Young man, Draven Rodriguez, 17, whose cat-and-laser yearbook photo became internet sensation commits suicide

Tragedy: Draven Rodriguez, 17, the guy who wanted his yearbook photo to include his cat and succeeded in getting his way, has committed suicide. You can remind yourself of the story on this page. In fact, the photo he achieved was of himself and his cat plus the school principle and her dog.

Draven and his superb cat
Popular and inspiring, Draven and his superb cat. Photo: AP.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

He took his life on Thursday last, at home, in Schenectady. He was popular and able to succeed it seems to me. What happened?

We don’t have anything on why he took his life. Perhaps it is wrong to even ask. We should celebrate his life instead. It is so tragic because he was a popular guy who showed a lot of imagination and determination to achieve the yearbook photo.

He said about the photo:

“I don’t want to go in the yearbook with the generic ‘I-look-like everyone else’ photo. I wanted a ‘He looks great, only he would try that’ photo”. He wanted to be special.

“I’m not trying to make any statement other than my photo is ridiculous and this how I am”.

Perhaps that gives us a glimpse of his inner thoughts. His stepfather said he had an inspiring character.

I am not sure this is the right time to mention this but his cat who has survived him as has his sister, father and mother, appears to be a brown tabby-and-white Maine Coon.

My condolences to the family.

A little postscript on teenage suicide. There is too much of it nowadays. In my opinion, young people – students – are under increasing amounts of pressure from exam results, social media pressure on Facebook and Twitter, pressure from media on their appearance etc.. There is too much bullying. The world is becoming intolerably competitive for kids. They should work hard, yes, but have time to enjoy life and gain confidence. Social media is becoming a bit of a menace for some despite its enormous success. There are signs that something needs to be done to make the lives of some teenagers more bearable. Often it is the bright and successful ones who find life the hardest.

9 thoughts on “Young man, Draven Rodriguez, 17, whose cat-and-laser yearbook photo became internet sensation commits suicide”

  1. How very sad. RIP Draven. I feel for his family. My condolence to them. I wish he had sought help for whatever reason he did this for.His love for animals tells me that he was a beautiful soul but troubled in some way. Yes bullying is so wrong. People do not realize how fragile the young are.

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  2. Very sad…. And,as you mention there is ever increasing pressure on young people by the media. The bullying has driven many to suicide. Imagine the pain and suffering that drives one to opt out of life.

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  3. I was crushed when I learned of this,wot ever his reasons were I hope he is at peace,I feel so bad for his family but especially his cat!

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