Barbara Thorpe wasn’t just another cat lady.
She was someone who helped strays in her town even beyond the grave. When Thorpe died, she left most of her money — nearly $200,000 — to provide food, shelter and care for stray cats in Dixfield, according to a recent episode of NPR’s Planet Money.
But you can’t really choose exactly where your money goes when you’re dead.
Though a group of Dixfield women had been helping strays already and Thorpe had been giving them a little money here and there, that’s not where the money went, according to the podcast. Instead, the overseers of a trust wanted to do more — opening a real animal shelter. But that didn’t happen either.
In “How the cats of Dixfield, Maine came into a fortune — and almost lost it” on NPR’s Planet Money, host Jeff Guo digs into where Thorpe’s money went and how it ended up tied in a legal battle for years that dwindled what was left.
But there’s good news: The money did eventually go to cats — and ones from Dixfield. It just didn’t do it in the way originally intended. Where did it go? Well, we’ll leave that to the podcast to share.
The episode can be found on the NPR site.