Saint Petersburg: A deaf, white cat named Achilles is soon to begin his work as Russia’s official soothsayer for the World Cup, following in the tentacle-prints of Paul the Octopus who became a star in 2010.
As football fans rush to calculate the winning probability for each team in the World Cup, Achilles the ‘psychic’ cat will be using his cat sense to predict the results.
Achilles, a resident of the Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg, is currently in full training mode, studying the teams heading to Russia to compete in the world’s biggest football championship.
When Achilles isn’t training he enjoys kicking balls in the long corridors of the Hermitage museum and posing for pictures outside in the gardens.
Paul predicted winners for that years’ World Cup by choosing one out of two boxes containing food, while Achilles will be presented with bowls marked with teams’ flags.
“We went for Achilles because he is beautiful, first of all, but also because — like all white cats with blue eyes — he is deaf, so he has a great deal of intuition, he sees with his heart,” said Anna Kasatkina, a vet who oversees guard-cats at Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage museum.
“He’s going to live here for the duration of the tournament to keep him ‘on form’, since he has more opportunity to move and also meet guests,” Kasatkina told AFP.
The cat is not the first animal to be positioned as successor to the celebrated Paul, who became the world’s most famous mollusc when he correctly predicted all the matches of the German team during the South African World Cup. He went on to predict the victory of Spain in the final.
The white cat with blue eyes wasn’t chosen at random, he has a history predicting football games. Last year, he determined the results of the confederation cup matches played in his hometown. He guessed without a single error the winner for each game, including one that ended in a draw said Kondratyeva.