Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev decided to share their one-bedroom apartment with Messi. No not the star himself, nor their son. Guess who? It is a 90lb Puma. When he was just eight-months-old, the Russian couple first saw Messi at the Saransk Zoo in Penza and decided that they had to have him.
The cub was at the Saransk Zoo since he was three months old. He suffered from health problems. Despite his illness, Dmitriev’s went to the zoo and asked if they could buy him.
Aleksandr, 38, was fond of animals, and he had always dreamed of owning a big cat, Said: “I always thought about having a lynx, never a Puma. I can’t explain, but we believe that it’s meant to be to have this Puma.”
Mariya, 28, told the Mirror. “Nothing could fight our sudden wish,” “So we went to the zoo and started negotiations to buy Messi. We were overwhelmed and surprised when they agreed.”
It was challenging to take care of Messi. The cat was ill, so he needed extra medical attention and care, “he was quite weak and demanded a lot of attention,” said Mariya. Although the couple took care of the cub, he is still only two-thirds of the size of the average Puma.
Like any other pet, Messi needed to exercise. The couple provided to the cub a particular coat and harness so they can take him on walks. Aleksandr said, “He is more like a dog. So we started taking him for walks. Adding” The cub was never active before. But, we try to walk him twice a day, as it’s supposed to be”.” It’s like owning a dog”.
However, training this lovely giant was not easy. The couple struggled to find a wild animal handler. But finally, they found a dog training school he could attend and now responds to about ten different commands.
Having a wild animal in your house is quite rare, so the Dmitrievs decided to document life with their ‘housecat’ across social media. Now he becomes famous, and people love it. Cat Messi has over 500k followers on his @I_am_puma account, and he got over 170k subscribers on his YouTube account. Lucky Messi! I hope he pursuit the real Messi steps by having over 100m Instagram followers.
“We are so happy having him around, Messi has all the habits of a cat but a big one,” says Aleksandr.
Many animal and environmental rights activists have objections to the Dmitrievs keeping an exotic animal in their home. They believe Messi belongs on a wildlife reserve or in a sanctuary while others think that it’s dangerous to live with a wild animal at the same house.
But the couple has a different opinion about this, believing that Messi can not survive alongside other animals as he has never lived alone in the wild.
“Nobody doubts that it’s dangerous having such a large cat at home, but Messi is a special animal and behavior as he’s a full member of our family. He can’t do anything bad apart from some small naughty things. He’s also adorable, and he gets along quickly with other people.” Mariya told the Mirror.