West Ham defender Kurt Zouma admitted kicking and slapping his pet cat at a London court hearing after disturbing footage posted online by his brother caused public outrage across Britain.
The 27-year-old France international pleaded guilty to two counts under the Animal Welfare Act at Thames Magistrates’ Court in east London.
Zouma was said to have targeted the male Bengal cat after blaming it for damaging a chair at his home.
Two cats have since been signed over to be re-homed.
The court was told that the “premeditated” attack was filmed by Zouma’s younger brother, lower-league footballer Yoan Zouma, 24, who sent it to a woman he was due to go on a date with.
But the woman was so shocked that she called off their meeting, telling him: “I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK — don’t bother coming today.”
Yoan Zouma admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.
The pair were released on bail ahead of their sentencing at the same court next week.
Kurt Zouma’s lawyer, Trevor Burke, said the footballer had been subject to racist abuse and threats, had lost a “substantial” sponsorship deal with Adidas, was fined £250,000 ($312,000) and had not been picked for the France national team since.
The court was told about the disturbing video of the incident, filmed at Zouma’s home and posted on Snapchat on February 6.