‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Tells Funny Story About His Cat That ‘Doesn’t Have Any Teeth’

by Caitlin Berard

After an incredible 16-game winning streak, beloved super champ Ryan Long’s time on Jeopardy! came to an end. Following a nail-biting game, Eric Ahasic, a meteorologist from Minneapolis, Minnesota, took his place as reigning champion.

Part of what made Ryan Long a fan-favorite Jeopardy! contestant was his unfailing sense of humor. That said, though fans will undoubtedly miss Ryan’s entertaining run on Jeopardy!, Eric’s is already off to a hilarious start.

In a recent episode, Eric Ahasic described his cat, which he lovingly named Potato, who doesn’t have any teeth. “His name is Potato or ‘Tato, for short,” Ahasic explained before giving an adorable wave and shout out to his cat (who’s no doubt watching his owner’s Jeopardy! run with bated breath).

“Unfortunately, he had this genetic condition where his teeth would just rot,” Eric continued. “And the vet said the best way to take care of it is just to pull them all out. Apparently, they don’t need them to eat dry food, wet food, anything! So we did that, and he’s doing just fine.”

Disappointingly, Eric added that Potato the cat does not eat potatoes. It’s probably for the best, however, as cats are carnivores.

Reigning ‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Eric Ahasic Applied for 16 Years Before Scoring a Contestant Slot

Being a contestant on Jeopardy! is hard work. Believe it or not, answering challenging questions under the studio lights is merely the last step in a long series of hurdles one must pass to find themselves standing behind a contestant’s podium.

For Eric Ahasic, becoming a Jeopardy! contestant was a 16-year battle. He’s been applying for a spot on the show since high school! Though this means Eric had more than a decade to mentally prepare for his Jeopardy! appearance, standing next to his fellow contestants was far more stressful than he could have imagined.

“It was honestly, I think, one of the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Eric explained to MPR News. “The whole morning leading up to it and then getting to the studio and hearing that you’re gonna go up against a 16-game champion, Ryan Long, who’s won almost $300,000, definitely didn’t help the nerves. But everyone on staff there is so great at just calming everybody down in what is obviously a very high-stress situation for all the contests there.”

“Honestly, when you’re in the game, it just goes so fast you don’t really have time to be nervous,” the Jeopardy! champ continued. “Although I will say, the Final Jeopardy! question at the end where you wager your money and write it on the prompter there, my hand was shaking.”

“And I have pretty bad handwriting, to begin with. So I hope it didn’t look even worse than it normally does with my hand shaking trying to write that final answer down, which I was lucky enough to get right.”