A man and his pet cougar

This Russian couple has a pet cougar named Messi (after the soccer player). As the introductory video explains, Messi was born in a zoo, has health problems, and requires close care.  He’s been a pet for three years now, and seems to be doing well. There’s a YouTube channel devoted to his exploits (I_am_puma), and, in this video, Messi squalls as he waits for his male staff to come home:

I’m not sure if these people feel 100% safe, but I’d be a bit scared having this giant cat around. . . .

One thing is for sure: if you take an animal like this on, it’s a huge commitment, and you really can’t go anywhere and leave it alone. For one thing, its bladder problems mean that Messi needs walkies twice a day.


  1. Posted October 26, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful cat! I couldn’t see any claws, or hear them scratching on the floor, so perhaps they’ve been removed or clipped. I guess it makes him a little less dangerous to be around.

    It’s interesting to hear people talking to their pets in a foreign language as it simulates how the pet must hear it. Soothing noises but no knowledge transfer.

    • merilee
      Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Such a strange meow and long tail. somehow the couch doesn’t seem scratched.

  2. merilee
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Or a GIANT litter box🐾🐾

  3. Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Wild animals very rarely make good pets.

  4. Randall L Schenck
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I suppose anything is possible in Russia. They likely have stupid people over there as well.

  5. Claudia Baker
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Achingly beautiful animal!

    Watching the guy scratching Messi’s belly makes me nervous though. When I scratch my 8 pound kitty’s belly, you never know when he’s had enough,and then zap! He’s got my hand in his claws and teeth in an instant.

    • merilee
      Posted October 26, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      “Disemboweling” with its back feet

  6. Ashen
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    A pet cougar is nice and all, but we’re talking about Russia. How about a couple that live with a bear for 24+ years:

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted October 26, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Money quote: “The most important thing is to feed him well.”

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink


  7. jezgrove
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Messi is a lovely animal. His greeting when Sasha came home seemed strangely d*g-like – or is that just me?

    • Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      I’ve had cats – some are like that and give their owner a welcoming party when they arrive home. JUST like that big cat. Not an insane, ticker tape air jumping hysteria like a d-g as much generally though.

      I”d be a little worried around such a powerful cat as they can turn on a dime, attitude wise.


  8. JB
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I thought big cats didn’t purr?!

  9. Mark R.
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Wow,I wonder if they have many visitors; I’d be a nervous guest. Looks like the cougar dotes on his care taker though. Lovely animal.

  10. Stephen Barnard
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    What is it with Russians and big, dangerous pets?

    • Posted October 26, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Right? I suspect it’s the Russian equivalent to some Americans’ love of big guns or giant off-road vehicles.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      They don’t all have big dangerous pets. Putin, for example, has a thoroughly house-broken, tiny-handed poodle which he keeps in Washington.
      Damned thing needs it’s balls docking though – dick out at a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y every opportunity.

  11. Paul Matthews
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    In a strange way this reminds me of an elderly lady living in rural Pennsylvania that we met a few years ago. A very rare Allen’s hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) had chosen to try to spend the winter at her hummingbird feeder. She was kept busy swapping out feeders: bringing one in the house to stop the sugar water from freezing and putting out another that had been warmed up. Presumably there are heaters that can keep the sugar water warm but she didn’t have one. She was really tied to her house and didn’t dare go shopping for very long. In a way she was thrilled to have such a rare bird at her feeder but it was very demanding. One difference with the cougar: though very pugnacious, hummers aren’t much of a threat to humans.

    Through ebird, I kept track of sightings of the hummer, but they stopped sometime in mid-winter, presumably because the little guy succumbed. It must have been devastating to the poor lady, but at least she would have gotten her freedom back.

  12. Posted October 26, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of a joke…

    A mother yells at her child for coming home late after school. The kid says “I was here on time, but i was scared to come in because there was a tiger in the front yard.”

    The mother looks out the window and sees a cat sitting there. She yells at the kid again and tells him to go to his room and pray to God for forgiveness for lying.

    Five minutes later the kid comes back and his mother asks, “Did you pray for forgiveness?” the child says “Yes, and god said it’s ok, because he also thought it was a tiger as well.”

    • jezgrove
      Posted October 26, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful – thanks Yakaru!

  13. Jimbo
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I can only imagine when Messi jumps up on the bed early on a Sunday morning startling the owner out of a deep slumber. And looking up at that giant cat into those yellow eyes focused intently on you, wondering if he thinks breakfast is just overdue or is having other ideas.

  14. Claudia Heilke
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    Walkies twice a day is certainly not excessive. How many times do you pee in 24 hours?

  15. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The cougar may well have staff. But the guy most definitely does not have a pet.

  16. Tim Anderson
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Watch the video about Sasha taking Messi to the dog obedience school. It is hilarious.

    • Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure the dogs didn’t find it so hilarious.

    • merilee
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Amazing! You’d think the critters would all the distracted by all the kids running around.

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