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Things are decidedly not great still—but this Texas lawyer was able to make us smile today after a mishap with a Zoom filter.

By Austin Cannon
February 09, 2021
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Behold: Seven words—19 letters—that will forever live in internet lore. 

"I'm here, live. I'm not a cat." 

Texas lawyer Rod Ponton, a county attorney, told the judge during a hearing in the 394th District Court of Texas on Tuesday. Instead of his normal face, he had appeared as a worried-looking gray kitten thanks to a filter on the web-conferencing software Zoom. 

The judge hearing the case, Roy Ferguson, tried to help Ponton turn the filter off. The judge later posted about the hilarious encounter, warning those in the legal field to make sure they turn off any filters after their children use their computers. 

When reached by Vice, Ponton said he was using his secretary's computer, which had the filter on it. He was able to remove it and continue to argue his case. But—BUT!—for a few glorious seconds, this Texas lawyer was a unsure-looking kitten ready to talk about contraband. 

Here are our six favorite moments of the 42-second video: 

6. Early in the exchange when Ferguson tells Ponton he had a filter on. Ponton—who is a cat at his point—looks frazzled as he glances over to his left, as if he's looking for a way to quickly regain his human form.

5. When Cat Ponton asks, innocently, "Can you hear me, judge?" 

4. The patience of Judge Ferguson. After Ponton clarifies that he is indeed, not a feline, the judge says, "I can...I can see that" and then tries to help Ponton fix the problem. 

3. When H. Gibbs Bauer, another lawyer in the case, notices something is amiss, leans forward, and puts on his glasses—seemingly incredulous that a very cute kitten has entered the chat. 

2. Conversely, when another attorney, Jerry Phillips, is looking away from his screen during most of the conversation, only to look up when Ponton says, "I'm not a cat" and visibly chuckle. 

1. One more time, the moment that will live in internet infamy: "I'm here, live. I'm not a cat."

Before we go, let's give Ponton some credit for being a good sport. He told The New York Times: "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 it at my expense." 

The hearing continued and eventually concluded after Ponton's real face returned to the screen.