Rescue puma can’t be released back to the wild so couple spoils him as a house cat
Some people dream of picking out the most beautiful dog to bring into their homes.
As a kid, we wanted lions and tigers, as we age we find we will settle for a German Shepherd.
Aleksandr and Mariya Dmitriev actually are living that childhood dream when they adopted a legit puma!
While pumas aren’t really domesticated, Messi the puma has been living with his Russian since 2016!
Pumas can learn to love, but can’t be domesticated.
Animal experts have declared pumas, along with an array of other exotic feline species, as not capable of being domesticated.
They say that these wild cats may grow accustomed to their owners and act in a docile demeanor but that they will never be domesticated like traditional house cats.
This is why Messi is so very special!
Messi has quite an interesting story.
Born in the Saransk Zoo in Penza with his siblings, Suarez and Neymar, he was the clear runt of the litter.
He also had some serious health issues that kept him from living in a wildlife sanctuary or even the zoo!
They aren’t native to Russia, either, barring a wild release.
Messi would need to grow up in captivity since he wouldn’t make it otherwise.
Zoo owners were considering putting Messi to sleep at a lack of other options to consider. But, then Aleksandr and Mariya came along.
Mariya has always dreamed of being the owner of a large cat. When the couple saw Messi, it was love at first sight.
And, upon hearing about Messi’s fate, they began considering adopting Messi as their own.
The couple loved Messi with all their hearts, but felt conflicted. Was it fair to keep a truly wild animal in their one-bedroom apartment? He was going to need a lot of care and attention, as well.
In the end, the Dmitrievs decided that Messi was well worth the effort and finalized the adoption.
It was the house-cat life for Messi!
The couple did a few things to help with their special friend.
They built a climbing tree for him to climb, a hiding hole, and even bamboo walls that could be easily replaced.
Messi loves taking baths in the bathtub, enjoys cuddles and naps with his owners in their bed, and loves snuggling up with his stuffed lobster.
He thrived in the environment and his health improved.
However, even at a healthy 90-pounds, Messi is still two-thirds smaller than the average puma.
Just like a normal pet, they take him on walks! Imagine seeing a puma on a leash while you are out with your Shitzu!
Messi even went to a training school to help train him.
The Dmitriev’s knew that looking after Messi would be a challenge. After much searching, they finally found a dog training school that would help them, and Messi now responds to ten different commands!
The puma seemed to love the classes, as well as the animal contact with others.
This puma has become quite famous!
Like anyone would, the couple has documented much of their journey.
Messi has a social media account on Instagram with over 500k followers, and a YouTube channel with 170k subscribers!
The Dmitrievs are now considering adopting a friend for Messi and have their eyes set on a leopard.
You can follow the antics and adventures of our favorite puma on his Instagram account at I_am_puma.
Take a peek at their family life in the video below!
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