The cat, named ‘Gioia’ – meaning ‘joy’, had been trapped under the rubble for more than five days following the 6.0-6.2 magnitude quake which struck northern Lazio and Marche at 3.28am last Wednesday.
When the quake hit, Gioia’s owner Daniela fled her home, but she could not find her beloved pet before leaving, as it had hidden itself somewhere in panic.
Unfortunately, Daniela was not able to return to find the missing moggy because her home completely collapsed in a subsequent aftershock.
“Please find her, she’s all I have left,” she asked members of the Italian fire service, as they searched the ruins of her home. But after spending almost six days trapped under the rubble, the chances of Gioia being found alive were slim.
But amazingly, as the rescue services dug through the rubble with a bulldozer, one worker spotted the traumatized cat, who was still alive and could finally be freed.
Gioia was then carried into the street where she was given some water. A video of the operation can be seen below.
“Vets have examined the cat, who is dehydrated, but she will survive,” Italy’s animal protection agency, ENPA, said in a statement.
So far more than 200 animals have been rescued from collapsed buildings across the affected area.