Man Leaves Fortune to Museum Cats


Manage episode 285130782 series 2530089
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A man bequeathed part of his inheritance to cats living in the basement of The State Hermitage Museum in Russia. Christoff Botar, a French national, died and divided his fortune among his relatives, a French environmental organization, and the Hermitage cats. The museum, which only recently learned of the inheritance, did not know why Botar decided to include the cats in his will or if he had ever even visited Russia. Since the 18th century, cats have been living in the Hermitage museum, which is home to three million artifacts, artworks, and sculptures. The cats were initially brought there to keep rodents off the premises. Catherine the Great, Russia’s longest female ruler and founder of the Hermitage museum, declared the felines to be the museum’s guardians. Around 50 cats currently live in the museum, serving as its official rat hunters. Volunteers and museum staff take care of the cats, who are supported by donations only. According to the Hermitage museum’s director, Botar’s donation will most probably be used to repair the basements where the cats reside. Botar was not the only person to be taken with the Hermitage cats. The former president of a Russian research organization liked the cats so much that he would often go to the museum and leave money for them. Additionally, as a testament to the cats’ popularity, more than 800 people submitted photos of the animals for the museum’s Day of the Hermitage Cat. The event is an annual celebration dedicated to the museum's felines.

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