Why Italy Is Broke

| Fri Dec. 9, 2011 8:30 PM EST

The Guardian reports today on Tommaso, the world's richest cat. We've seen stories like this before, so it's all a bit ho hum. But check this out:

In a handwritten will, signed on 26 November, 2009, Tommaso's mistress—the childless widow of a successful builder—gave her lawyers the task of identifying "the animal welfare body or association to which to leave the inheritance and the task of looking after the cat Tommaso". One of the lawyers, Anna Orecchioni, told the Rome daily Il Messaggero they considered several organisations without getting adequate guarantees of the cat's future comfort and welfare.

Seriously? Tommaso's owner left an inheritance of 10 million euros. You could build a cat-sized Taj Mahal with a permanent staff and still have 9 million euros left over. Are Italian animal welfare associations so bulging with cash that they can afford to turn down 10 million euros just because they don't feel like guaranteeing posh treatment for a single cat?