The West Ham defender issued a grovelling apology last night after the shocking clip surfaced and insisted his two cats were “perfectly fine and healthy”. But thousands of people have signed petitions calling for Zouma to be prosecuted for animal cruelty and have his pets taken away.
One Change.org petition demanding the 27-year-old is prosecuted by the Met Police has hit 13,000 signatures.
And another Change.org petition to the Met and the RSPCA calling for the France international to be prosecuted and have his animals rehomed is nearing 5,000 names.
In the video, Zouma is seen dropping the cat before kicking it across the room, as well as slapping the terrified animal around the face.
Laughter can be heard in the background as he chases the Bengal and throws a pair of shoes at it.
The RSPCA described the footage of the footballer as “very upsetting”.
A spokesperson for the animal welfare charity said: “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.”
Dr Maggie Roberts, director of veterinary services at Cats Protection, said: “Causing any animal unnecessary suffering is a criminal offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
READ MORE: West Ham ‘have good grounds’ to sack Kurt Zouma amid vile footage
“We noticed that some people viewing the video online thought it was funny. We can assure them that this is not a laughing matter.”
West Ham has also condemned Zouma, who joined the Hammers from Chelsea in August 2021.
The club said in a statement: “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.”
Zouma expressed his regret and insisted his cats were “loved and cherished”.
He told The Sun: “I want to apologise for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret.
“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.”
Zouma’s brother, a defender for Dagenham & Redbridge, has been condemned by his club for filming the sick video.
Yoan Zouma said he “deeply regretted” his actions in his own statement.