Fieldston in the News
2 cats inherit $300K from late owner in the Bronx
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 06:09PM
That’s a lot of Meow Mix.
A Bronx widow left $300,000 to her two cats in her will, along with instructions that the funds be used to make sure the felines, Troy and Tiger, would “never be caged” and always be lovingly cared for.
Tiger especially hit the jackpot. The former alley cat is now living the good life in sunny Ocala, Fla., dining on filet- mignon-flavored Fancy Feast and bedding down in a plush faux-fur bed with silk lining.
“He deserves it,” said Dahlia Grizzle, the former home health aide to the late Ellen Frey-Wouters, and now Tiger’s caretaker. “He’s a wonderful cat.”
Frey-Wouters, a Netherlands native who worked for the United Nations, died in 2015 at age 88. Her husband, a Brooklyn College professor, passed away in 1989, and the couple’s only child died in infancy.
“The cats were like her babies,” Grizzle said.
Lawyer Irwin Fingerit was a little surprised when Frey-Wouters suggested that she leave the large sum to her kitties, court papers show.
“I said I didn’t think, you know, $300,000 was necessary, and 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,’’ Fingerit said during a 2016 hearing about the gift. (Helmsley actually left $12 million to her Maltese, Trouble.)
“But no, no, [Frey-Wouters] insisted,” Fingerit said. “She wanted to make sure they were taken care of.”
Troy lives with Rita Pohila, another one of Frey-Wouters’ former home health aides. Pohila, who received her own $50,000 bequest from her ex-employer, declined to discuss Troy with The Post — invoking the shy feline’s “privacy” rights.
When the cats die, the balance of their trust fund will go to Frey-Wouters’ only living family member, a sister in the Netherlands. The rest of her $3 million estate was split between two other home health aides, charities and her lawyer.
Wall Street Journal, May 2012
New York Times, January 2012