Essex Police says "urgent enquiries" are ongoing after a video emerged of West Ham United footballer Kurt Zouma dropping, kicking and slapping his pet cat.

The 27-year-old Frenchman is then seen chasing the cat, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.

The clip, which has laughter in the background and is said to have been filmed by his brother Yoan, received widespread condemnation and Zouma issued a statement on Tuesday apologising for his actions and expressing his regret.

The RSPCA said it had received "lots of messages on social media" about the incident with a spokesperson describing the video as "very upsetting".

The footage first emerged on Monday in an article by The Sun and there have been calls for Zouma to be criminally investigated and dropped from West Ham's squad.

The east London side publicly condemned the video but controversially selected Zouma in Tuesday's Premier League game at home to Watford, where the the Frenchman helped secure a 1-0 victory for the Hammers.

Manager David Moyes said he started "because he is one of our better players" adding: "But it is certainly ongoing and the club are dealing with it, so that is a separate matter."

Zouma said before the game: "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."

His brother Yoan, who plays for Dagenham & Redbridge, said he "deeply regretted" his actions in his own statement on the club’s website.

Essex Police have indicated the incident may have taken place in the Chigwell area.

A spokesperson said officers were aware of the video and that it is liaising with the RSPCA adding "urgent enquiries" are ongoing.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: "This is a very upsetting video and we’d like to reassure the public that we are investigating.

"We cannot comment further at this time but we’re grateful to everyone who has brought this to our attention.

"We have received lots of messages on social media and our other channels, so we’re urging people to only contact our national cruelty line (0300 1234 999) if they have new or first-hand information."