A California teenager has been arrested after a video of him allegedly throwing a kitten into a lake went viral, almost a year after it was filmed.

Garret Haile allegedly committed the crime in 2017 but, was arrested on Friday, 2 February, after the video surfaced online and was shared hundreds of times on different social media platforms. The 18-year-old has been charged with animal cruelty.

Stanislaus County investigators said that the viral video helped them nab the Patterson High School student. But due to his age at the time of committing the crime, he may face charges as a minor, the Daily Mail reported.

The video [graphic content, viewer discretion is advised] was reportedly shared by Nicole Pinheiro, 17, on Facebook, who said: "At 17, I still knew what I was doing. He knew what he was doing.

"Even if he was just joking around or just trying to put something on Snapchat or whatever he was doing, it's wrong regardless. Regardless of if it's a year old or today, he still did it".

It was not immediately clear how she got the video on her phone. Meanwhile, Pinheiro added that on showing the gory video to her mother, "she burst into tears and she was like 'I can't believe that this is the world now'".

Investigators are reportedly also searching for the person who recorded the video. He too is liable to face charges for the alleged assault on the defenceless animal.

The video shows Haile mercilessly throwing the cat into the water, while the person behind the camera can be heard saying: "Welcome to badass, and this is Felipe the flying cat."

The high school student then forcefully hurls the animal high in the distance after which it flips and turns as it sinks into the water with a splash. It is not known if the creature survived.