32 day’s had passed since a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Amatrice, in central Italy on August 24 claiming hundreds of lives and displacing thousands more. The prospects of finding anyone alive beneath the rubble faded weeks ago.

But no one told Rocco the cat…he never gave up hope.

On September 24, 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. 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.

Screen-Shot-2016-09-27-At-2-52-19-Pm“Happy owners!” the fire service, Vigili del Fuoco, tweeted.

Screen-Shot-2016-09-27-At-2-56-41-PmVeterinarian Cristiana Graziani, who was on hand to treat Rocco after the rescue, said that the cat seemed in high spirits after his the long ordeal — having energy enough to purr in the arms of his owner.

“An incredible story, but true,” she wrote.

What a lovely story.