A Kindhearted Russian couple first spotted Messi at the Saransk Zoo in Penza.


He was only 8 months old. However, this couple decided to adopt him as a family member.

puma

There were two cubs who were born along with Messi. They are Suarez and Neymar. However, the cub was sold to the Saransk Zoo when he was just three months old. He also had health problems and was suffered with them. The Russian couple Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev appealed to the zoo and requested whether they can buy him.

puma in tub
Image credits: l_am_puma

Aleksandr Dmitriev and puma

Mariya always wanted to have a big cat at her home, “he always thought about having a lynx and never a puma. It’s hard to explain but we believe that having this puma is part of our destiny. Said Mariya

puma on a pillow

“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,” Mariya, 28, told the Mirror. “So we went to the zoo and started negotiations to buy Messi. We were surprised ourselves when they agreed.”

sleeping puma
Image credits: l_am_puma

puma

Taking care of the Messi is a big challenge “he was quite weak and demanded a lot of attention,” said Mariya. though the couple has nurtured the cub back to health, he is still only two-thirds of the size of the average puma.

puma and man

Messi requires a lot of physical activities “He is like a dog. We started taking him for a walk, step by step. The animal hadn’t been really active before, Aleksandr said in an interview with RT, “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.”

puma and christmas tree
Image credits: l_am_puma

puma and man sleeping

It is not similar to a dog training; Messi is not easy like we think. The couple tried to find a wild animal handler but were not positive.

puma climbing tree

Lastly, they found a dog training school so that he could attend and now he learned to respond about diverse commands.

puma with dogs
Image credits: l_am_puma

puma with dog training

“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,” says Aleksandr.

sleepy puma

Messi has 100m Instagram followers, cat Messi still does pretty well with over 500k followers on his @I_am_puma account and over 170k subscribers on his YouTube account.

puma and girl
Image credits: l_am_puma

puma's lunch time

As per the couple, they have only one bedroom in their apartment, but they have given the best accommodation for their giant family member.

puma sleeping

“He is just an ordinary cat, but a big one. He has all the habits of a cat,” says Aleksandr.

puma on snow

As per the environmental rights, some activists have oppositions to the Dmitriev keeping an exotic animal in their home because they say that the Messi belongs on a wildlife reserve or in a sanctuary. Some people think that it also a risk for their lives of keeping a wild animal.

puma with cow

“Of course it’s quite dangerous having such a large cat at home, but Messi is a special animal,” Mariya told the Mirror.

puma with family
Image credits: l_am_puma
puma napping
Image credits: l_am_puma
puma near the river
Image credits: l_am_puma

Check out Messi playing with his favorite toys

Or learn how to wash a puma

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