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Surfing cat featured on Netflix series raising mental health awareness

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Posted at 9:32 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 09:49:02-04

FALLBROOK, Calif. — When you think you've seen it all, a surfing cat named Maverick comes along.

"I called it 'surf camp' when I put him on a surfboard in the pool when he was a kitten. He took to it really well," said his human, Nick Liam.

The feline, named after the famous Northern California surf spot, is only 2 years old but has clawed his way into an impressive line of accomplishments. He skateboards, paddleboards, swims, and most recently took an interest in surfing with Liam.

"I was like 'I'd love to get him on a surfboard' and the first time he rode waves was in Malibu," said Liam.

He's been featured in People Magazine thanks to his unique talents and has nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram. Recently, he starred in an episode of "Cat People," a Netflix series that showcases the unique bonds humans have with their pets.

"It was supposed to be a big travel trip with him surfing in Miami, but then the pandemic hit, and we thought the show was dead, but midway, they called and said they want to go forward more with an at-home approach; encompassing his adventures," Liam said.

And it's not just extreme sports gaining "Surf Cat Mav" recognition. His humans are deeply involved in nonprofits surrounding mental health, using Maverick to help spread awareness.

"We're really just trying to open up a dialogue and let Maverick be sort of on the forefront of that and also allowing people to realize too through some of the places that we take Maverick that having an ESA or having an animal therapy, or even having animals to enhance your life, really does add so much," Kayla Tabish added. "It's really important because a lot of organizations focus on suicide and depression, and we're trying to work with stomping out the stigma."

His humans said when it comes to Mav's motto, he's "trying to smash the perception cats have to stay home." They said it's worked so far, especially during the pandemic.

"It's spiraled into this community that likes to take their cats for walks. It's been pretty crazy, but it's fun," said Kayla Tabish.

This story was originally published by Vanessa Paz at KGTV.