Philanthropist Reportedly Bequeaths Part of His Fortune to 50 Cats Who Live in Museum Basement

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The cats live in the basement of St. Petersburg Museum in Russia.

Fifty felines in Russia have now clawed their way to fame and fortune thanks to one generous French philanthropist. The French philanthropist, who has not been identified, has left a large sum of money to the feline beneficiaries in his will. The cats live in the basement of St. Petersburg Museum in Russia, CNN reported. The museum is home to millions of works of art and is comprised of several buildings.

Cats have lived in the museum since the time of Empress Elizabeth, who reigned from 1741 to 1761, according to the museum.

Now, the French philanthropist’s money will be used to tend to the cats’ health needs as well as keep the basement area clean from rodents and other vermin, CNN reported. The money will also ensure they are well fed, according to Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

The museum's general director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, said that the unnamed French philanthropist was so taken with the animals that he left a "small sum" to them in his will, CNN reported.

"Our French friend did a very good thing; this is brilliant PR for both the cats and charity. The sum is not very big but it's very important when the person writes a will, when the French lawyers contact (us) and it's all not a simple (process) but this is all very interesting, isn't it?" he said.

"I think the cats will express their will -- our colleagues are well-versed in communicating with them and understanding their language," he added.