Uber, but for cats: Uber Kittens hits Australia for one day only

Never one to shy away from unique marketing campaigns, not all of which have gone smoothly, Uber is delivering kittens in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane in a bid to raise money for charity.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
Expertise Space, Futurism, Science and Sci-Tech, Robotics, Tech Culture Credentials
  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
2 min read

Uber is delivering kittens for one day only. Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

It started with ice cream and moved on to personal rides with Ricky Lee to promote a partnership with Spotify, now Uber is taking the next logical progression in guerilla marketing with a full-blown kitten offensive.

For 4 hours between noon and 4 p.m. today, Uber will be delivering kittens to customers in Sydney, Perth, Geelong and Melbourne, and Brisbane and the Gold Coast, all via requests made through its smartphone app.

For a donation of AU$40, all of which is sent on to Sydney's Cat Protection Society, Uber will drop off a kitten to play with for a quarter of an hour, as well as -- yes we're actually saying this -- what they call an #UBERKittens gift bag.

They're also offering the opportunity to adopt the kitten, though "successful requesters" will be subjected to what Uber has called "screening questions for kitten safety". So you need to make sure you're not allergic to cats and that your boss or landlord is fine with a cat rocking up for 15 minutes.

You need to request the cat via the Uber app, and at the time of writing (before the four hour window had even opened) there were no cats available in Sydney, while Gold Coast requests were being met with the message "All kittens are being snuggled".

Uber's oddball campaigns have not all gone smoothly in the past. Customers complained after a Gelato Messina promotion for free ice cream delivery saw credit cards repeatedly hit with unexplained "authorisation" charges, leading some Uber users to call the promotion a "scam".