‘I’m not a cat,’ lawyer declares in virtual court hearing after appearing with a kitten filter on

Published February 10, 2021, 3:42 PM

by Noreen Jazul

A virtual civil forfeiture case proceeding in Texas took a hilarious turn after one lawyer appeared with a white feline filter.

Texas’ 394th Judicial District Court uploaded the amusing “zoom filter” mishap involving 69-year-old lawyer Rod Ponton from Presidio County on its official YouTube page on Feb. 10.

The 42-second clips showed Ponton’s brief appearance in the virtual courtroom as a cat. 


“Mr. Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings, you might want to uh…I think it’s a filter,” Judge Roy Ferguson, who was presiding over the hearing, told Ponton.

Ponton then replied: “It is…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,” Ponton said while still covered with the feline filter.

“I’m here live, I’m not a cat,” he added.

Judge Ferguson also shared the video on his Twitter account.

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

“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. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around,” Ferguson added.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ponton said he was glad to be able to make people laugh with his court gaffe.

“At first I was worried about it…but then I realized as it was going viral, if the country could take a moment to laugh at my cat moment at my expense, I’ll take it. We’ve had a stressful year,” he told The Washington Post.

Pontin also told The Washington Post that he used his legal assistant’s office computer during the virtual hearing. 

“He [Pontin] believes her daughter may have swapped in the filter before he logged on,” the report added.

As of this writing, Ponton’s video appearing as a kitten in court has reached more than two million views.