West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has been fined the "maximum amount possible" for mistreating his pet cat, according to the Premier League club.

"West Ham United can confirm that Kurt Zouma has been fined the maximum amount possible following his actions in the video that circulated," the club said in a statement.

"The player has immediately accepted the fine and has requested that it is donated to animal welfare charities."

It came as animal welfare charity the RSPCA had taken two cats belonging to Zuma into care.

The France international, who played against Watford in the Premier League last night, has been widely condemned after a video emerged of him dropping, kicking and slapping the animal.

More than 110,000 people signed an online petition calling for the West Ham United defender to be prosecuted as part of a growing backlash over his abuse of his pet cat.

The petition on Change.org reads: "In the UK we have laws against the abuse of animals, laws which should be applicable to everyone rich or poor, famous or not.

"We ask that the Metropolitan Police and RSPCA carry out an urgent investigation and prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous act."

West Ham sponsor Experience Kissimmee - the club's "official destination partner" - has said it "will be evaluating our relationship and sponsorship with the club" in light of the video.

The defender got a taste of the growing public anger as he was relentlessly booed by Watford supporters during last night's match, with even West Ham fans joining in some of the jeering.

The RSPCA condemned the "very upsetting" video after it surfaced online and will be leading the investigation and cooperating with Essex Police.

"We cannot comment further at this time, but we're grateful to everyone who has brought this to our attention," said a statement from the charity.

It said: "We'd like to reassure people that we're investigating and the cats are safe and in our care.

"We have been dealing with this since before the clip went viral online and we need to follow the proper legal process and not discuss due to UK GDPR laws."

A statement from West Ham said: "West Ham United can confirm that the club is supporting an RSPCA investigation into the actions of Kurt Zouma in the video circulated online this week.

"Kurt and the club are co-operating fully with the investigation and the player has 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.

"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."

Additional reporting PA