Meet Messi the puma, who lives like a house cat with Mariya and Alexander Dmitriev in an apartment in Russia.
The 90-pound cat was born with health problems at a zoo in Penza and the future was looking bleak for this beautiful animal, until the couple saw him and fell in love.
Most people dream of having a pet dog or cat. But Alexander has always dreamed of having a big cat.
He was only 3 months old when the couple spotted him and asked zoo management if they could adopt him.
To their surprise, the management said yes and the now two and a half year old is ten times the size of your average house cat.
“It’s hard to explain but we believe that having this puma is part of our destiny,” says Mariya.
“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 told The Mirror .
But taking care of a puma is not easy. Messi, named after the famous footballer, has health problems and is weaker than your average puma.
The couple said Messi is a special case but they wouldn’t recommend keeping wild cats.
“Of course it’s quite dangerous having such a large cat at home, but Messi is a special animal,” Mariya said.
“Everyone who knows him thinks he is a human in a puma’s skin. He is very talkative and always answers when we speak to him. Sometimes he agrees with what we say, but sometimes he can be insulted. He’s an incredible animal.”
Like other large pets, Messi needs a lot of exercise. To cope with this, Alexander and Mariya have bought a special coat and harness so he can be taken for walks.
And they’ve turned their hallway into a special puma play area.
“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,” Alexander told RT .
Messi seems to have adapted well to his new life and Alexander says that he has become part of the family and thrives well living with people.
Messi has become a celebrity on both YouTube and Instagram and has over 700,000 followers.
Alexander and Mariya are convinced that Messi would not have survived in the wild because of his health problems.
“We are so lucky he is like he is and we would not recommend having wild cats at home,” adds Mariya.
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