Couple Treats Wild Puma Like a Pampered House Cat at Home

Written by: Clarisse Jelle
Clarisse is an effective freelance SEO writer for a dog magazine, combining her deep passion for animals with her professional skills. Her hands-on experience with rescued cats and stray dogs enriches her writing, enabling her to create engaging and informative content that resonates with pet parents and animal lovers.Read more
| Published on June 26, 2024

Some people dream of bringing home the most beautiful dog. As children, we might fantasize about owning lions or tigers, but as we grow older, we settle for a German Shepherd.

Aleksandr and Mariya Dmitriev, however, are living a childhood dream by adopting a real puma!

While pumas aren’t truly domesticated, Messi the puma has been living with this Russian couple since 2016!

Experts say pumas can learn to love but can’t be fully domesticated. Animal experts have stated that pumas, like many other exotic feline species, cannot be domesticated.

They may become accustomed to their owners and exhibit docile behavior, but they will never be like traditional house cats.

This is what makes Messi so extraordinary!

Messi’s story is fascinating. He was born in the Saransk Zoo in Penza with his siblings, Suarez and Neymar, and was clearly the runt of the litter.

Messi also had significant health problems that prevented him from surviving in a wildlife sanctuary or even the zoo. Pumas aren’t native to Russia, so releasing him into the wild wasn’t an option. Messi needed to grow up in captivity to survive.

Zoo owners were considering euthanizing Messi due to a lack of options. But then Aleksandr and Mariya stepped in.

Mariya had always dreamed of owning a big cat. When the couple saw Messi, it was love at first sight. Upon learning about Messi’s dire situation, they started thinking about adopting him.

The couple adored Messi but felt conflicted. Was it fair to keep a truly wild animal in their one-bedroom apartment? Messi would require a lot of care and attention.

In the end, the Dmitrievs decided that Messi was worth the effort and finalized the adoption.
Messi embraced the house-cat life!T

The couple made special accommodations for their unique pet. They built a climbing tree, 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.
Just like a regular pet, they take him on walks! Imagine seeing a puma on a leash while you’re out with your Shih Tzu! Messi even attended a training school.

The Dmitrievs knew caring for Messi would be challenging. After extensive searching, they found a dog training school that agreed to help. Messi now responds to ten different commands!

Messi enjoyed the classes and the interaction with other animals. This puma has become quite famous!

The couple has documented much of their journey. Messi has a social media presence on Instagram with over 500k followers and a YouTube channel with 170k subscribers!

The Dmitrievs are now thinking about adopting a friend for Messi and are considering a leopard.

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