Texas lawyer Rod Ponton tells court he is not a cat after appearing on virtual hearing using kitten filter | Ralph Lauren

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A lawyer in Texas was left feline a bit bashful after he joined a live court video conference call using a computer generated kitten filter.

The virtual court room hearing was organised to hear an otherwise run-of-the mill civil matter.

However, when Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton joined the call things took an entertaining turn.

Ponton appeared as as a wide-eyed, fluffy, white and brown kitten — seemingly unbeknownst to him.

It wasn’t until Judge Roy Ferguson of Texas’s 394th judicial district broke the news Ponton, that he started to panic.

“I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings. You might want to …” Judge Ferguson said.

At which point Ponton replies “Can you hear me, judge?”

Ferguson then responds telling Ponton “I can hear you. I think it’s a filter …”

“It is,” the kitten-faced Ponton responds. “And I don’t know how to remove it. I’ve got my assistant here, she’s trying to, but I’m prepared to go forward with it … I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”

“I can see that,” Ferguson then dead pans.

The wide-eyed kitten filter.
Camera IconThe wide-eyed kitten filter. Credit: Zoom/AAP

Luckily, Judge Ferguson saw the humour in the situation and had a laugh over the court cat-tastrophe on Twitter.

“Important Zoom tip — if a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off,” he posted.

“This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th (sound on).”

He then followed with another post, praising all lawyers operating in difficult circumstances.

“These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times,” Ferguson tweeted. “Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!”

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Ponton said he was forced to use his secretary’s computer, because the office was in the midst of a move.

“If I could make everyone laugh at my expense I’m happy to do that,” Ponton told NBC News hours after the hearing. “It’s an example of what can happen in our computer connected world.”

It’s not the first time there have been Zoom call mishaps, as COVID-19 has made most companies move their communications online.

Last year a woman, believed to be from the US, left her camera on when she went to the toilet during a video conference call.

The woman, referred to as Jennifer, can be seen walking through her house as a colleague discusses work and “professional standards”.

But as she speaks, Jennifer can be seen entering the bathroom, removing her trousers and sitting on the toilet.

Pusan National University professor Robert Kelly (L), along with his wife Kim Jung-a (R), 4-year-old daughter Marion and 8-month-old James.
Camera IconPusan National University professor Robert Kelly (L), along with his wife Kim Jung-a (R), 4-year-old daughter Marion and 8-month-old James. Credit: YONHAP/AAPIMAGE

And who could forget when a toddler unknowingly crashed her dad’s live TV appearance in the UK? And that was before COVID-19 had even hit.

Robert Kelly, a political science professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, was giving his analysis of the impeachment of South Korea president Park Geun-hye for the BBC when first one, then another of his children burst into the room.

While Kelly retains his composure for the most part, the first kid does take a stiff arm to the torso.



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