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Rescued Puma Can’t Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead

It’s not everyday you come across an exotic pet. Even when you do, there are typically some boundaries to what you expect. I was in a gas station recently and a man had a pet raccoon just hanging out on his shoulders while he purchased some beer. I’ve seen people with giant lizards and snakes. I even know of a pet bobcat up in the mountains near me which blew my mind the first time I saw it. All of these pets are a little unusual and definitely rare but I came across an Instagram account that I can’t get over. Just when you thought you had seen it all, you find a Russian couple with a pet cougar living in a one bedroom apartment. Yes you read that correctly, two people, one giant cat in a one bedroom apartment. If you are unfamiliar, a cougar is also known as a mountain lion or a puma depending on where you are in the world. They can grow to nearly 7 feet long and over 200 lbs. This giant house cougar is named Messi and he has one very interesting life.

Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev live in a one-bedroom apartment with a 90 pound mountain lion named Messi. They spotted the cat when he was just 8 months old and living at the Saransk Zoo in Penza.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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Messi was born at the zoo with health problems and required special care. The couple saw the small and sickly cat and wanted to take care of him.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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They asked the zoo if they could buy the cat and to everyone’s surprise, the zoo said yes.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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They took on quite a challenge however Messi had already been in contact with a lot of people and seemed to love attention. He was weak and had a lot of health issues that the couple worked day and night to heal.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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He is a healthy house cat now but still only two-thirds the size of a normal mountain lion. He requires two walks a day and a lot of attention. “He is like a dog. We started taking him for a walk, step by step. The animal hadn’t been really active before. 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.”

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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They built Messi his own area out of their hallway with a cubby hole to hide in and a tree to climb and lay on. They couldn’t find a wild animal handler to train Messi so they did the next best thing for him.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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They enrolled Messi in dog training classes. He is doing very well and responds to over 10 commands consistently now.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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I can’t even imagine how the dog owners in the same class feel about a giant mountain lion being there.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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Although I have to say that the cat looks right at home.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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“He convinced us with his behavior that he’s a full member of our family and that he wouldn’t be doing anything bad apart from some small naughty things. He’s very kind and likes contact. He gets on very well with people,” says Aleksandr.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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Messi has his own social media accounts on YouTube and Instagram. He has a combined total of over 2 million subscribers making him the most famous mountain lion ever.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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Would you be able to share a one-bedroom apartment with such a large and potentially deadly animal?

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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This couple doesn’t mind one bit and says “it was their destiny”

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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The couple had a custom-made harness made for Messi so that they could take him on walks and adventures comfortable and with some sense of control.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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“He is just an ordinary cat, but a big one. He has all the habits of a cat,” says Aleksandr.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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Of course a lot of people have objections to Messi being a house cat living in a one-bedroom apartment. Many people think that the cat should be in a wildlife reserve. Others say that it’s simply too dangerous to live with such a deadly animal.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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The two say that Messi would not be able to live on a reserve because he’s never been in the wild or had to feed himself. As far as him being such a dangerous animal, they replied by saying “Of course it’s quite dangerous having such a large cat at home, but Messi is a special animal,”

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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Either way, this cat is probably living a better life than most cats are and the couple seems to be aware of the inherent dangers of sleeping with a mountain lion.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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I would be curious about Messi’s diet. I doubt regular cat food would be nearly enough for this giant.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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Messi is a high maintenance animal but his two humans are caring, loving and willing to put in the work to live with such a magnificent animal. I would be absolutely terrified to be in the same room of this cat no matter how tame it was.

Rescued Puma Can't Be Released Into The Wild, Lives As A Spoiled House Cat Instead
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In case you were curious on how to bathe a Puma watch the videos below.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

This is what a giant Puma looks like playing with its toys. Messi is adorable! He really is just a giant kitten. Take a peek into their lives.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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