Achilles the cat to predict World Cup winners at Russia 2018
(VNF) - A furry white feline, who lives in St Petersburg's Hermitage museum, is being touted as a cat psychic who will predict the winners and losers of the tournament kicking off in Russia in two weeks.
Achilles the cat will be making the predictions at World Cup 2018 in Russia. (Peter Kovalev / TASS via Getty Images)
Achilles, the supposedly psychic cat, will turn his talents to the beautiful game's most prestigious event, the World Cup. The white feline, who lives in St. Petersburg's Hermitage museum, will make his predictions by choosing between two bowls of food, each bearing a team flag.
One of the many cats to have lived at the Hermitage, once the imperial Winter Palace, Achilles previously predicted outcomes during the 2017 Confederations Cup.
Achilles is deaf, meaning he will not be easily distracted by waiting journalists when he makes his predictions by choosing between two bowls of food, each bearing a team flag.
For his training, Achilles, dressed in a red soccer jersey, looks at a chart of the teams and game schedules, before, slightly reluctantly, moving onto an exercise wheel.
"Achilles is now in his place of work, he is preparing for the World Cup and going through the adaptation process," veterinarian Anna Kondratieva said during a training session at a pet shop near the museum.
"People tend to feed him more than they should. When he came to us he looked like a football, not a cat, so we decided to put him on a strict diet."
When Achilles is not in training, he can also be found posing for pictures in the museum yard, building a celebrity persona that is about to get a huge lift from one of the world's most-watched sporting tournaments.
Achilles, a white-furred Hermitage male cat was an official oracle of the 2017 Confederations Cup. (Photo: Sputnik)
Other animals with 'psychic abilities' at sporting events
Achilles is the latest in a long line of animals conscripted into the sports results prediction business. Eight years ago his World Cup predecessor Paul the Octopus became a worldwide phenomenon after accurately predicting the winners of all of Germany's matches at the 2010 World Cup.
Paul, who has since passed away, communicated his insights by choosing between two glass boxes of mussels — one with the German flag and the other bearing that of the opposing team. The case he opened first was deemed to be his predicted winner.
Paul the Octopus accurately predicted the outcome of all of Germany's matches in 2010. (Photo: AP)
During the Euro 2016 in France, Leipzig Zoo put forward a koala named Oobi-Ooobi to predict the outcome of soccer games. Nelly the Elephant from Lüneburg Heath in northern Germany made predictions by shooting a soccer ball into two different goals. Hitting the goalpost assigned to the opposing team apparently meant Germany would win their next match. Momario, a tortoise from Schleswig-Holstein, had to choose between national flags made of green leafy veggies. Armadillo Taka from Erfurt chose winners by eating boiled chicken skin.
The 2018 World Cup in Russia will be played out at a total of 12 stadiums between June 14th and July 15th./.