French fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died, and his beloved cat Choupette could inherit his fortune.
The Chanel creative director adopted Choupette in 2011. The Birman cat quickly became a celebrity in her own right, with nearly 250,000 people following her luxurious, pampered lifestyle on Instagram. Now, the fashionable feline could become the richest cat in the world, according to CNBC, depending on how much money Lagerfeld left to her.
Lagerfeld previously said Choupette was a “heiress”
Lagerfeld doted on Choupette, who came into his life as a kitten. Model Baptiste Giabiconi asked the iconic designer to cat-sit the 3-month-old kitten in 2011, and he fell in love with her.
“[W]hen she came back 2 weeks later I said ‘I am sorry Choupette will stay,” Lagerfeld told People in 2013. Under Lagerfeld’s care, Choupette ate off fine china and traveled with him around the world.
In 2015, Lagerfeld explained that his cat would continue her life of luxury even after he died. “Choupette is a rich girl,” he said, according to French newspaper Le Figaro.
“If something happens to me, the person who will take care of her will not be in misery,” he added.
Last year, Lagerfeld described his Instafamous cat as a “heiress,” but added that she wasn’t his sole heir. “Among others, yes. Don’t worry, there is enough for everyone,” he told Numero. Lagerfeld was worth an estimated $200 million at the time of his death.
Can Choupette really inherit?
Some people might think it strange to leave a multi-million-dollar fortune to a pet, but it’s hardly unheard of. In 1991, a German countess left $80 million to her dog, Gunther. His descendant, Gunther IV, is now worth an estimated $370 million, according to Vanity Fair. Maria Assunta left $13 million to her cat when she died in 2011. By leaving money to Choupette, Lagerfeld would be joining a long line of wealthy people who wanted to ensure that their pets would be well taken care after their death.
When he revealed his plans to name Choupette his heir to Numero last year, Lagerfeld was told that under French law, animals could not inherit. The German-born Lagerfeld replied that it was “lucky” he wasn’t French.
Money left to pets is usually placed in a trust, according to Vanity Fair. A trustee oversees the money, while a caretaker receives money from the trust to provide for the pet. A third person – an enforcer – might also be involved to make sure funds aren’t misappropriated.
Whatever money Choupette receives from Lagerfeld’s estate will be added to her own fortune. She’s reportedly already worth about $3.4 million, according to France 24, money that she made by starring in ads for a German car company and a Japanese cosmetics brand.
What will happen to Choupette?
Right now, Choupette is mourning the loss of her “Daddy,” according to a post on her Instagram, which was accompanied by a photo of the cat wearing a black veil. (Ashley Tschudin runs Choupette’s social media accounts.)
“He was a true icon who touched the lives of everyone he came in contact with, especially moi,” Choupette wrote in a post on her blog. “He will forever live in my now broken heart and the hearts of all his supporters around the world.”
There’s been no announcement about where Choupette will live in the future, but with two maids attending to her every need, she surely being well taken care of.
Lagerfeld, who was known for his prickly personality, said that Choupette changed his life for the better.
“Perhaps, she helped me to become a nicer person,” he told People. “Because there is something very touching about her you see.”