In Technology Mishap, Lawyer Appears in Virtual Court as a Cat

Lawyer Rod Ponton appears with a kitten filter turned on during a virtual hearing of the 394th District Court of Texas. (Judge Roy Ferguson via Reuters)

A Texas lawyer is going viral on social media for a Zoom error that had millions of people in tears of laughter: he accidentally appeared in virtual court, representing the state of Texas, as a cat.

Presidio County attorney Rod Ponton is an experienced attorney with 40 years of professional experience. He has had much less practice navigating online meeting platforms such as Zoom.

On Tuesday, Ponton borrowed his secretary’s computer to appear before a judge in virtual court. Unbeknownst to them, his secretary’s young daughter had used the computer, and played around with filters.

To his surprise, as Ponton appeared on screen, it wasn’t his face, but a wide-eyed cartoon cat.

One of the other lawyers, struggling to remain straight faced as the judge watched them, said, “I believe you have a filter turned on…”

“It is,” Ponton admitted, his deep Texas accent coming out of the cat. “I don’t know how to remove it…I’m prepared to go forward with it,” he said, striving to maintain professional.

“I’m here live, I’m not a cat,” he reassured the judge, the cat’s head, eyes and mouth bobbing to mimic what the real Ponton was saying and how he was moving.

Judge Roy Ferguson maintained his composure as the other lawyers struggled not to laugh. “I can see that,” he said.

The video of the incident, less than a minute long, made rounds on social media for the light-hearted absurdity of the situation.

“For some reason, it struck everybody’s funny bone,” Ponton told Fox News. “And if they could laugh with me about it, I’m happy to give everybody a smile.”

“I think what happened is that everybody could empathize with this,” Ponton added, noting the pandemic forced millions of people to quickly become familiar with new technological systems.

Ultimately, Ponton is at peace with his mishap. “I’m happy because it’s obvious that it became a happy and laughing moment for the world. And if that’s my experience, I’ll take it. We all need a little more humor in these trying times.”



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