When Messi the puma was just a cub, he had a rough start in life. He was sold to a Russian petting zoo when he was young, and he had multiple health issues. Since he was unable to live in a zoo and would be unsuited for life in a wildlife sanctuary, the petting zoo was considering putting him to sleep. But then, Aleksandr and Mariya Dmitriev took Messi’s fate into their own hands, saving his life and giving him the chance to live out his days as a spoiled furry baby.
The Dmitrievs have had to put a lot of work into keeping Messi and making sure that he’s properly domesticated instead of a wild animal barely contained by his humans. Messi knows a variety of commands and walks well on a leash, having been trained at a dog training facility. The Dmitrievs have also responded to the criticism they’ve received since Messi’s story first started to spread online, saying that despite how cool it would be to have a giant kitty around all the time, pumas aren’t pets, and Messi is only living with them because he wouldn’t survive in a wildlife sanctuary.
Still, it never hurts to daydream, right? Here are some photos that show what life with Messi looks like:
Loving to play and rest in cardboard boxes is apparently universal for all types of cat!
So is hanging out on countertops.
But then, when Messi gets a hold of a pumpkin, you remember that he’s a large, dangerous animal.
Messi gets trained alongside dogs so that he’s disciplined and safe around humans.
After all, this video would be a lot less cute if Messi decided to extend his claws, even playfully.
Thankfully, though, Messi is sweet and gentle!
Many of his mannerisms are just like those of your typical house cat.
But other times, he seems more like a weird-looking dog.
While we’ll never have a pet puma of our own, at least we can live vicariously through Messi’s family!