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Pet cats of West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma taken away by animal charity

Animal charity the RSPCA has taken West Ham defender Kurt Zouma’s pet cats away after videos emerged on social media of him kicking and slapping one of them.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is liaising with Essex Police about the incident.

“The two cats are now in RSPCA care,” said a charity spokesperson.

The Premier League club say they have fined Zouma “the maximum amount possible” and the fee will be donated to animal welfare charities.

German sportswear firm Adidas announced on Wednesday it had ended its deal with the 27-year-old.

“We have concluded our investigation and can confirm Kurt Zouma is no longer an Adidas-contracted athlete,” said the company.

Also on Wednesday West Ham sponsor Experience Kissimmee said “due to recent events” it would end it’s deal with the club.

More than 150,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Zouma to be prosecuted, while one of West Ham’s sponsors, Vitality, has suspended its deal with the club.

West Ham said Zouma “willingly complied with the steps taken in the initial stage of the process, including delivering his family’s two cats to the RSPCA for assessment”.

The RSPCA spokesperson added: “Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.

“They’ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.

“We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation.

“We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time.”

The Hammers said the fine, which Zouma immediately accepted, was “separate to the RSPCA’s investigation and pending further sanction once the outcome of that process is determined”.

They added: “Kurt is extremely remorseful and, like everyone at the club, fully understands the depth of feeling surrounding the incident and the need for action to be taken.

“West Ham United would like to reiterate our condemnation of Kurt’s actions and make it clear that the matter continues to be handled with the utmost seriousness.

“However, we believe it is now important to allow the RSPCA to conduct their investigation in a fair and thorough manner, and will be making no further comment at this stage.”

West Ham manager David Moyes played France international Zouma in their match against Watford on Tuesday, despite the controversy, and the centre-back was booed by both sets of supporters during the game.