04/05/2012 12:51 pm ET

Bank Saves Cat From Owner's Will In Unprecedented Court Case

Trust officers at a suburban Chicago bank saved a healthy 11-year-old cat's life by challenging a clause in her owner's will that had sentenced her to be euthanized.

The will of Georgia Lee Dvorak dispensed most of her estate to anti-cruelty organizations like the Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but also included a clause ordering any cats she owned at the time of her death be euthanized, regardless of their health, CBS Chicago reports.

When Dvorak passed away December 24 at the age of 76, she had one pet who would have been subjected to the order: a healthy, 11-year-old female black cat named Boots. Trust officers at Fifth Third Bank managing her estate were uncomfortable with the order, and asked a Cook County judge to invalidate that portion of the will, citing similar legal actions in Vermont and Pennsylvania in the past, according to NBC Chicago.

Neighbors who have cared for Boots during her time on "death row" say Dvorak rescued her 18 months before her death from owners who had mistreated the animal, and that the two were inseparably close, the Chicago Tribune reports. Under Judge Susan Coleman's ruling, Boots has been placed at Cats are Purrsons Too, a no-kill shelter that has agreed to care for the cat for the remainder of her life in exchange for a $2,000 endowment from Dvorak's estate.