A white-furred deaf cat who is considered a clairvoyant has been named the official oracle to declare the winners of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Achilles, a male cat, lives at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia and has been designated to make the traditional pre-match predictions. Achilles correctly predicted three of the four-match outcomes in the 2017 Confederations Cup, according to an article in Tass.
The Russian media outlet quotes Hermitage cats press secretary, Maria Khaltunen who said the feline had prove “capabilities for choice, analysis and unusual behavior.”
Being deaf is also an asset, according to Khaltunen, who said being unable to hear will keep the feline from being distracted.
According to Khaltunen, Achilles will receive a fan identification card (otherwise known as a fan passport). He will also go down in history as the only animal to have attained the prestigious documentation. “Animals are not given [Fan IDs,] as there are questions concerning photos,” Khaltunen said.
Achilles has reportedly been spending time with his family since making his predictions at the Confederations Cup last July. During his time off, the feline has put on 2.2 pounds and gained a pot belly.
In the 18th century, Empress Elizabeth of Russia ordered mice-catching felines be brought into the Hermitage to rid the place, which was originally a tsar’s palace, of rodents. Since then, cats have inhabited the museum but their population size has been closely regulated by the press secretary and three dedicated personnel.
There are currently approximately 50 to 70 fur balls roaming the area, with some even wondering at times to the nearby embankment and square during the summer time.
Achilles is not the first animal who can predict game results. English-born Paul the Octopus selected Spain as the winner of South Africa’s 2010 World Cup, and had correctly guessed the outcome of the Euro 2008. He was found dead on October 26, months after the end of the FIFA World Cup in African soil.