1. An orange-and-white cat who was rescued in Hawaii with a terrible eye infection was slowly nursed back to health and has now conquered his fear of the water with a little help from the people who adopted him.
Alexandra Gomez and Krista Littleton, who are both special education teachers on Oahu, were joking around when Gomez said she wanted to adopt a cat with one eye and name it Nanakuli, which means “to look blind,” according to a Hawaiian translation.
Gomez told BuzzFeed News that the very next day she found the perfect kitten through a Honolulu nonprofit called Cat Friends. The cat had coincidentally been found on the street in the Nanakuli neighborhood on Oahu.
“This kitten looked near death,” Gomez told BuzzFeed News, and one of the cat’s eyes needed to be removed because of an infection.
3. “When I first took him home I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it,” Gomez said.
When Nanakuli was still young he needed constant baths, Gomez said, because “he would keep making a mess of himself.”
“He seemed very tolerant of the frequent baths,” she said, adding that they helped Nanakuli feel comfortable with water.
5. Gomez said she spends all her free time surfing, so it was only natural her new companion would eventually learn to hang ten.
Still, Gomez said it was a very gradual process. They first took Nanakuli to the beach in a carrier, opening the door so he could roam the shoreline as he pleased.
7. Eventually, Gomez started putting Nanakuli on a surfboard and paddling him around in the calm water.
“I was so excited when he handled that well,” Gomez said.
9. After a few surf rides, Gomez figured out that Nanakuli preferred foam boards so he could grip with his claws.
10. “We take him out to the inside break [smaller waves] in Waikiki,” Gomez said, “but hopefully one day he will be ready for a more challenging wave!”
11. Now when Nanakuli sees the beach bag “he will purr and jump in the bag on command,” Gomez added.
12. Watch this video of Nanakuli swimming and surfing in Hawaii:
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