About 84 million families in the United States have a pet. And that would mean a regular domesticated pet, like a dog, a cat, a bird, or perhaps a reptile. But a family in Russia has a unique animal that doesn’t really counts as a pet.
His name is Messi and he’s a domesticated puma. Yes, you read it right, we said PUMA. How did that happen, you wonder…? The owners were happy to explain it all and their Instagram page is full of cuteness!
20. Adopting a …Cat
Basically, the Russian couple has adopted a cat. Okay, it’s far bigger than a cat, but not so big for a puma. And that is how the story begins: With Messi, being too small to count as a wild puma.
19. Yes, He is a Puma
Joke aside, Messi is really a puma. But his problem was that he was 30% smaller than an average puma male, and he couldn’t make it in the wild or in a zoo with other pumas. So, he got a home of his own…
18. The Cub Was Injured
On top of that, when Messi was first found, he had some injuries and the zoo enclosure couldn’t keep him or send him to another zoo. There was one single option in his case: he had to be put down.
17. A Lucky Day
In 2016, Mariya and Alexander Dmitriev went to a zoo, where they saw the puma kitten. They immediately fell in love with the adorable cub and when they found out about him, they knew it…
16. Was It Moral?
Mariya and her husband thought of adopting the cub after finding out about his health problems. She said that they ‘had three days of thinking hard about whether it was moral to keep a puma, and whether it was common sense to have one.’
15. Not Worth Fighting It
‘But nothing could fight our sudden wish,’ said Mariya. So they went to the zoo and after negotiating with the zoo, they finally took the cub home. And then the Dmitrievs didn’t regret it for a second, even if it was though…
14. It Was Meant to Be
As soon as they laid their eyes on the kitten, they felt like it should be theirs. The cub was getting a loving home and even meeting new friends. He grew up and Instagram was flooded with cuteness!
13. ‘We Were So Happy’
‘We were so happy, and even though he was quite weak and demanded a lot of attention, we didn’t regret our decision at all,’ said Mariya.
12. Messi is Lucky
Although some people agree that having a wild animal as a pet is not right, Messi is a special case. He gets a proper diet and his family takes good care of him. He goes on walks and he even gets trained!
11. Going to Classes
Messi is a good boy! The small puma attends dog training classes and is quite an example. Here he is in a photo, sitting pretty after a command. Messi also gets to fool around whenever he wants, athough…
10. Into the Wild
Even though Messi is a ‘house cat’, he goes on walks into the Russian wildlife and on the beach, just like a regular dog! Arriving at home, he has his own playpen in which he can play and sleep.
9. Kira, the Sphynx Cat
The couple has Messi, the furry big cat, and Kira, the small hairless cat. Unfortunately, the two don’t get along, because Kira doesn’t want to play with Messi. This is what their human mother said about them…
8. Kira is Not Friendly With Messi
‘She doesn’t want to be friends with Messi and hisses at him whenever she sees him. We don’t allow him to get close to her.’ And that’s a wise choice because nobody would want to make a puma angry!
7. A Big Cat
Mariya said that her husband ‘loves animals so much and had been dreaming about having a big cat for his whole life’. Lucky for them, they found Messi. It might sound too much, but it was fate bringing them together.
6. Getting to Know Messi
When people hear that they have a puma, they cannot believe it, but once they see the huge cat, they’re shocked! And looking at their videos on Instagram, Mariya’s next words make sense!
5. ‘A Human In a Puma’s Skin’
‘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,’ said Mariya. And sometimes…
4. Just Like a Cat
Mariya continues saying that sometimes Messi ‘can be insulted.’ She admits that having a wildcat at home is not a good idea and that they are lucky that Messi has a gentle and calm personality. When bath time comes…
3. Taking Regular Baths
Messi’s got a lot of activities: he plays in a special area, he gets regular baths and he gets tons of walks in nature with his human family. He also walks on a leash for his own protection.
2. A Unique Story
Messi’s story is unique and beautiful. His owners are lucky that he’s not dangerous, but nobody knows how a wild animal reacts, even he’s been domesticated from a young age. We hope Messi remains the same sweet kitten…
1. When Owning Wild Animals Goes Wrong
Some people can’t handle it when their wild cats grow too big. There have been cases of abandonment, with some owners leaving their ‘pets’ to starve to death or having them killed. Moreover, the trend of having an exotic pet has fueled the wildlife trade and violated both animal and human rights.