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Hermitage cat mathematician basks in glory in Saint Petersburg

Cats have had a long history of taking up residence at the museum, as far back as Peter the Great bringing the first palace feline from Holland

ST. PETERSBURG, January 27 /TASS/. A resident tomcat at the Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg, that can count and extract square roots is quickly becoming an internet star, employees of the famous art museum told TASS on Friday.

Apparently, Maru, an ordinary tabby at first glance, can solve math problems and gives an answer by pressing a button bell the right number of times.

In just three days, the video of his skills has been seen by several thousand people, and the number of views is rapidly growing.

“In order to extract a square root of nine or add five and three together, Maru just needs a few seconds, “ said Anna Kondratieva, the Head of the Republic of Cats, a cafe at the Hermitage, where Maru is just one of the residents. 

Maru appeared at the cafe after he was hit by a car at the Hermitage parking lot.  After he recovered, the cat cafe employees noticed that he had extraordinary skills. Last year, someone taught him to ring a button bell, like the kind you’d see on hotel reception desks. Maru figured out that ringing the bell would secure him an extra portion of cat food, so he proceeded as a Pavlov cat.

“In September 2016, someone asked the cat what 1+1 would be and he rang the bell the right number of times. Then, he was asked to add 2 and 2 and again, Maru gave the right answer,” musuem employees said, adding that witnesses were flabbergasted.

“It was decided to continue the cat’s education, to help him master more complicated math problems - subtraction, multiplication, division. Then, it became obvious that the cat is much smarter than previously thought. Perhaps, he is the world’s only can that knows how to count,” employees say.

Cats have had a long history of taking up residence at the museum, as far back as Peter the Great bringing the first palace feline from Holland. Later on, his daughter Empress Elizabeth would publish a decree to send rat-catching cats to the Winter Palace from Kazan. In 1764, Catherine II granted the cats official museum guard status, when the Hermitage opened. During the Siege of Leningrad, the Hermitage cats were protected, because they kept the rats away from the collections.

In 2015, British media recognized the Hermitage cats as one of the world’s most unusual sights.