A loving couple like Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev shouldn’t have any issues living in a one-bedroom apartment in Russia, but that was before one of the world’s most famous soccer stars moved in.
Actually, it’s a big, hairy namesake puma Messi, not the soccer star himself.
The Dmitrievs first met Messi in the Saransk zoo in Penza, when he weighed 90 pounds. Born, one of three cubs (all named after soccer players), Mariya and Aleksandr fell in love with Messi right away and wanted to take him home with them, despite his terrible condition.
Taking Messi Home
They finally became Messi’s new parents after pleading with the zoo to let them take him home.
He’s barely two-thirds the size of normal pumas, even at 90 pounds, and his health issues have necessitated extra special loving care and veterinary help.
Aleksandr, 38, has long dreamt of owning a huge cat, according to his wife Mariya: “He always fantasized of getting a lynx — never a puma.” It’s difficult to describe, but we think that having a puma as a house cat is a part of our fate.”
Taking up Messi’s care was difficult in many ways. The cat, in addition to being a wild animal, required special medical treatment and care. “He was pretty frail and wanted a lot of attention,” Mariya explained.
Like A Dog
Messi, like any other pet, needed a lot of exercises, which is why his human parents bought him a special coat and leash so they could walk him. “He reminds me of a puppy. We began taking him for a stroll, one step at a time.
Aleksandr explained that the animal hadn’t been very active before: “Now we walk a lot twice a day as it should be.” In this way, it’s not dissimilar to having a dog.”
Messi is a people person who adapts well to life outside of the zoo. Puma Messi is a star in his own right, with 500k Instagram followers. His human parents turned their hallway into a unique play area for him, complete with a tree, bamboo, and a hiding spot. He’s a pussy cat, only a big one; he curls, naps, snuggles, and prefers to sit in a warm, comfy position.
One thing’s for sure, Messi is a well-loved feline, a pampered pussy cat in the extreme.
“He is just an ordinary cat, but a big one. He has all the habits of a cat,” says Aleksandr.
As you might expect, some animal rights and environmental activists disagree to the Dmitrievs having an exotic animal in their house, believing Messi belongs in a wildlife reserve or sanctuary. Others, on the other hand, point out the dangers of living with a wild animal.
However, because he has never lived alone in the wild, the pair feels he would not survive with other animals. “Of sure, keeping such a huge cat at home is risky, but Messi is a unique animal,” Mariya explained.