Messi the Puma: Not your average house cat

Messi is a lot like your average house cat, except you asked for a “grande” when ordering it. Messi is a puma, also known as a cougar. He was born in a Russian zoo with two other cougar cubs, all named after soccer stars. He was named after Lionel Messi and the other two were named after Neymar and Suarez. He was sold to a petting zoo as a young cub where he wasn’t cared for properly and developed health issues. The zoo was going to euthanize poor Messi, but then he was adopted by Russian couple Alexandr and Mariya Dmitriev.

Messi the rescued Russian cougar and social media star
Credit: @I_am_puma / Instagram

With his health issues and being much smaller than most male cougars, Messi isn’t able to return to the wild or live in a sanctuary with other big cats. Messi’s health was so bad he could barely walk when he was rescued, with the couple teaching him how to run and jump again. They all first lived in a small studio apartment they updated to make Messi comfortable. They’ve since moved into a bigger home with a yard and pool, where Messi now has a rescued cheetah roommate named Gerda who’s also very chill.

Keeping to feline tradition, Messi loves playing with a ball of yarn.

But unlike most cats, this big boi doesn’t throw a fit when you cut his nails.

He also has some dog vibes with attempts to play fetch.

Messi is known for his gentle nature and loves to snuggle.

Which is great until he throws his weight around to get you out of bed…

Here’s Messi and Gerda wanting the best spot by the pool. They’re still learning to get along though, but are making progress.

And if you thought Messi couldn’t get any more handsome, here he is sporting a tux.

For more Messi, follow him on Instagram at @I_am_puma or check him out on YouTube. For another big cat-turned-house cat rescue story, check out Luna the Pantera abandoned and raised with Venza the Rottweiler.

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