MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) – Sphinxes are said to pose riddles, but court marshals in Russia’s Siberia used one to solve a puzzle they were facing – namely, how to get a debtor to pay up.
A sphynx cat was the only thing legally available for seizure at the apartment of a Kemerovo Region resident who owed neighbors 45,000 rubles ($1,350) for flooding their own residence, but had refused to pay, local court marshals reported.
The man promised to pay the debt within a week when faced with the threat of losing his pet, the marshals reported on their website Thursday.
The deal was quite a bargain, given that the marshals priced the cat at a modest 500 rubles ($15).
The man, whose name was withheld, was allowed to keep the cat, but still faces the prospect of it going under the hammer if he fails to pay up, the report said.
Kemerovo marshals have been known to use cats as leverage before: In 2009, a local family only paid off their 15,000-ruble ($450) debt on utilities payments after they had a five-month-old sphynx kitten named Lexus seized as collateral. Lexus was valued by marshals at 1,000 rubles at the time.
Marshals appear snobbish about mongrels, however: In 2010, they turned down a mutt-cat that a man in the Tomsk Region in western Siberia offered them in lieu of a traffic violation fine, citing the 2009 Lexus seizure as precedent.