Despite looking very much like a cat during a virtual court session on Zoom in the 394th district of Texas this week, attorney Rod Ponton assured his colleagues that he was definitely not a cat.
The awkward but hilarious mishap took place after Ponton was forced to use his secretary’s computer as his own PC was out of action due to an office move.
What he didn’t know is that his assistant’s daughter had been on the computer earlier, using a cat filter during a Zoom call with friends.
As you can see from the video of the incident at the top, Judge Roy Ferguson politely explains to Ponton that he appears to have a filter turned on while two other lawyers involved in the court session look on, for much of the time straight-faced.
Filters on the popular videoconferencing software mirror the movements of the person behind them, so everyone in the virtual room could see the cat looking around as Ponton tried desperately to sort the issue out.
Getting nowhere, the attorney-cum-cat tells the remarkably patient judge, “I don’t know how to remove it, I’ve got my assistant here, she’s trying, too.”
With the cat filter still very much in place, Ponton suggests proceeding with the court session regardless, assuring everyone watching, “I’m not a cat.”
The amusing hiccup came to international attention when Judge Ferguson posted the clip on Twitter along with a piece of top advice for anyone else using Zoom for work: “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.”
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