By Stephen Messenger
"A month as passed since a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy, claiming hundreds of lives and displacing thousands more, and the prospects of finding anyone alive beneath the rubble have long faded.
But Rocco the cat never gave up hope.
On Sunday, firefighters working to clean up the ruins in the hard-hit village of Rio di San Lorenzo made a discovery they could hardly believe. While inspecting a home that had collapsed in August, preparing to tear down what little remained, crews uncovered Rocco trapped within a space inside - still clinging to life 32 days after the deadly quake.
Despite having spent four weeks without an obvious source of food or water, Rocco was found to be dehydrated but in otherwise good condition, reports Giornale di Brescia.
Fortunately, it wasn't long before the cat's owners learned that their pet had managed to survive against the odds; they were present at the site to oversee the demolition of their home, with no way of knowing Rocco was still alive.
And with that, the family and their cat were reunited.
"Happy owners!" the fire service, Vigili del Fuoco, wrote online.
Veterinarian Cristiana Graziani, who was on hand to treat Rocco after the rescue, said that the cat seemed in high spirits after his long ordeal - having energy enough to purr in the arms of his owner.
"An incredible story, but true," she wrote.
While Rocco may sadly be among the last to be found alive in the rubble, he's far from the only pet to make it out alive. Some 200 animals were rescued following the quake, TheLocal.it reports - offering hope to their families that, even amid so much devastation, not all has been lost."
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