On Monday the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg let it be known that Achilles, a deaf white feline believed to have psychic powers, will officially be forecasting the results of the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which will be held in cities across Russia from June 14 to July 15. In addition to having the ability to see into the future, Achilles is part of the Hermitage’s in-house team of mousers.
The visionary cat will predict the outcome of World Cup matches by mystically choosing between two bowls of food, each marked with flags from a competing nation. This is not the first time Achilles’s paw-gnositication skills have been employed. In 2017, he successfully forecast the outcome of four Championship Cup matches, thanks to his uncanny “capabilities for choice, analysis, and unusual behavior,” according to the museum.
The Hermitage has had a feline presence since 1745, when the Winter Palace served as a residence for Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. Subsequently, they have evolved into an important part of the institution’s infrastructure, defending the art from mice. “Once a motley crew of frightened strays hiding, half-starving, in the palace’s basement, the Hermitage’s cats are now a well-loved, well-fed part of the museum’s family,” the New Yorker explained in 2012. “Some seventy former street cats live at the Hermitage, where… they have their very own underground cat infirmary and three full-time volunteers to care for them.”
Achilles’s exploits as a soccer oracle, however, have catapulted him to a new level of feline fame. Following his winning streak in 2017, the museum got an influx of adoption requests. For the upcoming World Cup games, he will sport a special identification card listing his credentials.
His power to see the future is already being compared to the work of internationally acclaimed animal-oracle Paul the Octopus, who rose to white-hot stardom during the 2010 World Cup for his impressive success rate in predicting the outcome of Germany’s matches.
See Achilles at work, below:
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