For a lot of people, pets are like children and deserve the same attention and respect, especially those who don’t have human children. Much in the same way that a parent needs to prepare for life after they pass and the caretaking of their children, pet owners have to do the same if they want to ensure that their beloved animals get the treatment that they deserve.
Ellen Frey-Wounters is a perfect example of someone who loved her cats much in the same way that people love their children. After Ellen and her husband lost their only child in infancy, they decided to dedicate their lives to the felines. When Ellen’s husband past, it was just her and her two cats, Troy and Tiger, so she rightfully grew even closer to them. As Ellen started getting older, she started to worry about what would happen to her cats after she died.
“A common situation is that an elderly person has a dog or cat, but after an illness or injury, the owner sadly dies, leaving their much-beloved pet behind,” Co-Op Legal Services explains.“Without a will or agreement, it can put a lot of pressure on relatives who may not want the responsibility, and household pets can often get away or even put down.”
Ellen’s brother refused to take care of the cats after she died, however; her two home health aides each committed to taking one of her cats home, along with $300,000 willed to Troy and Tiger and $50,000 for each health aide.
“I said I didn’t think, you know, $300,000 was necessary,” Irwin Fingerit, Ellen’s lawyer, said. “I pointed out the case of the Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley, who left $65,000 to a dog and became sort of a laughingstock. But no, no, Ellen insisted. She wanted to make sure they were taking care of.”
And they were certainly taken care of, as both cats are living a life of luxury, eating filet mignon catfood and relaxing on silky sheets. For Tiger, this is a rags-to-riches story, as he was a street cat before Ellen rescued him and took him into her loving home.
“The cats were like her babies,” Dahlia Grizzle, Ellen’s home health aide, explained.
During her lifetime, Ellen had amassed an estate worth 3 million dollars, but she didn’t have any relatives to leave it to so she decided to bequeath a the large amount to each cat.
After Ellen’s neighbor, Demetri Tsoulos, heard about Ellen’s generous gesture to her cats she shared the following…
“Your pets are your family and leaving money behind so that they can be taken care of is a beautifully human gesture, and it’s a lesson for the rest of us.”
Ellen was a UN worker and writer best known for her novel “Legacy of a War: American Soldier in Vietnam,” which presents the attitudes of both veterans and non-veterans alike about every angle of the Vietnam War. She was an activist, a cat lover, and spent her final days socializing with her two cats and her devoted health aides.