Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev is a couple who share their one bedroom apartment with a 90 lbs Puma named Messi.
Messi was spotted by the couple for the first time at the Saransk Zoo in Penza when he was only 8 months old. Then and there they decided to have him as their own.
Messi was born with two other siblings who were named as Suarez and Neymar at the zoo. Their names were given to celebrate the famed soccer players who were hosted by the Russian city in four matches of the World Cup. Messi was sold by Saransk Zoo when he was three months old as he was sick. Dmitriev appealed to the zoo and asked them if he could buy him.
According to 38 years old Aleksandr’s wife Mariya, he always wanted to own a big cat. She said, “He always dreamt about owning a big lynx cat but never a Puma. It is hard to explain but I think, getting Messi is the part of our destiny.”
Mariya told media, “We went to the zoo and started negations for Messi to buy him. When they agreed, we were surprised too.”
Taking care of Messi was tough for the couple as he was not only a big cat but also had medical problems.
Like any other pet, Messi also requires lots of exercises and that is why his human parents have bought him a special coat and a harness to take him on walks.
Unlike dog, it was not easy to handle a big cat like Messi. The couple tried to have a wild animal handler but they were not successful.
Finally, Messi was able to get into a dog training school and now listens to 10 different commands.
Despite their little apartment, they have made room for Messi. They placed a den for him in the hallway with a complete tree, bamboo walls, and a hiding hole.
Alexander said to media, “He is just like an ordinary cat but is just big in size. He has the habits of the cats.”
The couple believes that they cannot let him into the wild as he will now not be able to survive alone like other wild animals. Mariya told media, “While it is actually dangerous to keep a large cat in a house, Messi is still a special animal.”