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Twitter reacts to lawyer turning into cat on Zoom hearing

'I'm not a cat,' county attorney Rod Ponton clarified after Zoom filter mishap, as reactions pour in on social media

Lawyer Rod Ponton appears with a kitten filter turned on during a virtual hearing of the 394th District Court of Texas, U.S. February 9, 2021 in this still image taken from video. Judge Roy Ferguson via REUTERS (JUDGE ROY FERGUSON via REUTERS)

It was just another moment in the world-domination plan hatched by the feline species—but this time it has blown up spectacularly on the internet.

When Judge Roy Ferguson opened up virtual proceedings of the 394th Judicial District Court in Texas, USA, on Zoom on Tuesday, he was not expecting to see two lawyers and a kitten.

The cute blue-eyed "cat" in the bottom right corner was actually county attorney Rod Ponton, covered by a filter.

"Mr Ponton, I believe you have filter turned on in the video settings," said the judge.

Ponton said his assistant was trying to fix the settings.

"I'm here live, I'm not a cat," he said—or rather the giant cat-face filter did.

"I can see that," said the judge.

As the video went viral on social media, Ferguson had a keen word of advice for those logging into Zoom meetings. (Warning: you may find yourself watching this clip on loop all day and cackling aloud.)

The 69-year-old Ponton told Reuters that he was not sure how the filter had appeared.

"I logged into my secretary's computer to appear at this hearing via Zoom, and when everybody's ready the judge calls the case and everybody's face is supposed to pop up on Zoom.

"And everybody's face popped up except mine. Mine was a cat," he said.

The judge helped remove the filter and the hearing proceeded, he explained.

Judge Ferguson called it a "fun moment."

"Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace," he said.

Speaking to Vice, Ponton clarified that the mistake occurred when he logged into a hearing a hearing for "a case involving a man trying to exit the United States with contraband and contraband cash". Joining from his secretary's computer, he hadn't realised it had a filter on.

Twitter made quick work of this golden meme-worthy moment, with users, famous or otherwise, pitching in with their takes. The lawyers lead the way.

Followed by the comedians.

Writer Margaret Atwood spoke for many when she tweeted her feelings on this whole messy affair.

And it was only a matter of time before the cats jumped in with their views.

As the internet gears up for a field day, with more takes joining the feline hall of fame of memes by the second, the winners of this fiasco, we have to admit, are the judge and the lawyers on the call. Imagine holding it in with a straight face, even as Ponton continues to explain, speaking through his cat-face, that he is, indeed, not a cat!

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