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Purr-lease: I wouldn’t hurt a fly — let alone a lizard

MEET the chilled-out cat that spends its days cuddling 12 scaly housemates — four tortoises and eight lizards.

Olive, ten, has grown up around exotic bearded dragons and doesn’t bat an eyelid when they come out to play.

Owner Ali Kirkpatrick, 51, says Olive was born without the natural feline instincts to pounce and prefers living in harmony with Lenny, Pixie, Ellie-Mae, Penny, Rango, Cosset, Emmet and Nugget.

The relaxed cat also shares an abode with red foot tortoises Mango and Clementine, Russian tortoises Sadie and Smoky, birds Baloo and Bijou and dachshund Sherman, six.

Olive loves nothing more than cuddling up beneath a heat lamp with male dragon Lenny and rubs against his rough exterior to groom and scratch.

Ali, of Wellington, Ohio, USA, says she was reluctant to introduce Olive to her late dragon Luigi back in 2008, but soon realised it was a match made in heaven.

Ali said: ‘Luigi was a rescue and I really loved him. Around the same time, I got a kitten named Olive.

‘I was concerned about them being together so I kept them separate for a long time. But Olive was a really mellow cat, nothing spooked her.

‘One day we had a mouse in our house and Olive just sat there watching it. She didn’t even move to catch it, which is when I first thought she might be okay around Luigi.

‘When I first introduced them, Olive sized up Luigi but quickly realised how tough his exterior was and she began to use his scales to scratch her face.

‘She is really drawn to them. Now I have eight bearded dragons and four tortoises.

‘Most people are really amazed by Olive and how calm she is with the dragons. She loves laying with them. She particularly loves Lenny.

Firm friends: Olive with a scaly housemate PICTURES: SWNS

‘I have a heat lamp for the dragons so I guess Olive loves being near them as well because it means warmth for her.

‘Some of the dragons were a bit apprehensive of Olive when they were babies but they’ve come to realise that she’s just a piece of the furniture now.

‘I also have two birds, Olive just watches them eat. She’s definitely not a normal cat.’

Lizard-lover Ali, an emergency medicine technician, has kitted out her house to accommodate her passion, building a reptile-friendly outdoor enclosure and engineering a ‘Turtle Room’ in her home.

But her husband sheriff deputy James Kirkpatrick, 47, son Stephen, 29, and stepson Evan, 16, are not quite so enthusiastic about the reptiles.

Ali’s austistic son Kyle, 26, however, has inherited his mom’s love of animals.

‘My husband is very supportive but he doesn’t exactly share my passion. He helped me build my enclosures though so he is the strength behind me,’ she said.

‘My son Kyle, he has autism and the animals have been really great for him to express himself.

‘He talks to the animals, particularly the birds and it has given him a sense of purpose. My other son calls me the crazy turtle lady — in jest of course.’

The mum-of-three documents Olive’s relationship with her housemates on Instagram, but admits some of the comments haven’t been so positive.

‘Of course, people have told me I am putting the dragons in danger but I know Olive inside out.

‘Of course, you shouldn’t usually put your cat with your reptiles, but Olive is so mellow. They love each other’s company.’

To follow Ali on Instagram visit instagram.com/alisanimalhouse