About halfway through the path between Monterosso and Vernazza there was a rest area with a picnic table. Bowls and plastic bins littered the area, which saddened me that people would litter in this beautiful and fragile area. On the table there was movement and in the shade of the trees I noticed a cat dozing.
Above it there was a sign that explained that the cats in the area were homeless and unloved, and to please use the bins of food nearby to feed the cats.
How can your heart not melt for them with a story like that?
There were plenty of bowls with food in them nearby, evidence that hikers had already passed by here recently, most likely ones that I had passed on the way here. I gave the cat an affectionate scratch behind the ears for a couple of minutes and then continued on my way.