Russia’s 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in Thursday’s opening game of the FIFA World Cup was good not only for the host country but also for a supposedly clairvoyant cat.
His name is Achilles and he lives in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where his usual duties include lazing around in between the odd attempt at rat catching.
During the monthlong soccer tournament, however, Achilles is taking on a different task: making World Cup predictions by choosing between two bowls of cat food, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
Achilles picked Russia over Saudi Arabia in the opening match. Then, the national team did their part to make him look good (not that that was their priority).
The cat is deaf and Hermitage officials suggest that gives him an advantage since he’s not easily distracted when making predictions, according to Reuters.
They didn’t tell the news agency whether the sight of the national flags might sway his choice. But museum veterinarian Anna Kondratyeva told told the Associated Press that Achilles “loves his motherland and couldn’t vote otherwise.”
The 2018 World Cup isn’t the first go-around for Achilles, who correctly predicted the outcomes of three out of four Confederations Cup matches played in St. Petersburg last year, including the opening and final matches, Tass reports.
Achilles’ prediction may be catnip to Russian soccer fans, but he has a long way to go before he can be declared top dog among psychic animals.
That honor still belongs to Paul the Psychic Octopus, who in 2010 successfully picked the outcome of eight World Cup games. Paul didn’t get a single prediction wrong.