West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma has admitted kicking and slapping his pet cat after disturbing footage was posted on social media by his brother.
The 27-year-old Frenchman pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animal Welfare Act when he appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court in east London yesterday.
Zouma was said to have meted out his violent retribution on the defenceless male Bengal cat after blaming it for damaging a chair at his home.
Two cats have since been signed over to be rehomed.
The court heard the “premeditated” attack was filmed by his younger brother, lower-league footballer Yoan Zouma (24), who sent it to a woman he was due to go on a date with.
But the woman was so shocked that she called off their meeting, telling him: “I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today.”
Yoan Zouma admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.
The pair were released on bail ahead of their sentencing at the same court next week.
Trevor Burke QC, for Kurt Zouma, said his client had been subject to racist abuse and threats, lost a “substantial” sponsorship deal with Adidas, was fined £250,000 (€292,000) by his club and had no longer been picked for the France national team since the furore over the footage emerged.
The court heard seven people are to be prosecuted by police over the abuse to Zouma. However, the police subsequently denied this, saying they received an allegation of malicious communications and that inquiries are ongoing.
The court was told about disturbing footage of the incident, filmed at Zouma’s home and posted on Snapchat on February 6.
The Premier League star could be seen volleying the Bengal cat across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head. The clip contained laughing, and featured laughing emojis.
Zouma’s address will be withheld from the public domain after a judge heard about the “grotesque” abuse he had received.