Two Wal-Mart (search) employees who police say followed a manager's orders to shoot and kill a stray cat have been charged with federal animal cruelty.

The men, both assistant managers at the Supercenter, were arrested and released after a court appearance Wednesday. Christopher Anderson, 29, and Jeffrey Hardin, 21, told police the store's manager ordered them to get rid of the animal that was living in a storage trailer behind their store.

All managers potentially involved in the incident have been suspended without pay pending an internal investigation and could be fired, said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Weber.

"We were outraged when we learned of this incident. This kind of action is completely inconsistent with the way we do business," she said.

A truck driver who reported the incident said he saw store employees placing what he believed to be a dead animal in shrink wrap a day after he heard workers joking about shooting the cat.

Store manager Darrel Weitzel told police he had told some of his employees to get a gun and get rid of the cat after attempts to coax it from the trailer failed, according to a police report.

Anderson and Hardin were scheduled for a hearing Jan. 4.