Gunther III, inherited $80 million from German Countess Karlotta Liebenstein. He, in turn, left that money to his son, whose caretakers have invested his fortune to the point where Gunther IV is worth approximately $400 million. He owns mansions around the world, eats caviar daily, and has his own personal maid.

2. GRUMPY CAT


Getty Images

Grumpy Cat—real name Tardar Sauce—is arguably the most famous animal on the planet, thanks to one of the most enduring internet memes ever created based purely on her permanently disgruntled look. Apart from her social media and merchandising empires, she also starred in her own movie, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, where she was voiced by Aubrey Plaza. Though her net worth is often cited as being about $100 million, her owner said that's not quite true. Still, it's definitely in the millions—and a heck of a lot more than the typical American can ever hope to make.

3. OLIVIA BENSON

She may be owned by Taylor Swift and share a name with a Law and Order: SVU character, but Olivia Benson doesn't just sit back and let the money flow in through her songstress benefactor. She has a huge social media presence and has starred in ads for Coke and Keds Shoes, netting her a personal fortune worth about $97 million.

4. OPRAH WINFREY'S DOGS

Luke, Layla, Sadie, Sunny, and Lauren have the distinction of being the dogs of Oprah Winfrey. That alone would make them rich in spirit, but it has the added hook of an assured inheritance. Winfrey has already agreed to leave the five dogs $30 million upon her death.

5. GIGOO

Gigoo, the chicken formerly belonging to the late British publisher Miles Blackwell, sits on a nest egg of $15 million. Blackwell sold his business and retired to the country just three weeks before he died, meaning that he was basically a middleman between Gigoo and his own net worth.

6. TOMMASINO

Maria Assunta was an extremely wealthy Italian woman who, upon her death, left her $13 million fortune to her cat Tommasino. The wealth wasn't just in cash though; the cat also became the owner of several castles, villas, and estates throughout Italy.

7. BLACKIE

Blackie was once at the top of this list as he used to be the world's wealthiest cat (as confirmed by Guinness World Records). His $12.5 million fortune came purely from inheritance. He is the last surviving pet of Ben Rea, a multimillionaire who was estranged enough from his own family to bequeath his riches to a feline.

8. CONCHITA

When you can afford to buy your dog Tiffany's necklaces and cashmere sweaters, it might be the universe's way of telling you you have too much money. Regardless, deceased heiress and socialite Gail Posner left her Chihuahua Conchita a sizable fortune of $8.4 million—including a posh waterfront pad in Miami—for seemingly no other reason than because she could.

9. BOO

Boo, a famously adorable Pomeranian owned by Irene Ahn, has built a merchandising brand around himself based purely on his unfiltered cuteness. Life-sized stuffed versions of himself are available for purchase, he has his own book, and he has accrued several million social media followers. His net worth currently sits at about $8 million.

10. BART THE BEAR II

Bart the Bear II is one of the few animals on this list to have actually earned his wealth. Basically, if you've seen a bear in a movie in the last 20 years, there's a solid chance it was Bart, who was named after Bart the Bear—an Alaskan Kodiak bear who starred in dozens of projects between the late 1970s and the late 1990s. (Bart passed away in 2000.) Though Bart the Bear II has no biological relation to the original Bart, both are trained by Doug Seus. If Bart II looks familiar, you may have seen him in an episode of Game of Thrones, where he squared off against Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. He has a net worth of around $6 million.

Plano, Texas Is Home to a Dog-Friendly Movie Theater That Serves Bottomless Wine or Whiskey

K9 Cinemas
K9 Cinemas

For dog owners in Plano, Texas, movie night with Fido no longer just means cuddling on the couch and browsing Netflix. The recently opened K9 Cinemas invites moviegoers—both human and canine—to watch classic films on the big screen. And the best part for the human members of this couple? Your $15 ticket includes bottomless wine or whiskey (or soft drinks if you're under 21).

The theater operates as a pop-up (or perhaps pup-up?) in a private event space near Custer Road and 15th Street in Plano. Snacks—both the pet and people kind—are available for $2 apiece. Dogs are limited to two per person, and just 25 human seats are sold per showing to leave room for the furry guests.

Pet owners are asked follow a few rules in order to take advantage of what the theater has to offer. Dogs must be up-to-date on all their shots, and owners can submit veterinary records online or bring a hard copy to the theater to verify their pooch's health status. Once inside, owners are responsible for taking their dog out for potty breaks and cleaning up after any accidents that happen (thankfully the floors are concrete and easy to wipe down).

While many of the movies shown are canine-themed—a recent screening of A Dog's Journey included branded bandanas with every ticket purchase—they also hold special events, like a Game of Thrones finale watch party (no word on how the puppers in attendance responded to Jon Snow finally acknowledging what a good boy Ghost is).

13 Fascinating Facts About Bees

iStock.com/florintt
iStock.com/florintt

Sure, you know that bees pollinate our crops and give us honey. But there's so much more to these buzzing insects than that.

