If someone said a puma is living with humans in a home, would you believe? Well, most of the time, you’d say that something like this can not happen. Pumas are carnivores that are unlikely to live with humans and that would be a threat to human lives.
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Yet, Messi, the 90 lb puma would be an exception to this notion since he already lives in Russia with Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev. The couple met Messi in Penza, Russia at the Saransk Zoon and Messi was only 8 years old at the time. For his age, he was really adorable and the couple wanted to have him on their lives.
Messi had two brothers raised with him as well and they were named after famous soccer players to commemorate the Russian city hosting four of the World Cup games. So, when he was just 3 months old, three of them were named Messi, Suarez, and Neymar and Messi were sold to the zoo.
Image credits and more info: l_am_puma
From very young days, he had been sick and the zoo couldn’t look after him. It was then that the couple decided to have Messi and talked about Aleksandr’s wish for Messi, Mariya says the Mirror,
“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”.
“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 to negotiate to buy Messi. We were surprised ourselves when the agreed”.
Nonetheless, taking care of this giant puma was extremely difficult for the pair. By definition he was wild and he was pretty weak that needed a lot of care.
Even after being rescued, however, Messi only grew up to two-thirds of the average puma height, which was still a huge size as compared to other species.
In an interview with RT, Mariya and Aleksandr bought a special harness and a coat to take him on walks, Aleksandr said,
“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”.
The couple was able to find a dog training school that would allow Messi to join and Messi can now respond to about 10 commands.
Aleksandr says, “He convinced us with his behavior that he is a full member of our family and that he wouldn’t be doing anything bad apart from some small naughty things. He is very kind and likes contact. He gets along well with people”.
Aleksandr started documenting their lives with Puma and people are totally in love with those posts. They have over 500k followers on their Instagram page @I am puma, and have over 175k subscribers on their YouTube channel.
The couple has tried their best to provide Messi with a comfortable environment, and have even converted their halls into Messi’s den with a tree, hiding hole and bamboo wall.
Aleksandr says, “He is just an ordinary cat, but a big one. He has all the habits of a cat”.
Nevertheless, several complaints from animal rights activists have been raised about the couple holding the puma pointing to the risks that Messi can cause as well as their right to live in the wild.
Image Credit: Instagram
Nevertheless, the couple thinks Messi’s choice is to stay with them rather than in the wild because they think he won’t survive in the wild. Mariya told the Mirror, “Keeping such a big cat at home is of course very risky, but Messi is a special animal.”
So let us know about their story, your thoughts.