Meet Messi, not the famous footballer, but the 90lb puma who lives as a spoiled house cat!

Mariya and Aleksandr Dmitriev share their apartment with a puma! The Russian couple first spotted Messi at the Saransk Zoo in Penza when he was only eight-months-old and decided to take him home.

Read More: Neglected Dog Can’t Stop Falling Asleep On Rescue Mom

There were three cougar cubs born at the zoo. Messi was one of them. The other two, Neymar and Suarez, were also named after famous players to honor the Russian city hosting a few World Cup matches. The puma was sold to the Saransk Zoo when he was just three months old and suffered from health problems. Although he was sick, Mariya and Aleksandr said they wanted to buy him.

According to Mariya, Aleksandr always wanted to own a big cat, but a lynx – not a puma. After three days of thinking, the pair decided to start the negotiations with the zoo in order to buy Messi. They were surprised when the zoo agreed to sell him.

However, taking care of a wild animal is very challenging. Because Messi is a big cat, he needs extra medical attention and care. Although the couple has nursed the puma back to health, he is still half the size of the average puma.

Just like any other pet, Messi requires lots of exercises, which is why his human parents purchased a special coat and harness so they can take him on walks. During an interview with RT, Aleksandr said that Messi is just like a dog and they walk twice a day.

Read More: Picture of Loyal Dog Waiting For Owner In A Hospital Quickly Went Viral

Training a house cat puma

However, training a puma is not as easy as training a dog. The couple couldn’t find a wild animal handler.

Fortunately, they found a dog training school for Messi and now he can respond to 10 different commands.

Although the pair lives in an apartment with only one bedroom, they managed to convert their hallway into a den for Messi – with a tree, bamboo walls, and a hiding hole.

Some animal and environmental rights activists are against keeping an exotic animal as a pet. According to them, the puma that turned into a house cat, belongs in a sanctuary or wildlife reserve, while others believe it’s dangerous to live with a wild animal.

However, the couple think that Messi won’t survive alongside other animals because he has never lived in the wild.

Follow Messi on Instagram – @I_am_puma account and or subscribe to his YouTube account.