STORY: ++Russia WC Cats - Achilles the cat to predict results of World Cup matches in Russia

LENGTH: 05:18



TYPE: Russian/Natsound



DATELINE: St Petersburg - 8 June 2018




St Petersburg - 8 June 2018

1. Various of veterinarian Anna Kondratieva brushing Achilles the cat

2. Mid of cats

3. Various of Achilles in football jersey

4. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Anna Kondratieva, veterinarian of the Hermitage cats:

"There were several contenders for the role of oracle of the Confederation Cup and FIFA (World Cup) matches, but Achilles has shown himself as a stress-resistant companion and also as a cat that is interested in football. During the Confederations Cup he displayed himself as a great oracle, he predicted all matches correctly without a single mistake."

5. Various of Achilles on training wheel

6. Various of Achilles together with other cats eating

7. Various of Achilles trying to get food from container

8. Wide of cats eating

9. Close of Achilles eating

10. Pan of cats eating

11. Various of Achilles eating

12. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Anna Kondratieva, veterinarian of the Hermitage cats:

"At the 'Republic of Cats', Achilles is on a strict diet. In the Hermitage everyone  pampers him because he is everyone's darling, but here he has a strict diet and training. He is running inside the wheel, is actively walking and is also training on the sports simulators. In addition, he is training his intuition by choosing food from the container."

13. Various of Achilles

14. Tilt down exterior of Republic of Cats

15. Close of cat statue

16. Various of cats inside the Hermitage Museum basement

17. Close of photo of a cat

18. Close of cat been caressed

19.  Mid of Maria Haltunen caressing cat

20. Close of cat eating

21. Close of cats resting

22. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Maria Haltunen, Press secretary of the Hermitage Museum cats:

"The Sports Committee of St. Petersburg suggested that we nominate one of our cats for the role of oracle. This offer came to us because we are very popular. We were choosing among strange cats, cats that were capable of finding something.  Achilles was an ideal choice. He could find things and in addition to this, he is crippled. He has a minor birth defect which is a broken tail, you can see he has very strange tail, and he is deaf. We considered, and it turned out to be right, that when you lack something it is compensated by something else. That's why he was a very good oracle."

23. Various of cats in the Hermitage Museum basement

24. Various exteriors of the Hermitage Museum

25. Close of sign warning to be mindful of cats in the area


Achilles, a resident cat of the world's famous Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, has been officially chosen as an oracle for the upcoming football FIFA World Cup.

During the FIFA Confederations Cup that Russia hosted in 2017, Achilles proved himself to be a reliable oracle, flawlessly predicting the outcome of all the matches.

The white, blue-eyed cat will be predicting the winners by choosing a bowl of food where flags of each team are attached.

Currently, Achilles is undergoing intense training at the Cats Republic, a cafe which is part of the Cats Museum, where he is being trained on intuition skills.

He has also been put on a strict diet to get in a shape for the World Cup.

Achilles was chosen from dozens of cats that inhabit the basement of Hermitage Museum.

According to Maria Haltunen, press secretary of Hermitage Cats, Achilles is deaf and also has a birth defect, but this is compensated with good intuition.  

"We considered, and it turned out to be right, that when you lack something it is compensated by something else. That's why he was a very good oracle", Haltunen said.

The Hermitage is currently home to some 50 cats which live in the museum's cellars and catch mice.

Cats were introduced to the Hermitage, then the imperial Winter Palace, by Peter the Great in the 18th century.

Catherine the Great officially made the cats guards of the royal picture gallery.


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