Activists for environmental and animal rights have very strong sentiments about keeping wild animals as pets. They firmly believe that they should belong in the wild, where their natural habitats are. However, there are people who think differently.
Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev are perfect examples of people who have a different perspective regarding this matter. They currently own a 90lb puma, who lives with them in their one-bedroom apartment. Aleksandr has always wanted to own a big cat, but he always envisioned owning a lynx. However, after seeing Messi being sickly at Saransk Zoo in Penza, he felt an unexplainable instant connection. Messi is quite smaller compared to the average Puma, had several health issues, and due to his physical conditions and the fact that he was born in captivity, he could never survive if released into the wild.
They coordinated with the zoo and surprisingly enough, they were allowed to buy Messi. Happy days did not begin there though. For some time, Messi was weak and needed extra care. They put all the effort they could into nursing him back to health, and tried to make their home as livable as it can be for Messi. The hallway of their one-bedroom home now boasts a tree, a hiding hole, as well as bamboo walls. They said that technically, it’s just like living with a house cat, just several sizes bigger. They strongly believe that Messi is of no danger to them. He may be naughty at times, but never with the intention of hurting. Also, he still is a wild animal and no one can say for sure if he will be dangerous.
They’ve started taking him for walks because he didn’t have much chance to walk or move around while he was in the zoo. They also started bringing him to dog training where he learned how to respond to 10 commands. Although they’ve received critique from different people, they still believe that Messi should be with them for the sole reason that he hasn’t even experienced the wild before.
Messi has actually grown a huge following of his own. You can check out their Instagram page or if you want to stay updated about Messi’s adventures, you can head on over to their YouTube channel.