From the Scuba Cat photo essay: "World, Just Leave Me Alone."

Photo Courtesy of Gene Alba

Scuba Cat: Internet Star

So what does Hawkeye do when she's scuba diving? Sometimes she bounds around along the pool's bottom like Neil Armstrong on the moon's surface. She hasn't quite figured out how to swim underwater, even though she's a proficient surface swimmer. This is where Alba comes in. He'll typically hold Hawkeye's tank and lead her around the pool while she hangs around, checking everything out. According to Alba, scuba diving relaxes her -- the weightlessness of being underwater could be a welcome change from the gravity-bound shackles of dry land.

A local news program did a story on Hawkeye, and it's since been posted to YouTube, but not by Alba. He's developing a TV show for the diving pair and was afraid of overexposing his star cat when the video leaked. It's not all bad though -- since the video was posted, Alba has received requests to build suits for other people's pets. Unfortunately for those asking, Alba has refused to do so thus far. Aside from the expense, it takes a lot of training and a very special pet to safely scuba dive. Hawkeye has more than 20 dives under her belt in the pool, and Alba is keen on taking her to the ocean at some point. The Caribbean would be ideal, since the waters are warm enough for Hawkeye. In fact, Alba has to keep his pool at a warm 80 degrees F to make sure Hawkeye is comfortable.

Since Mutley and Hawkeye have gained more attention, Alba has some concerns that animal rights advocates might get involved and try and put a stop to the diving. Alba assures doubters that it's a very safe activity and that both of his pets love to dive. According to Alba, Mutley gets excited every time the dive gear comes out of the closet, and Hawkeye just loves being with Mutley, no matter what he's doing. Over the years, Alba has worked with the Humane Society to help raise money and awareness for animal rights.

You can learn more about scuba diving and unusual animals by taking off the mask and snorkel and clicking on the links on the following page.