Welcome Green Monsters! We're your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet.
Download food monster: the biggest, baddest, yummiest vegan food app!
Buy the #EatForThePlanet book



When most people consider adopting a new pet, they typically choose a dog or cat, but there is one couple in Russia who decided to bring a young male puma into their home and keep him like a pet.

The puma named Messi is gaining some Internet fame around social media, and it is easy to see why. Messi is 30 percent smaller than the typical male puma and lives in the couple’s home alongside their Sphynx cat. He has an enrichment play area, takes baths in the tub, is fed hearty meals of raw meat, is leash-trained, and goes on nature adventures to the river and beach.

The couple has even enrolled Messi in obedience training classes where the big cat appears undisturbed alongside the dogs at the training school.


Although Messi appears remarkably tame, well-trained (although the methods that were used to do so are unknown and could have been harmful to the animal), and is given much love and attention, keeping a wild animal poses serious dangerous threats. Wild animals cannot be domesticated within their lifetime, and despite intensive training and adapting to a domestic life, their natural wild tendencies can still emerge, often without warning, and typically beginning at sexual maturity. Messi is two-years-old, and male pumas reach sexual maturity around three years old. We hope Messi’s guardians consider sending him to a reputable sanctuary where he can develop and live like an adult puma without posing risk to people or other animals.

Messi may seem like a unique story, but unfortunately, the issue of keeping big cats as “pets” has become somewhat of an epidemic around the world. It is such a serious issue that there are more tigers in backyards today than there are in the wild. After big cats become too much for people to handle, they are often killed or abandoned and left to starve to death. The idea of keeping wild animals as pets also fuels the wildlife trade which is corrupt with both animal and human rights violations. Realizing the severity of the issue, the United Arab Emirates has banned the ownership of big cats, and we hope the rest of the world follows suit.

Although it is apparent Messi’s guardians truly love him and are trying their best to provide him with an enriching and comfortable life, the young puma belongs on a sanctuary where he can roam freely in the outdoors like a wild animal should without posing risks to those around him. Further, this sort of video and social promotion only perpetuates the illegal wildlife trade and spread the false idea that you can domesticate wild animals, which is dangerous to people and animals alike. No matter how much you think you can provide for an exotic animal, the bottom line is they belong in the wild!

Many people are not aware of the dangers involving keeping wild animals as pets, so please make sure to share this with your network!

Lead Image Source: Youtube

Want to read more posts like this? Sign up for our newsletter below!​

Browse through some recent posts below:

Los Angeles Just Banned Fur! So What Does This Mean for the Fur Industry?

Investigation Shows Nestlé, Heinz, and Other Major Brands Are STILL Driving Rainforest Destruction for Palm Oil

This Is Not a Drill! Experts Warn Europe Must Halve Meat Production By 2050 to Protect Environment and Human Health

This Sweet Dog Has Facial Burns So Deep Rescuers Are Baffled She Survived

Disclosure: One Green Planet accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

40 comments on “Pet Puma Who Is Trained Like a Dog Is Making Waves on Social Media — Why This Is More Dangerous Than Cute”

Click to add comment
6 Months Ago

This Puma has severe physical limits that make it impossible for him to live in anything but a very controlled and monitored environment. The "Zoo" that had him was going to put him down. Is the situation perfect, NO. But I don\'t think Russia is big on animal rescue, I couldn\'t find any sanctuaries that I could find that could take him. At least he\'s still alive.....

26 May 2018

Check Big Cat Sanctuary in Florida. We just had a cougar kill a man 30 miles east of Seattle WA last week. He did a lot of damage to another guy, took them both right off their bikes. He was skinny/emaciated... Hungry and starving to death. Ya, they hunted him down and killed him. and that\'s what will happen to this cat too. It\'ll be sad!!

7 Months Ago

The fact that is missed in this call for the wild to stay wild is that the puma in questions has very poor health from birth and can not be freed or kept in a zoo, or some environment like that. So, the zoo that had it agreed to sell it to owners, who would take care of its health. Dangerous for them, but probably a new lease on life for the cat. Let\'s hope the guys know what they are doing. At least, looking at the cat, it seems like they do. So, stop being so self-righteous about that.

20 Feb 2018

Except that doesn\'t sound like a very expert decision on the zoo\'s part. which zoo was this? what is the zoo\'s reputation? if this is a reputable zoo then they would have taken the necessary steps to give this puma to a sanctuary that deals with rehabilitating wild animals. does this couple have professional training and experience in taking care of wild animals? or are they just a normal couple who wanted a pet? these are questions people should be asking. and I hope the wildlife authorities are looking into this couple and the puma.

Oriana Scapeccia
8 Months Ago

respect their nature if you love them, let them in their natural habitat!

Fabienne Dupont
8 Months Ago

Not cool!!!!

Izabel Peixoto
14 Jan 2018

I dislike very much when people claim to love animals and do stuff like this. This so should be against the law.

Cj Michaud
8 Months Ago

People are amazingly idiotic in their need to attain and control. We continue to ruin what is good and free.

Aubrey Scheel
8 Months Ago

There are obviously significant issues on both sides of keeping wild animals as pets. My biggest problem is the cougar is shown walking on a retractable leash! - These are a bad choice for dogs, let alone a predatory big cat.

Georgia Beatnik
13 May 2018

THAT\'S your biggest concern? That you think from the picture the puma has a retractable leash? What\'s your specific concern about the leash that would make this your "biggest problem" with this story?

Deanna Johnson
8 Months Ago

Zoos and "sanctuaries" are the only place that we can see any "wild" animal at the rate of things poor fella but at least he's alive..?

Sylvain Cote
8 Months Ago

not so sure it's a good thing once domesticated too late but should have been left in the wild where they belong c'mon so few left....just leave them alone

Frank Stone
13 Jan 2018

well that cat cannot live in the wild, he's smaller n sick. he would die otherwise.

Sylvain Cote
13 Jan 2018

still they say alberta is giving like 10% of the population of cougars up for grab...thats too much i had the chance to see two of em and they deserve to live man...they are so rare around here

Frank Stone
8 Months Ago

Big cats live well with humans.

Lynette Blackert MacLagan
8 Months Ago

It's a wild animal!

Michael Smith
13 Jan 2018

So were dogs, cats & horses years ago. That seems to be o.k. now. The Puma seems perfectly happy & is under the same control as a dog.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow us on

Do Not Show This Again


Submit to OneGreenPlanet

Terms & Conditions ×