An Italian nurse who promised an elderly patient she would take care of her cat after her death says she did not know she would inherit a fortune.

The 94-year-old woman who left the fortune, identified only by her first names, Maria Assunta, decided to will everything to her cat and nurse because she decided no animal welfare groups were good enough, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Maria Assunta, whose husband had been a real estate magnate, was left a childless widow while she was still young. Her nurse, Stefania, said her patient told her that she had been lonely much of her life.

Four years ago, she rescued a black kitten from the street in Rome and named him Tommaso. Maria Assunta's lawyers told Il Messagiero that in 2009 she drew up a will leaving her 10-million-euro estate ($13.4 million)to the cat and asked them to find an animal welfare group that could be counted on to take care of the cat.

Stefania says she did not realize her patient was rich.

"I promised her that I would look after the cat when she was no longer around," she said. "She wanted to be sure that Tommaso would be loved and cuddled. But I never imagined that she had this sort of wealth. She was very discreet and quiet. I knew very little of her private life."