West Ham star Kurt Zouma pleads guilty to slapping and kicking his cats ‘like a football’

Hammers star Kurt Zouma was filmed by his younger brother Yoan abusing the animals on February 6 this year, and the videos were posted on Snapchat.

Disgraced West Ham footballer Kurt Zouma admitted kicking his cat “like a football” and slapping another while his seven-year-old son held it, when he appeared in court today.

The brothers were arrested and subsequently charged following an RSPCA investigation after the videos went viral.

Kurt Zouma at Thames Magistrates Court appearing over allegations he kicked a cat and slapped another in the head in, London, 24th May 2022. Credit: Tony Kershaw / SWNS

The West Ham defender pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when he appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court today alongside his brother. Both wore dark suits.

The Premier League player, of previous good character, faces up to six months in prison, but is more likely to be fined when he is sentenced on June 1.

Yoan Zouma, 23, pleaded guilty to one charge of aiding and abetting the unnecessary suffering of a protected animal.

French international Kurt Zouma, who signed for the Hammers from Chelsea for £38.5million, continues to play for the Premier League club but they have fined him £250,000 – two weeks wages.

Yoan Zouma (R) at Thames Magistrates Court to appear over allegations filming a cat being kicked by his brother Kurt Zouma London, 24th May 2022. Credit: Tony Kershaw / SWNS

Hazel Stevens, prosecuting, told the court today: “This matter came to light when a young lady, who had been chatting with Yoan Zouma for a couple of weeks, messaged him on February 6 to arrange a date.

“She was sent social media images on Snapchat. She was horrified, and even more so, because Yoan found the images funny.”

The RSPCA was alerted to the Snapchat stories by a journalist as they went viral across social media.

Ms Stevens said: “The first stories showed some broken lights, a vase and commentary which appeared to suggest the cats are responsible for that.

“The camera turns to Yoan and showed him filming two chairs.

“Kurt Zouma takes his shoe off and chases the cat around the dining room table.”

The footage also shows the West Ham star pick up his Bengal cat while a caption reads: “It’s starting.”

Kurt Zouma booting his pet cat. Credit: Snapchat

He then drops the cat and boots it with his left foot before it hits the floor.

Ms Stevens said: “As he does that another Bengal cat can be seen running out of the kitchen.

“He kicks the cat and Yoan can be heard laughing in the background.”

Another video shows Kurt Zouma taking off his shirt and shouting: “Brap, are you ready?”

He chases the cat and throws his shoe at it before it escapes. He then says: “Where is it? Do you want to fight?”

Kurt Zouma also enlisted his seven-year-old son to hold one of the cats while he slapped it in the head.

Ms Stevens told the court how the child went to look for the cat looking shocked while Kurt Zouma said: “I will kill it.”

She added: “This is a scene which can only be described as shocking. He did not chastise the cat where it was but brought it into the kitchen and kicked it like a football.

“The lady was so disgusted she cancelled the date.”

That lady had told Yoan Zouma: “I don’t think that is OK. The cat does not know what it is doing.

“I do not want to associate with people who find that funny, in front of a child as well.

“You should be careful of that stuff, especially with your family being who they are.”

The RSPCA seized the cats a few days later and a vet said the kicking and slapping caused soft tissue damage as well as stress, fear and anxiety, but there are no lasting physical injuries.

Ms Stevens also said there has been a spate of people filming themselves kicking cats on social media as a result of the abuse.

Yoan Zouma has been suspended from his National League club of Dagenham and Redbridge.

Kurt Zouma also had a sponsorship deal with Adidas dropped and he has suffered a wave of racist abuse and death threats online as a result of the videos, according to his solicitor Trevor Burke.

Mr Burke told the court: “There has been equal hostility in France as here. He has suffered abuse on social media.

“Over 100 accounts have been closed by the authorities because they breach the racial abuse criteria, 150 people are being investigated and seven individuals will be charged.”