New Hampshire Lawmaker Says She Was Told to Keep Her Cats Off Camera During Virtual Meetings

Persian cat using laptop computer.
Getty Stock Images

Democratic Rep. Anita Burroughs said that her two cats — Yoshi and Jack — have appeared during recent House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee hearings.

Some New Hampshire lawmakers are allegedly not in favor of having four-legged creatures make cameos during Zoom meetings, as some members have been instructed to keep their cats and their dogs out of the room when they log on for remote hearings, according to reports.

Democratic Rep. Anita Burroughs told the Associated Press that her two cats — Yoshi and Jack — have appeared during recent House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee hearings. In fact, during a friendly visit this week from Yoshi, Burroughs's face got partially covered.

Though none of her colleagues said anything at the time Yoshi surfaced, the house member said one member shared a message from the committee chair, Republican Rep. John Hunt, who said he did not want to see any animals onscreen during meetings, People magazine reported.

Burroughs told Inside Edition Digital that her making public the reported directive to not have pets on camera was done in jest.  "When you post something about your cat you never in a million years think it is going to go viral. I did it kind of lighthearted. I want people to know that I really like the chair of our committee (Rep. John Hunt). He is a good guy and I don't think it was unreasonable for him to ask us to keep the cats off the screen. I really didn't mean to embarrass him or the Republican party for that matter."

Burroughs told the AP that she is not the only member that has pet dropping in during the virtual meetings. She said at least one other member had a cat in view, and another member's dog was heard barking in the background.

Burroughs, who told the AP that she enjoys having her animals around her, said “it’s just calming having my animals sit next to me so I can pet them, and it doesn’t distract me in any way.”

”That’s part of the life we're living right now, and pets are part of it, too.”

She added, "I’m fully attentive to what's going on."

Hunt, however, denied issuing a ban, AP reported. 

“I simply asked the ranking Democrat: Do we really want to have cats parading in front of the legislator’s computer? Let alone stopping and getting petted so that someone may assume the cat is sitting in for the legislator?” he said in an email Thursday night.

On Thursday, Burroughs took to social media to acknowledge the attention she and her cats were receiving.

"I expect I am in the dog house now (or cat house). The story about my cats being banned from the Commerce Committee went national," she wrote. 

And on Saturday, Burroughs wrote, "Thanks to my sister in law Paula for explaining how to prep for upcoming Legislative sessions and keeping my cat off of the screen. #nh #nhpolitics." With the tweet, she also shared a cartoon image of a man sitting at a computer, while a cat was duct-taped to the wall off-screen.

Text on the photo read, "How to prepare for a Zoom meeting." 

Hunt has not responded to Inside Edition Digital's request for comment.