Many of us care deeply for our pets. In a Pew Research Poll from the summer of 2023, half of respondents said their pets were as much a part of the family as human family members.
It makes sense, then, that a wealthy Floridian named Nancy Sauer wanted her 7 Persian cats to be provided for in case she passed away. So she wrote a will that left her home and a large inheritance to her 7 Persian cats.
She stipulated that the house (reportedly appraised at 2.5 million dollars) should not be sold until the last of her cats had passed away, and she left the cats an inheritance to go toward their comfort and care.
Sauer was reportedly worried that the cats would have a hard time adjusting to being separated or moving to a new home. Sauer lived alone, having lost both her husband and son.
Sherry Silk, executive director of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, told The Tampa Bay Times in June of 2022 that the amount of money left to the cats was:
“substantial … enough to cover the cats’ food, medical, and grooming bills forever. They’re young. They’re only 5 years old. Persians can be expensive and persnickety.”
WFLA has reported that the inheritance was six figures.
Why Sauer's Wishes Weren't Carried Out: Although Sauer wished for her cats to stay together and be able to live at the only home they'd known, things didn't work out the way after she passed away.
The cats remained in the house for about six months and were cared for by volunteers. However, a Hillsborough County probate judge decided that it would be best if the cats found alternative homes.
What Happened to The Cats?: The Hillsborough County Humane Society worked hard to adopt the cats to appropriate owners. Silk told The Tampa Bay Times in September of 2023 that she did not consider candidates who only wanted the cats for the money.
The judge ruled that the cats were allowed to keep their monetary inheritance - but it must go toward their care, and the Hillsborough County Humane Society oversees the money, which is only to be used for food, grooming, toys, and vet bills.
The Humane Society's Sherry Silk said that the cats weren't thriving in the house, and some of them were fighting with one another.
Ultimately, Silk believes that The Humane Society chose loving homes for the cats, but they've gone to a variety of settings and none of them are together. Silk tried to find homes with a stable environment who'd owned Persian cats before.
While the cat's original home with Sauer is selling for $2.75 million, the cats are scattered around Tampa Bay.
One of the cats lives on a farm. Another lives with an owner who has many other Persian cats for company. Another is living with a woman who loves animals and regularly volunteers at the Humane Society.
Although the cats are not living together in the home that Sauer tried to leave to them, the Humane Society's Sherry Silk believes that the outcome is still a happy one, telling the Tampa Bay Times in September of 2023:
"The cats are perfectly happy."