High School Senior famous for “Laser Cat” photo, commits suicide.

Laser Cat photo | high school senior poses with his rescue cat | the student committed suicide in February 2015
Intentionally cheesy 80’s style pic goes viral. Devin Rodriguez championed the rescue cat cause. LoL Cat Research solutes him. He is dearly missed.

The New York high school senior whose ’80s-style laser portrait along with his cat became a web phenomenon has died of apparent suicide.

The parents of Draven Rodriguez, 17, of Schenectady, told the changing times Union that he died at home. Cause of death is suicide.

Rodriguez’s senior photo journeyed viral after he was adamant on having his rescue cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, be included with him in his yearbook photo. The intention was not to create any kind controversy, Rodriguez said. Somewhat, he just wanted to become different.

“I really wanted to be remembered and this is kind of my last chance in the area before I move on to college and hopefully do great things with my life,” Rodriguez told ABC News in the time the photo. “I want people to remember my personality and not just my face.”

Working with Schenectady-based photographer Vincent Giordano, Rodriguez created an intentionally cheesy, laser-streaked portrait of himself holding Mr. Bigglesworth, a long, bushy stray cat who’d gotten into the family home and never left.

Anticipating resistance from the school to his desire to have it included among the senior class’ formal portraits, Rodriguez posted the photo online to garner support. It blazed around the Internet and was mentioned by Jimmy Fallon in a “Tonight Show” monologue and by talk-show host Ellen Degenerees.

Diane Wilkinson poses with chihuahua in laser cat sequel photo
If you can’t beat him, join him. School principle allows student to pose with cat if she can pose with her lap dog. LoL Cat Research is not sure what to make of that move.

Regardless of the school initially giving Rodriguez flak for wanting his feline friend within the photo, the student launched an online petition to realize support for his endeavor. That petition garnered greater than 7, 500 signatures. University officials eventually relented, provided that the school principal, Diane Wilkinson, could bring her own pet Chihuahua to the woman photo shoot. Rodriguez and Wilkinson posed together with their furry friends in one photo for the classes year book, complete using a note about a trigger dear to both advisors: rescue animals.

“He’s a great kid and I needed to support him even far more,” Wilkinson told ABC News last fall. Friends and family of Rodriguez say he went out of his way to make friends with people from all corners of the country – both online and off – via youth-leadership conferences and just around his hometown.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people in the United States. LoL Cat Research published an earlier post on how Toxoplasma Gondii infections result in higher suicide rates. It’s shocking to realize that parasites could be the cause behind many suicides… This is why the government needs to provide more funds for scientific research. Finding a cure is many years away, but with the suicide rate increasing as much as 16% over the past two decades, we can all agree that more must be done to not just prevent, but to understand what causes suicide.

Laser Cat’s magnitude

Having a picture like Laser Cat go viral is by no means easy. Take it from LoL Cat Research, creators of scores of meme masterpieces that have gotten some attention, but nothing like this. The kid knew how to rock it. He could’ve been a successful marketing brand creator, or perhaps a politician. It seems like the sky was the limit and the future was bright as can be.

Draven Rodriguez was interviewed on The Sean and Richie Show (107.7 WGNA – Today’s Country [SEE VIDEO BELOW]). When he tells his story, he seems to be in such great spirits. It’s so sad that he is no longer with us. “He had an empathy for the world and for other people that I think is rare in kids his age,” his dad, Jonathan Stewart, told the Times Union. “It was wonderful to see.”


cats vs dogs and toxoplasmosis

Many assume that dogs can beat cats because they’re bigger. The opposite is true! Cats almost always win, often outsized, or even outnumbered, cats are still able to dominate. I put together a compilation of videos (all creative commons licensed so I don’t get sued by some insane dog owner) and I can’t even tell you how hard it was to find an instance where a dog beat a cat. See for yourself \(=^‥^)/’`

Lots of experts attempt to explain why cats are more popular than dogs online. Many will say in the Cats versus Dogs eternally epic battle, things like,

“… dog people are outside with their pets while cat people are indoors and therefore more likely to post about their cats while sitting in front of the computer…”

LoL Cat Research insight on cats vs dogs

My personal belief for the longest time was that google programmed their search algorithms to display results for cats when people were searching for porn — especially when parent filters were on. It makes sense when you think about it: Picture a random dirty old man finally learns how to use the internet and when nobody is around — he searches for “pussy”… Google gives him pussy cats — LoL!!! This was one of the reasons why I originally wanted to become a cat blogger: Cats get a shitload of traffic and traffic is what you need to make money. Still, everything mentioned this far is purely hypothetical. Let’s breakdown the real reason cats are more popular online:

Cat people outnumber dog people.

