Gizmo is one of the official greeters at Rancho La Puerta, a spa in Tecate, Mexico, affectionately known as “the ranch”.
Deborah Szekely and her late husband, Edmond, started Rancho La Puerta in 1940. Back then, it was very rustic and primitive as they were living in harmony with the surrounding nature. That love of nature continues, and today Rancho La Puerta is ranked as one of the best spa destinations in the world. Rancho La Puerta
It is also a paradise for the stray cats that have wandered in over the years. Gizmo is one of them. As guests stroll around the very large and lovely gardens, Gizmo comes up meowing loudly, saying hello, full of opinions, and wanting to be petted.
Gizmo is one of the approximately 10 ranch cats, including Guero, Little Rat, Ginger, Uma, Missy, and Gracie. Most of them are strays that have found their way there, and the tradition of mousers began.
Mike Bee, a fitness specialist at the ranch for 27 years, found Gizmo as a battered kitten and nurtured him back to health. He then began to feed the other strays.
Another fitness instructor, Denise Dobrzenski, has also been instrumental in rescuing them. For the last ten years, Margie Cooper, a photographer and hydro-fit instructor, has been helping, too.
Each cat has its own spot to rest, play, and hunt. Gizmo and Guero like to hang out near the lounge and concierge office. That is a good vantage point to greet people.
Over the years, various staffers, who live at the ranch, have adopted some of them, so there are now two types of cats, ranch cats and staff cats.
However, all the cats that wander onto the property are rescued, spayed and neutered, checked for health, and then put up for adoption. The staff at the ranch makes sure to take care of them. Even some guests have adopted them and taken them home.
The cats are a favorite of the animal loving guests. Many repeat visitors come back and ask for them. One time, a group of women who were returning asked Margie if “their little cat” was still around.
The ranch cats have their own following and add to the wonderful atmosphere with their own special touch. Just like Gizmo makes you smile with his antics, all the ranch cats make the guests feel welcome in their own furry way.