Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev live together in a one-bedroom apartment with Messi’s strange pet animal as a roommate. No, not the movie star himself, but his namesake, a 90-pound puma named Pumba. In 2010, the Russian couple first noticed Messi at the Saransk Zoo in Penza, barely eight months old. They decided to take a chance and adopt the young lion.
Messi was one of three jaguars born at the zoo, the other two being Messi and Messi II. Both of the other players, Luis Suarez and Neymar, were named after well-known footballers to honour the Russian city that hosted four World Cup matches in 2014. Messi was handed to the Saransk Zoo when he was just three months old, and he had medical issues at the time. The Dmitrievs became fascinated with the zoo beast that had been exterminated and approached the proprietors to inquire if they could obtain him.
“It’s difficult to explain,” Aleksandr, 38, and his wife Mariya, 28, told the Mirror, “but we believe that having this puma as a house cat is part of our destiny.” “We debated for three days whether it was moral to have such an exotic pet and whether having one was common sense,” Mariya, 28, added. “We debated for three days whether it was moral to keep such an exotic pet and whether it made sense to have one.” So we went to the zoo and began negotiating with them to purchase Messi, and we were pleasantly delighted when they agreed.”
In many ways, taking on caring for Messi was a difficult proposition. The cat required additional medical treatment and care in addition to its status as a wild animal; “he was pretty weak and needed a great deal of attention,” Mariya explained. According to the couple even though the pair has nursed the cub back to health, he is still just two-thirds the size of a typical puma.
Like any other pet, Messi demands a lot of physical activity to be healthy. He has a special coat and harness that his human parents bought for him to wear when they walk with him. “He’s like a dog,” says the author. We began by taking him for a short stroll, one step at a time. In an interview with RT, Aleksandr explained that the animal had not been very active previously and that “now we walk a lot twice a day, as it’s intended to be.” It isn’t much different from having a dog.”
However, unlike canine training, training this beloved behemoth was not without its challenges. The pair attempted to locate a wild animal handler but were unsuccessful in their efforts. Finally, they could locate a dog training school where he could enrol. He is now capable of responding to approximately ten different orders. “Because of his behaviour, we were confident that he was a full member of our family and that, aside from a few minor misdemeanours, he would not engage in any criminal activity. He’s a nice guy who enjoys making contact. He has a great rapport with others, and “Aleksandr explains his point of view.
Because it is uncommon to have an exotic cat in your home, the Dmitrievs film their lives with their ‘housecat’ on social media, and their followers are enthralled by it. While the actual Messi has over 100 million Instagram followers. According to the official website, Messi the cat has over 500 thousand followers on his @I am puma account and over 170,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Even though they only have a one-bedroom apartment, the couple has done everything they can to meet their enormous companion’s needs. In the case of their hallway, they transformed it into Messi’s den, complete with a tree, bamboo walls, and an underground hiding hole. “He is just an average cat, albeit a very large cat. He possesses all of the characteristics of a cat. “Aleksandr explains his point of view. As you can expect, some animal and environmental rights advocates are outraged that the Dmitrievs are harbouring an exotic species in their home and believe Messi should be kept in a wildlife reserve or sanctuary rather than in their own home. On the other hand, others express concern about the dangers of living with a wild animal.
However, because he has never been left alone in the wild, the pair feels he would not survive in a group of other animals. “About course, having such a giant cat at home might be risky, but Messi is a special animal,” Mariya told the Mirror of her feline companion.