Achilles the cat might be deaf, but the feline is also known to possess psychic abilities. At a ceremony in Saint Petersburg, he was presented with bowls of food marked with the 2018 FIFA World Cup teams' flags and the one he chose is his official prediction for the winner of the opening game.
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According to Achilles, Russia will win the Cup’s first match against Saudi Arabia. This is an interesting prediction considering Russia hasn’t had a single victory in eight months, but maybe the cat knows something we don’t. This job is a lot of responsibility, but Anna Kasatkina, a veterinarian who oversees guard-cats at Saint Petersburg's Hermitage Museum, feels that since Achilles is just right for the job.
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She said, "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.” During this year’s World Cup, Achilles will live at the “Cat Republic” cafe, as opposed to his usual home in the basements of the world famous museum, where he works with a team of other cats to keep the space free of rodents. Kasatkina added, "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.”
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Achilles isn’t the first animal to be given this task, with Paul the Octopus predicting winners for the 2010 World Cup. Many followed, including Swiss guinea pig Madame Shiva and British Piranha Pele.
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