Russia, money, banks, superstition and CATS

I’m going to combine Russia, money, banks, supersitition and cats in one article which is a bit unusual but they do go together in an odd way. The Russians appear to be quite superstitious (like a lot of nations). One superstition regards money. They believe that you can transfer energy through money (presumed to be the energy inside humans). If you want to give somebody cash you place it on a tray and the other person takes the tray. This stops the energy being transferred from the giver to the receiver. Comment: what if the energy inside the giver is of an excellent quality and you want a piece of it? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to take the money directly in your clammy hands? Russians also believe that you should only give money with your right hand and take it with your left. This brings good luck.

Russian bank promotion using domestic cats and superstitions (2014)
Russian bank promotion using domestic cats and superstitions (2014). Photo: screenshot from YouTube video.

With respect to banks, I’m going to go back to 2014 when the biggest bank in Russia, Sberbank, promoted mortgages by making arrangements for a domestic cat to go into the new home first. Why would they do this? It’s very strange to connect mortgages with domestic cats. Well, Russians have another superstition which is that the first being to enter a new home will meet their death so it has to be a cat because they have nine lives and won’t die! However, if the cat refuses to enter it’s a bad omen so they shouldn’t buy the house.

I guess this never happens because the bank running the promotion ensures that the cat walks to the front door contentedly and confidently. That conjures up some interesting images in the mind. Imagine though, if a couple had taken out a mortgage with the Sberbank and the cat refused to go to the front door. That would cause a complication if the purchasers genuinely believe that a cat’s refusal to go through the door is a bad omen. An extension to this superstition is that if a cat enters and curls up in a corner of the new home, this is the place where you should put your religious icons. They call it the “Red Corner”.

Sberbank ran the scheme by making ten domestic cats available. They were owned by employees of the bank and associates. They were different breeds and types such as Toffee the Siamese and a Sphynx (a hairless cat) called Kuzma. The idea behind the promotion was that the cat would bring happiness and good luck to them. It would be a kind of housewarming party. They delivered the cats in vans with a cat logo on the side.

The cats were loaned for two hours at a time which allowed them to be available for the next housewarming party! Some cats were used a hundred times in this promotion. The cynical would say that the promotion was designed to offset losses in savings due to a difficult time with the economy due to sanctions against Russia and political instability caused by the Ukraine crisis, at that time. But cats and superstitions go together like apple pie and custard.

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