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The man behind the meow! Meet the 'cat lawyer' who went viral after Zoom filter mishap

"I got as big a laugh out of it as everybody else," attorney Rod Ponton said.
/ Source: TODAY

Your honor, we now have irrefutable proof that attorney Rod Ponton is not a cat.

The Texas lawyer (and his actual human face) appeared on TODAY Wednesday, a day after he left the country in hysterics when he appeared at a virtual court hearing with a Zoom filter showing him as an adorable talking white kitten.

"It can happen to anybody, but yesterday it dang sure happened to me," Ponton said of his viral fame.

The video has been viewed millions of times after being shared on Twitter and YouTube by Judge Roy Ferguson of the 394th Judicial District of Texas.

Ponton's hilarious declaration of "I'm not a cat" was a much-needed dose of joy on Tuesday. Carson Daly asked Ponton if he was able to turn on the cat filter during his appearance on TODAY.

"So I don't have the filter on right now, (but) it certainly made my day," he said.

In his exchange with the judge on Tuesday, Ponton struggled with his Zoom settings because he was using someone else's computer, he said.

"I don’t know how to remove it," Ponton says in the video. "I've got my assistant here and she’s trying to remove it but uh … I'm prepared to go forward with it. I'm here live. I'm not a cat."

It was a testament to Ponton's dedication that he was prepared to move on with the proceeding while appearing as a cat.

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"I was (prepared to continue)" he said on TODAY. "Meow, meow, meow."

The filter debacle was ultimately resolved in about 20 seconds, but that was long enough for Ponton to become a viral star.

"I was having lunch after that hearing, and I was wondering why my phone was blowing up with calls from around the country and around the world," he said. "I didn't know if I was in trouble or what was going on, but I finally figured it out. I got as big a laugh out of it as everybody else."

Ponton said he was using his secretary's computer and she has a young daughter, which may have been the reason for the filter, but it was not entirely clear.

"I don't know how the filter got on there," he said.

It also led Ferguson to offer an important pointer to future lawyers participating in virtual proceedings.

"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," Ferguson tweeted.

"Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!" he tweeted.