A cat of many names, the puma is also known as the cougar, panther or mountain lion. In general the size and coloration of the cat varies greatly across its range, which stretches from the south west of Canada down the western states of North America and throughout most western parts of the South American continent. the color of the fur varies from slate grey, through yellow buff to light reddish brown. In appearance the puma has a small, broad head with small rounded ears, a powerful body with long hind legs and tail, which is tipped with black.The puma can be found in varying habitats from the mountain forest, up to around 16,000 feet to lowland swamp and grasslands.
Meet this puma called Messi. Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev first met Messi at Saransk Zoo in Penza when he was just eight months old. Messi was one of the three puma cubs who was born in the zoo. He and his two other siblings, Suarez and Neymar were named after popular football players in honor of Russia being the host for the World Cup in 2016. Messi was not enjoying good health, he had only two-thirds the size of an average puma cub. “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,” she said. “So we went to the zoo and started negotiations to buy Messi. We were surprised ourselves when they agreed.”
According to Mariya, her husband Aleksandr had always been dreaming to raise a large breed cat so getting a puma as a pet was a big surprise. “It’s hard to explain but we believe that having this puma is part of our destiny,” she said. As Messi was still a cub, they needed to pay a lot of attention to him. “He is like a dog. We started taking him for a walk, step by step. The animal hadn’t been really active before,” Aleksandr said in an interview. The couple tried to find a wild animal handler but not available. But they found a dog training school that Messi could attend.
It seems very strange and unusual to keep a puma inside a house, the couple took the chance to document everything about Messi on his very own Instagram account and people just love it. Messi now has 755,000 followers on Instagram and over 205, 749 subscribers on YouTube. “Of course, it’s quite dangerous having such a large cat at home, but Messi is a special animal.” “He is just an ordinary cat, but a big one. He has all the habits of a cat,” Aleksandr said.
The couple soon fell in love with the puma cub that they decided to adopt him.
When he was three months old, Messi was transferred to Saransk Zoo due to a health issues.
The couple decided to adopt the puma cub and helped him back to health.
“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.”
Helping Messi back to health proved to be a challenge for the couple when they first adopted him.
The couple even converted their hallway into a puma playpen to allow Messi play and move freely.
They also invested in a special coat and a harness so that they could bring Messi for a walk.
Now, he already knows about 10 different commands.
Messi has been easy to take care of as the puma has a calm temperament.
Even though both Mariya and Aleksandr love having Messi as their pet, they, however, did not recommend having wild cats at home as it could get quite dangerous.
The couple believes that it would not be a problem for Messi to live with them as he has never lived in the wild.
Watch Messi the puma plays with his favorite toy here: