The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [RSPCA] has condemned the “very upsetting” video of West Ham defender Kurt Zouma kicking and slapping a cat – and reaffirmed a commitment to investigate any complaints about animal welfare.
Zouma has apologised after the disturbing video surfaced online, with West Ham also condemning the actions of their player and vowing to deal with the matter internally.
In the video, Zouma is seen kicking and slapping the cat, while laughter can be heard in the background. The 27-year-old France international then chases the animal before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.
“This is a very upsetting video. It’s never acceptable to kick, hit or slap an animal, for punishment or otherwise,” a spokesperson for animal welfare charity the RSPCA said.
“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.”
After the clip emerged, West Ham criticised Zouma’s actions.
“West Ham United unreservedly condemns the actions of our player, Kurt Zouma, in the video that has circulated,” the club said in a statement.
“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.”
Zouma, who joined the Hammers from Chelsea in August 2021, has also released a statement, apologising for his actions and expressing his regret.
“I want to apologise for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret,” Zouma 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.”