1. Bee stings have some benefits.

A toxin in bee venom called melittin may prevent HIV. Melittin can kill HIV by poking holes into the virus's protective envelope. (Meanwhile, when melittin hitches a ride on certain nanoparticles, it will just bounce off normal cells and leave them unharmed.) Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis hope the toxin can be used in preventative gels.

Bee stings may also ease pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo found that molecules in bee venom increase your body's level of glucocorticoid, an anti-inflammatory hormone.

2. Bees work harder than you do.

During chillier seasons, worker bees can live for nine months. But in the summer, they rarely last longer than six weeks—they literally work themselves to death.

3. When bees change jobs, they change their brain chemistry.

bees flying to a hive
iStock/bo1982

Bees are hardwired to do certain jobs. Scout bees, which search for new sources of food, are wired for adventure. Soldier bees, discovered in 2012, work as security guards their whole life. One percent of all middle-aged bees become undertakers—a genetic brain pattern compels them to remove dead bees from the hive. But most amazingly, regular honeybees—which perform multiple jobs in their lifetime—will change their brain chemistry before taking up a new gig.

4. Their brains defy time.

When aging bees do jobs usually reserved for younger members, their brain stops aging. In fact, their brain ages in reverse. (Imagine if riding a tricycle didn't just make you feel young—it actually made your brain tick like a younger person's.) Scientists at Arizona State University believe the discovery can help us slow the onset of dementia.

5. Bees are changing medicine.

To reinforce their hives, bees use a resin from poplar and evergreen trees called propolis. It's basically beehive glue. Although bees use it as caulk, humans use it to fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Research shows that propolis taken from a beehive may relieve cold sores, canker sores, herpes, sore throat, cavities, and even eczema.

6. Bees can recognize human faces.

Honeybees make out faces the same way we do. They take parts—like eyebrows, lips, and ears—and cobble them together to make out the whole face. It’s called "configural processing," and it might help computer scientists improve face recognition technology, The New York Times reports.

7. Bees have personalities

Even in beehives, there are workers and shirkers. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that not all bees are interchangeable drones. Some bees are thrill-seekers. Others are a bit more timid. A 2011 study even found that agitated honeybees can be pessimistic, showing that, to some extent, bees might have feelings.

8. They get buzzed from caffeine and cocaine.

bumblebee on a flower
iStock/Whiteway

Nature didn't intend for caffeine to be relegated to your morning pot of coffee. It's actually a plant defense chemical that shoos harmful insects away and lures pollinators in. Scientists at Newcastle University found that nectar laced with caffeine helps bees remember where the flower is, increasing the chances of a return visit.

While caffeine makes bees work better, cocaine turns them into big fat liars. Bees "dance" to communicate—a way of giving fellow bees directions to good food. But high honeybees exaggerate their moves and overemphasize the food's quality. They even exhibit withdrawal symptoms, helping scientists understand the nuances of addiction.

9. Bees have Viking-like navigation techniques.

Bees use the Sun as a compass. But when it's cloudy, there's a backup—they navigate by polarized light, using special photoreceptors to find the Sun's place in the sky. The Vikings may have used a similar system: On sunny days, they navigated with sundials, but on cloudy days, sunstones—chunks of calcite that act like a Polaroid filter—helped them stay on course.

10. Bees can solve hairy mathematical problems.

Pretend it's the weekend, and it's time to do errands. You have to visit six stores and they're all at six separate locations. What's the shortest distance you can travel while visiting all six? Mathematicians call this the "traveling salesman problem," and it can even stump some computers. But for bumblebees, it's a snap. Researchers at Royal Holloway University in London found that bumblebees fly the shortest route possible between flowers. So far, they're the only animals known to solve the problem.

11. Bees are nature's most economical builders.

In 36 BCE, Marcus Terentius Varro argued that honeycombs were the most practical structures around. Centuries later, Greek mathematician Pappus solidified the "honeycomb conjecture" by making the same claim. Almost 2000 years later, American mathematician Thomas Hales wrote a mathematical proof showing that, of all the possible structures, honeycombs use the least amount of wax. And not only are honeycombs the most efficient structures in nature—the walls meet at a precise 120-degree angle, a perfect hexagon.

12. Bees can help us catch serial killers.

Serial killers behave like bees. They commit their crimes close to home, but far enough away that the neighbors don't get suspicious. Similarly, bees collect pollen near their hive, but far enough that predators can't find the hive. To understand how this "buffer zone" works, scientists studied bee behavior and wrote up a few algorithms. Their findings improved computer models police use to find felons.

13. Bees are job creators.

beekeeper working with bees
iStock/Milan_Jovic

The average American consumes roughly 1.51 pounds of honey each year. On top of that, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that honeybees pollinate up to 80 percent of the country's insect crops—meaning bees pollinate over $15 billion worth of crops each year.

This article was updated and republished in 2019.

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