Russian bank offers purrfect loan incentive - a catThursday 28 August 2014 13.32
A Russian bank is offering customers the ultimate fluffy extra with their mortgage - the free loan of a cat to bring good luck to their new home.
Sberbank, Russia's largest lender, is aiming to beat its competitors by a whisker by offering 30 mortgage holders the choice of ten different cats, ranging from hairless Sphynx cat Kuzya to Siamese Iriska as well as several moggies of indeterminate origin.
According to Russian tradition, a cat can bring the owners luck if it is the first to walk through the front door of a new house or flat.
The banks "specially trained" cats will attend the housewarming party for a maximum of two hours, the bank says.
The felines can be selected on the bank's website though the offer is limited to the Moscow region.
Those wanting to take advantage of the deal, which runs through to December, have to sign a clause banning cruelty to the animals and freeing the lender from responsibility for any possible catastrophe.
Sberbank is a state-held Soviet-era giant now trying to turn around its image with Russians.
It was blacklisted by the European Union over Russia's role in Ukraine.
Cats are popular pets in Russia and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has wooed cat lovers by tweeting about his long-haired cat, Dorofei.