Lawyer in US appears as kitten during formal court hearing via Zoom, panics & becomes internet sensation

All court hearings should have kitten avatars.

Belmont Lay | February 10, 2021, 11:09 AM

A lawyer in the United States accidentally appeared in a video conference hearing as a kitten after leaving the filter on and then had trouble getting rid of it.

Texas lawyer Rod Ponton’s avatar as a wide-eyed baby cat has since been immortalised online as the hilarity of it all spread like wildfire.

Surreal exchange

The exchange between a po-faced judge (bottom left on screen) and a kitten trying to turn human was surreal.

“Mr. Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings,” Judge Roy Ferguson told Ponton in the video.

Ponton/ kitten then interrupted the judge, speaking in a panicky drawl: “Can you hear me, judge?”

Ferguson responds: “I can hear you. I think it’s a filter...”

“It is,” Ponton responded, eyes darting about.

“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.”

In response, the judge deadpanned: “I can see that.”

This caused the other man, identified as Jerry L. Phillips, to look up to smile and laugh.

He had until that point appeared stony and unfazed by the cat.

Civil forfeiture case

According to the New York Times, the hearing was for a civil forfeiture case.

Ponton was representing the State of Texas.

Ponton said he started getting calls from reporters barely more than an hour after the hearing ended.

The video was put up on the court’s YouTube page.

Judge Ferguson tweeted out a link.

Ponton told NYT in a phone interview: “If I can make the country chuckle for a moment in these difficult times they’re going through, I’m happy to let them do that at my expense.”