Caturday felid trifecta: Three videos with Messi the cougar

April 15, 2023 • 1:00 pm

I almost forgot Caturday! Today I will cobble one together featuring the planet’s most famous cougar (Puma concolor), Messi. He’s a rescue cougar, and his staff has made many videos about him. I’ll show three, and will I’ll let Wikipedia explain Messi’s situation:

Messi (Russian: Месси; born 30 October 2015) is a pet cougar, model and Internet celebrity, owned by Russian couple Alexandr and Mariya Dmitriev. The Dmitrievs live with Messi in a two-storey house on a large plot of land in Penza, Russia. Messi was adopted in 2016 from a local petting zoo. In 2017, the Dmitrievs started an Instagram account and a YouTube channel for Messi, which became very popular by 2018 and continues to grow in subscribers.

Here’s Messi cuddling up to his staff in bed, just like a housecat.

Messi was born in a zoo at Saransk, Russia. He was one of three newborn cougars at the zoo to be named after professional football players for current Paris Saint-Germain and former FC Barcelona; Messi was named after Lionel Messi, and the other two were named Suarez and Neymar. The cubs were given these names because Saransk was one of several cities proposed to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Messi was later sold to a petting zoo in Penza when he was three months old.

Messi was significantly smaller than other typical male cougars, and as the species is not native to Russia, he could not be released into the wild. He had numerous other health problems as well, which rendered him unable to live in a zoo or wildlife sanctuary either. Furthermore, workers at the petting zoo originally planned to euthanize him.

In 2016, Alexandr and Mariya Dmitriev visited the Penza zoo and met Messi for the first time. The couple experienced “love at first sight,” and noticed Messi’s exceptionally gentle personality. The Dmitrievs already had a sphynx cat named Kira but Aleksandr always wanted a big cat and so they considered bringıng Messi home and offered a high price to the zoo authorities. “So we went to the zoo and started negotiations to buy Messi. We were surprised ourselves when they agreed”, Mariya Dmitriev recalled in an interview with Caters News.

Here’s Messi getting a bit of omelet for a treat:

When they first purchased Messi, Alexandr and Mariya Dmitriev lived in a small studio apartment in Penza. The hallway of the apartment was modified and was designated as Messi’s play area  Messi uses toys such as empty bottles and balls. Messi has a gentle and calm personality, and has never attacked a person or another animal. The Dmitrievs sometimes refer to him as “kitten.”

Messi is regarded by his owners as similar to a domestic dog. He has been trained at a local dog training facility and has learned around ten formal commands. The Dmitrievs walk Messi regularly using a leash, coat, and harness through various environments.

Messi is fed twice a day, and his diet mostly consists of raw turkey, beef, and chicken.  It costs the Dmitrievs about 630 rubles per day to feed him. The couple regularly bathes Messi in a bathtub and sometimes trim his claws.

Messi is house-broken (trained) and prefers to stay inside when there is snow outside.

Here Messi is howling for Alexandr; I guess he’s highly bonded with him:

7 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: Three videos with Messi the cougar

  1. Being from California, where pumas are native and kill someone at least once a year, I’m agog at the idea of keeping one as a pet. On the other hand, this puma is smaller than average (though probably large enough to still be lethal) and has genuine affection for his owners, so I hope he lives out a peaceful life. I suppose the owners had him neutered too.

  2. Wow, at first, I had a reflexive/instinctive reaction every time Messi “meowed,” as it sounds…well, terrifying! He is gargantuan and would normally be a wild killer predator. I watched many of his videos after this one and can’t believe what a sweetheart he is. Good on the Dmitrievs for adopting and caring for this magnificent kitty!

    It’s also nice to be reminded that, despite everything happening in the world right now, most people in a country like Russia are just like most of us. It’s important to be reminded of our shared humanity around the world, especially these days. We’re all human beings who want to live happy, comfortable lives with lots of love and cats 😀

  3. Sorry to make a second post, but I’m just in love with Messi! I just watched the video of him trying to cuddle with Alexandr. It’s amazing that he acts just like a normal house cat in every way. All of his mannerisms and behaviors match my own cats’ exactly, from the snuggling to the constant attempts to get attention to the eventual resignation when he doesn’t get what he wants and back to trying again a couple minutes later. He reminds me very much of one of my cats in particular. What a lovable little kitty cat!

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