After Paul the Octopus hogged all the limelight by correctly predicting Spain as the winners of the FIFA World Cup 2010, Achilles the cat is all set to begin his work as Russia's highly gifted but deaf official soothsayer for the FIFA World Cup in Russia. While Paul predicted winners for 2010 World Cup by choosing one of the two boxes containing food, Achilles will be presented with bowls marked with teams' flags. Anna Kasatkina, a veterinary who oversees guard-cats at Saint Petersburg's Hermitage Museum, said that since Achilles is deaf, he has a great deal of intuition and he sees with his heart.
"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.
For the FIFA World Cup, Achilles will move out of his home of the basements of the Hermitage and will live at the "Cat Republic" cafe. At the Hermitage, he works with a team of other cats to keep the world-famous museum free of rodents.
"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 further added.
The cat is not the first animal to be positioned as successor to the celebrated Paul, who became the world's most famous mollusk when he correctly predicted all the matches of the German team during the World Cup held in South Africa. He went on to predict the victory of Spain in the final.
Swiss guinea pig Madame Shiva made a play for the crown in 2014, as did British Piranha Pele, but neither could come near Paul's foresight.
(With AFP inputs)