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NY Teen Behind Viral Cat Yearbook Photo Commits Suicide

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Draven Rodriguez, the New York teen who made headlines and garnered the support of celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon for his campaign to get his laser cat photo in his high school yearbook, has killed himself at the age of 17.

Syracuse reports:

Rodriguez made national news last fall when he started a petition to get his unique photo featured in the yearbook as his senior portrait. The petition was a precaution, while the school did not decline the photo just yet.

"This is my pre-emptive strike just in case such a thing were to happen," Rodriguez explained in his petition. "I wanted as many backers as possible before the deadline of September 15th."

Cat2However, even after reaching more than 7,000 signatures, Rodriguez was not allowed to use the photo in the yearbook. Instead, Principal Diane Wilkinson, and her Chihuahua Vivienne, joined Rodriguez for a new laser cat yearbook photo.

Times Union adds:

Although his humor and intelligence were readily apparent, Rodriguez was more cherished by family and schoolmates for his easy facility for friendship.

"He made friends wherever he went," said Rodriguez's father, Jonathan Stewart. "He had friends all over the country — people he'd met at youth-leadership conferences, online, just around town."

The photo of Rodriguez, his cat Mr. Bigglesworth, Principal Wilkinson, and Vivienne will reportedly get its own page in the yearbook with a message about adopting pets through shelters and rescue organizations. 

Watch Jimmy Fallon's opening monologue a few months back mentioning Rodriguez, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Man Creates $50,000 Indoor Playland for His 15 Rescued Cats: VIDEO

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Peter Cohen, Manuel Flores, and Hiroyuki Furumoto have built an indoor playland for their 15 rescue cats which is unlike anything you've ever seen.

CatguysThe playland consists of dozens of platforms, tunnels, nooks, spiraling ramps, and holes that look like a shark's gaping mouth on which the cats can scratch their backs. It even has closets with filtration systems and exhaust fans to hold the many litter boxes as well as constantly cleaning Roomba vacuums.

Cohen, who lives in Goleta, California (near Santa Barbara), says that he has spent as much as $50,000 on the project.

Check out the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

While the video from HouzzTV which began going viral this week says nothing about the relationship between the men behind the project, a bit of sleuthing shows that both business and romantic relationships are fueling the project. And a mad love of cats.

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Ultimate Animal Fails Compilation: VIDEO

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Dogs, cats, horses, squirrels, sheep and everything in between. No animal is immune to the power of the fail.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Hot Men Play With Tiny Kittens: VIDEO

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Some people don't care for cats. This despite the known fact that a cat could save your life.

A video from BuzzFeed, however, proves that knowing a cat makes all the difference. Before meeting and playing with some kittens, a group of attractive men had a variety of reactions to the prospect of interacting with the little felines, ranging from "I'm really f---ing nervous" to "If a cat was big enough, it absolutely would eat you" and more simply, "I don't like cats." However, the guys quickly go soft for the furry munchkins. Watch their "feelings of maternal protection" kick in, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Put Your Claws in the Air for the Completely Unnecessary New 'Meow Mix' Club Remix: VIDEO

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Today in videos that nobody asked for is a combo of three of the internet's favorite things: throwback theme songs, electronic dance music, and cats. Also, a peek into a nightclub which would be a nightmare for people with pet allergies.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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World's Most Selfless Cat Still Protecting Little Boy as News Crew Visits: VIDEO

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By now you've seen the super-viral video of a California boy being saved from a vicious dog by the family cat. A local news station went to visit the boy, and the cat is still by his side.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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