Rᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ puma can’t be released into wild so he lives as a spoiled house cat.

Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to live with… a puma that thinks it’s a house cat?

Messi the puma cat, named after the famous Argentine footballer, lives with its adoptive parents Aleksandr and Mariya Dmitriev in their apartment in Penza, Russia, since 2016. Messi is living the life that we all daydream about: the life of a spoiled pet cat.

The couple who live in Russia spotted the 90lb puma at the Saransk Zoo in Penza. They saw him, loved him took and the eight month old creature home.

Messi is one of three cubs who were at the Saransk Zoo in Penza. The other two also have famous football players names, Suarez and Neymar. Football names were chosen to celebrate the city hosting four matches of the world cup. Messi came to the zoo when he was only three months old. The cat was suffering with health problems so Dmitriev asked the owners if they would be willing to sell him.

According to his wife Aleksandr, Mariya, who’s 38, always dreamed of having big cat, “He always thought about having a lynx – never a puma. It’s hard to explain but we believe that having this puma as a house cat is part of our destiny.”

The couple said that when they first saw the wild animal, they thought it was “love at first sight.” So they bought him after some deep thinking about the ethics and logistics of keeping such a big cat at home. After they brought Messi back with them, they nursed it back to health. Aleksandr and Mariya seem happy with their new addition to their family, but the couple’s cat Kira doesn’t get along with Messi. Perhaps, it’s jealous?

Just as any other pet, Messi need a lot of attention. He also requires lots of exercise. For this reason, his human parents purchased a special coat and harness so they can take him on walks. “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 with RT, “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.”

When Messi became famous on the net, lots of people loved how the Dmitrievs took care of him. However, there were some critics. They urged the couple to send the puma to a wildlife sanctuary. But Aleksandr and Mariya state that Messi couldn’t sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ in the wild. It should also be noted that the couple don’t, in fact, encourage anyone to domesticate pumas and other big cats: Messi is an exception because he is exceptionally gentle, calm, and sickly.

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