HONOLULU - Meet Nanakuli, or Kuli for short. With more than 16,000 followers on Instagram, this one-eyed surfing cat in Hawaii is quickly becoming a national sensation.

Kuli, whose name loosely translates to “look blind” (or deaf, depending on the context), was also coincidentally rescued off a street in Nanakuli. Shortly after being adopted from a local nonprofit at three months old, he had one eye removed due to an infection.

Owners Alexandra Gomez and Krista Littleton say it was during his recovery when they discovered his love for the water.

“He was this small, little cat that couldn’t keep down his food, so he was pretty messy all the time,” said Alexandra Gomez. “So we ended up having to give lots of baths and that helped to build up his tolerance to water in the beginning."

An avid surfer herself, Gomez brought Kuli to the beach where she quickly learned of his love for the waves.

“We brought him in a carrier. It’s always on his terms. We just left the carrier open by the water, and if he wants to come, he can. If he doesn’t, he’ll just go back to his safe space, so it’s just been repeated experiences till he just accepted it as the norm,” said Gomez.

On Sunday, Kuli and his owners enjoyed some fun in the sun, catching waves and the sights of curious onlookers.

“I had to get some pictures. I couldn’t believe she was putting that cat on the surfboard and going out on the water!” said Mike Bates, Palolo resident.

“We've had a lot of comments both positive and negative that cats don't like water, very stereotypical, you know?” said Krista Littleton. “We didn't really know the stereotype of cats. So we were like, sure, why can't he go on a leash? Why can't he go in the water? And we've just always taken his whole journey that same way. We're just going do what we do every day – and he can just tag along with us."

A video posted by @kulithesurfingcat on