Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Slightly Defective Museum Cat Clearly The Animal To Beat In Predicting The World Cup

Achilles, who you can tell is a genius just by looking at him.
Photo: Irina Titova (AP Photo)

We are just 12 weeks away from some soccer games, but more importantly we are just 12 weeks away from a bunch of animals picking the winners of those soccer games. Following in the footsteps of Paul the octopus and Clam the psychic clam, a veritable menagerie of clairvoyant creatures are preparing to flex their predictive muscles and tiny subhuman brains.

There’s a meerkat. There’s an otter. A raccoon. There are like four different turtles. I saw some wallaby-looking thing. There’s a dang polar bear. They’ll probably dig out another octopus from somewhere.


But none have the track record of Achilles, the deaf (and slightly cross-eyed) Russian museum cat.

Achilles is one of 50 or so cats that live at St. Petersburg’s Hermitage museum and protect the art from mice, but the only one selected as the museum’s official animal oracle. Why? Oh, just the little fact that “he had displayed capabilities for choice, analysis and unusual behavior,” according to a museum spokesperson. 

Achilles, please take all my money and bet it however you see fit. We’ll be rich.

Achilles earned his role picking for the 2018 World Cup with his performance predicting last year’s Confederations Cup. And now that I do my research, it appears that Achilles was correct on three of his four Confed Cup predictions. Which really isn’t that great, when you consider the sample size. Huh.


Don’t fuck me over, Achilles. I know where you live. You won’t hear me coming.

Achilles will make his World Cup picks by choosing between two bowls of food marked with the flags of competing nations. Knowing cats, when presented with the options, Achilles will run to another room and barf on the carpet and then hide under something for a few hours. This is what the World Cup is all about.

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