We all know there are just two sorts of individuals on the planet: cat people and dog people. Information from statistical surveying firm Euromonitor, recommend that these distinctions stretch out past individual inclination and to the domain of geopolitics: it so happens there are cat countries and dog countries, as well.

In the U.S.A., a greater number of families own puppies than own felines. Cool cats dwarf yippee-dippy-canines to the tune of about 4 million (so says the American Veterinary Medical Association’s evaluation). Why? One straightforward clarification is that felines are more minimal:

You can fit a greater number of kittens in a house than you can, say, pit bulls.

cats versus dogs lol cat research style
looks like the cats winning the battle against dogs… AGAIN!!!

At the state level in the U.S.A., felines dwarf pooches in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Mutts are the most loved in the South and Southwest. The most canine cordial state is Arkansas, where doggies dwarf the friendly felines 1.35-to-1. But who cares about Arkansas? If you ever saw the documentary, Bangin in Little Rock, you would know that those dogs are cray-cray. Bill Clinton was from there, but you don’t see him there now, you see him here in New York City.

On the other end of the spectrum stands Massachusetts with 1.87 felines for each canine. I guess Bean Town is feline town! When it comes to analyzing this kind of demographical data “A ton of that basically needs to do with populace thickness,” Jared koerten, a pet industry examiner at Euromonitor, said in a meeting. “Many cities simply aren’t that dog-accommodating.”

Worldwide, felines are the favored pet in the vast majority of Western Europe, except for Spain, Portugal and Ireland. South America is entirely puppy nation, as is much of Asia.

“A few districts, in the same way as the Middle East and piece of Africa, have an particularly long-standing energy about felines,” Koerten said. “in Latin America its the complete inverse. Pooches are a piece of family life there.”

i can has toxoplasmosis meme pic. T. Gondii seems to play no part in the cats versus dogs epic struggle.
found this when searching for toxoplasmosis

March is Toxoplasmosis Awareness Month and Brazil is believed to have perhaps the highest infection rate in humans — a whopping 66% are believed to be infected. Toxoplasma Gondii is a parasite that gets into a mouses system when it feeds on cat turds.

The bacteria makes it way into the mouses brain, causing the mouse to become sexually aroused by the smell of cat urine.

It also dulls the mouse’s reflexes and causes it to become more reckless and make poor decisions — like the decision to find cats attractive!

This would all be great if T. Gondii only infected rodents. Unfortunately, any warmblooded mammal can become infected — including humans. The brain worms cause people to have an increased sex-drive while behaving erratically. One theory is that it can cause a person to take more chances while driving a car, which leads to more accidents, and subsequently more deaths. 

Listen, this is supposed to be a funny blog — not a biology-based freakshow. For this reason, I went back to the past paragraph and inserted a gullible test. Did you catch it? OK, here it is:

March is NOT toxoplasmosis awareness month — I made that up!

The brain worm part is real and you can research that on your own. It’s disturbing, yet true that parasites can actually alter one’s thoughts and cause them to hallucinate or even commit suicide. Biologists joke that biology should be re-named, “parasitology,” since parasites outnumber free-living organisms by about four to one.

I just realized that humans could be seen as parasites in the eyes of other animals. Look at what we do with livestock. An animal is enslaved to work for us on the farm until the point that the point that they are slaughtered. How sad 🙁 that only until recently, we find out that other organisms do it to us!

It’s funny that toxoplasmosis would play very little roll in the cats versus dogs epic drama. It’s also surprising that Brazil isn’t more of cat country. Maybe the data is skewed or innacuate. Here’s an interesting video on Brazil and Toxoplasma Gandii:

Here’s even more info on toxoplasmosis.
Cat vs Dog info came mostly from spinning this article in the Washington Post.