WEST Ham player Kurt Zouma is facing jail after he admitted kicking his cat “like a football” across the kitchen and yelling: “I swear I’ll kill it”.
The defender, 27, sparked a public outcry after the shocking clip was revealed by The Sun in February.
He was flanked by security – believed to have been hired by West Ham – as he appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court today.
Zouma admitted two charges under the Animal Welfare Act, while a third was left to lie on the file by prosecutors.
His brother Yoan, who appeared in the dock alongside him, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Act after filming the vile clip.
Both men looked anxiously at the ground as footage was shown of the West Ham ace kicking and slapping his Bengal cat in his £2million mansion.
The court was told both of Zouma’s cats were likely to have suffered soft tissue trauma in the sick attack.
This would have left the animals, which were both signed over to the RSPCA, in “pain and discomfort” and fearful of humans in the future.
Prosecutor Hazel Stevens said one cat had been “kicked like a football” causing “unnecessary suffering and fear”.
She told the court Zouma could be heard saying: “I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.”
He also yelled “I’ll hit it, you want a fight” and “Where is it. Where is it?”
The video was then sent by Dagenham and Redbridge player Yoan to a woman he was hoping to go on a date with but she cancelled, telling him: “Don’t bother coming today”.
The prosecutor added: “Treating family pets in this way does not demonstrate good role model behaviour.
“They both have a position of responsibility as footballers. They are role models whose actions are copied.”
Zouma faces up to five years in jail after the law around sentencing for animal abusers was toughened last year.
The judge pushed back sentencing until June 1 to consider his punishment.
It came after the court heard Zouma has already been fined £250,000 by West Ham for the attack.
She replied: “I read that was two weeks’ wages?”
Footage showed the French international chasing one of the cats around his dining room in front of a child as the cameraman laughed.
Zouma also hurled a pair of designer shoes at the pet, which could be seen frantically trying to escape.
In a final clip, he is seen forcefully slapping the cat in the face — and out of the child’s arms.
He continued to play for West Ham following the horror but was booed by away fans and his own supporters.
Gaffer David Moyes said at the time he understood the criticism he faced for continuing to select the France international, admitting what the player had done was “terrible”.
And he defended the player in the wake of the animal cruelty storm.
The manager also revealed the defender is “hoping he is forgiven” after the footage emerged.
Zouma was fined £250,000 – two weeks’ wages – for the attack and issued a grovelling apology insisting his cats were both “perfectly fine and healthy”.
But he was still dropped by sponsors Adidas and Vitality UK following the public outcry.
Ironically, the footballer was listed an ambassador for a charity which protects abused big cats.
West Ham said in a statement after he was charged: “West Ham United is aware of the RSPCA statement in relation to its investigation involving Kurt Zouma.
“Kurt continues to co-operate fully, supported by the Club.”
RSPCA Chief Inspectorate Officer Dermot Murphy said today: “It’s never acceptable to treat an animal in this way and we were shocked when the video was first brought to our attention.
“What makes this case evening more sad is the way the video was filmed and shared, making light of such cruelty.
“We hope this case will serve as a reminder that all animals deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion and respect, and that we will not tolerate cruelty, by anybody.”