Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

The incentive is in keeping with a Russian superstition that it's good luck for a cat to be the first to cross the threshold of a new home.
Posted at 11:39 AM, Sep 02, 2014

​We've heard of mortgage lenders offering freebies like toasters and clock radios to sweeten the deal, but this is a new one.

KUSA: "Would you like a cat with your mortgage? Russia's biggest bank is offering to deliver cats to the new homes of the mortgage clients. It's part of a fairly unusual marketing campaign."

Uh ... meow?

Unusual is definitely one word you could use to describe this promotional video from Russian state-owned bank Sberbank. 

Once your loan is approved, you get to pick from one of 10 breeds. Potential loan customers better act fast. The service is only being offered to the first 30 homeowners.

And we do mean "service." Just like your mortgage, the cat's visit won't last forever. You only get to keep it for two hours. The bank recommends using this time for a photo op.  

The incentive isn't totally out of left field. Russian superstition holds that it's good luck if cats are the first to cross the threshold of a new home. Who knew? (Video via Animal Planet

Still, this seems unnecessary. Especially, considering as Businessweek points out, the PR stunt comes as Russia’s already experiencing a big demand for mortgages. “As the ruble plummets, many Russians are scrambling to put their savings into real estate."

But the cat delivery service might have another, more self-serving explanation. Consider that the EU slapped Sberbank with some hefty sanctions this summer, and the bank is probably in need of some good PR.

Or maybe some good ... purr?