The gorgeous Messi is just like any other cat, but he has one ‘huge’ difference – he is a cougar! When Messi was an eight-month-old baby, his owners spotted him at the zoo in Penza. They instantly knew that they had to adopt him. Check out his daily life and read about his story!
In the Saransk Zoo, three cougar cubs were born, including Messi. Messi became famous online. As Saransk was one of several cities that wished to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, his other brothers, Suarez and Neymar, also were named after famous players. When Messi was three months old, however, he was sold to a petting zoo in Penza.
A photo of baby Messi! He sure has transformed successfully into a beautiful grown cougar.
His health was poor at such a young age, due to various health problems. Due to his small size, and the fact that he is not a native animal in Russia, he is unlikely to be able to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild, and he will have to live with humans when he reaches adulthood.
It is believed that it is in the nature of Alex to be part of a house cat family. His owners, Alexandr and Maria Dmitriev, live in Penza, western Russia.
As soon as they visited Messi’s new zoo in 2016, they fell in love with him instantly. “We pondered for three days whether it was morally acceptable to keep such an exotic pet, and if it was just common sense to have one.” At first, they resisted adopting Messi. When the zoo agreed to hand Messi over to them, they couldn’t resist their sudden wish. So they went to the zoo and began negotiations to buy Messi: Their agreement surprised us.”
As Messi was already ill and had numerous health issues, and was also an exotic cat, it wasn’t an easy task to take care of him. Because of this, the family needed extra attention, medical treatment, and care. He has been nursed back to good health by the couple, but he is still only half the size of an average puma.
Like any other pet, Messi needs lots of exercise. In the beginning, Alexandr and Mariya Dmitriev lived in a small studio apartment, but because Messi needed so much exercise, they expanded the play area of their house. In addition, they purchased a special coat and harness for walking him.
Messi is regarded by his owners as similar to a dog: “He is like a dog. We started taking him for a walk, step by step” – “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.” They eventually found a dog training school he could attend and now responds to about 10 different commands. “He convinced us with his behavior that he’s a full member of our family and that he wouldn’t be doing anything bad apart from some small naughty things. He’s very kind and likes contact. He gets on very well with people,” says Aleksandr.
Messi has the habits and characteristics of cats, only that he is bigger! Messi is much like a dog, except that he is larger.
His daily routine ranges from cuddling with his parents to napping many times
His curiosity and playfulness make him a very playful big baby as well
There are more than 1.5 million followers on her mom’s Instagram account @I_am_puma, and more than 170k subscribers on his YouTube channel. His daily activities, as well as his interactions with Gerda, the cheetah in the house, are loved by the public. Messi used to be anxious around Gerda, but they are working on it! There have been inevitable objections from animal rights and environmental activists to the adoption of Messi. Exotic animals cannot be kept inside if they need habitat, food, and most importantly, their instincts, such as hunting, defending, mating, …, are not maintained.
They believe Messi belongs in a wildlife reserve or a sanctuary. While others note the danger of living with wild animals.
A couple clarified, however, that Messi has never lived alone in the wild, and thus cannot be rehabilitated to the wild due to health reasons. Having a large cat at home can be dangerous, but Messi is a special pet, Mariya explained to the Mirror.
Are you a Messi fan? Is he cute? Does he intimidate you? Would you ever want a big cat like him? Let me know what you think in the comments below!