Have you ever wondered what is it like to have a puma as a domestic house animal? Well, after reading this story, I am sure you will consider it.
The whole story is about Messi, a beautiful puma named after the football player Messi, who was rescued from a Russian contact-type zoo by a Russian couple, Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev. They first spotted Messi at the Saransk Zoo in Penza when he was just eight-months-old. According to the couple’s friend Stassia, the zoo in which Messi was caged, was a terrible place for him, without having proper equipment and care, so it was impossible for him to survive in the wild.
Messi was one of three cubs born at the zoo. The other two, Suarez and Neymar, were also named after famous football players to celebrate the Russian city hosting four matches of the World Cup. After Messi was sold to the Saransk Zoo when he was three months old, he suffered from health problems. The first time Mariya and Aleksandr saw him, they simply fell in love with him and asked if they could adopt him.
At the time they adopted him, Puma was quite ill and needed round the clock care. But, the couple was ready to take care of him and give him all the love he needed.
According to Mariya, Aleksandr had always dreamed of owning a big cat, saying:
He always thought about having a lynx – never a puma. It’s hard to explain but we believe that having this puma is part of our destiny.
They now share a one-bedroom apartment with a 90lb puma and can’t get any happier.
Talking about their decision to get a puma into their house, Mariya told the Mirror:
We had three days of thinking hard about whether it was moral to keep a puma, and whether it was common sense to have one. But nothing could fight our sudden wish. So we went to the zoo and started negotiations to buy Messi. We were surprised ourselves when they agreed.
Having in mind Messi’s condition, even though the couple has taken care of him and nursed him back to health, he is still only two-thirds of the size of the average puma.
In an interview with RT, Aleksandr revealed the routine they follow with their lovely new friend, saying:
He is like a dog. We started taking him for a walk, step by step. The animal hadn’t been really active before. Now we walk a lot twice a day, as it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t differ much from owning a dog in this sense.
Who’s a big boy now?
They even share their bed with him. Isn’t that lovely?
Recently, they have sent Messi to a dog training school and now can respond to about 10 different commands. Good boy!
Talking about Messi’s behavior and relationship with people, Aleksandr said:
He convinced us with his behavior that he’s a full member of our family and that he wouldn’t be doing anything bad apart from some small naughty things. He’s very kind and likes contact. He gets on very well with people.
Messi has his own Instagram now, being followed by 500k Instagram users, while on his YouTube account he has over 170k subscribers.
Even though Mariya and Aleksandr live in a one-bedroom apartment, they have done their best to bring nature to Messi. Thus, they have converted their hallway into Messi’s den, which includes a tree, bamboo walls, and a hiding hole.
Despite many objections to the Dmitriev’s decision to keep an exotic animal in their home, the couple believes that their lovely puma would not be able to survive alongside other animals as he has never lived alone in the wild. “Of course it’s quite dangerous having such a large cat at home, but Messi is a special animal,” Mariya told the Mirror.
See how special and lovely he is!
Watch below this lovely creature playing with his favorite toys:
Or you can learn how to wash a puma instead: