West Ham footballer Kurt Zouma has said he is “deeply sorry” after disturbing footage showed him kicking his cat like a football across his kitchen floor.
The Premier League star, 27, is also seen slapping his pet in the face in the video obtained by The Sun.
His brother Yoan is believed to have filmed the incident inside the defender’s £2m mansion before posting it to Snapchat on Sunday afternoon, just a day after Zouma appeared for West Ham in the FA Cup.
The French international is filmed in his kitchen picking up the cat before dropping it and booting it into the air across the kitchen.
He is also seen chasing the Bengal cat around his dining room in front of a child while the cameraman is heard laughing.
The £30m former Chelsea player is then filmed throwing a pair of shoes at the animal as it tries to escape.
A final clip shows him slapping the cat in the face and out of the child’s arms.
‘I’m deeply sorry’
Zouma has since issued an apology for the attack and insisted it was an isolated incident.
In a statement sent to Sky News, he said: “I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video. I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.
“They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behaviour was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”
A statement from West Ham United said: “West Ham United unreservedly condemns the actions of our player, Kurt Zouma, in the video that has circulated.
“We have spoken to Kurt and will be dealing with the matter internally, but we would like to make it clear that we in no way condone cruelty towards animals.”
Ironically, the footballer proudly promotes in his Instagram bio that he is an ambassador for the French charity Seed, which has raised money for an animal shelter for big cats.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “This is a very upsetting video. It’s never acceptable to kick, hit or slap an animal, for punishment or otherwise.
“We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.”