Cats are the perfect embodiment of relaxation. Sure, they can get a little wild (the shredded couches of the world can attest to that) but between snoozing, cuddling and reclining on a warm lap, cats have mastered the fine art of chilling. For us humans, though, things have to be a little more intentional.

“I work at home and so often I need to find time that’s specifically carved out to not work because it’s very easy to just let that bleed into every minute of every day,” says writer, See Also podcast host and copywriting consultant Brodie Lancaster.

For the past three and a half years, Lancaster has been joined in work and rest by her adopted senior cat and partner in crime, Carol. “Carol’s just a little star,” Lancaster says. “People say, ‘Oh my god, she’s got one blue eye and one green eye.’ I’m like, ‘yeah, she’s Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush, she’s a star.’”

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Like a live-in life coach, Carol provides Lancaster with the necessary nudge to take some time out from her busy at-home work schedule. “She’s a nice little reminder to sit still because when your cat gets comfortable, you don’t really want to make any sudden movements or busy yourself,” Lancaster says. “When she’s in a comfy spot, and if I’m in a comfy spot, I’m much more inclined to stay there and not really worry about all the productive things I’m not doing.”

While catching up with friends or heading to the movies are typical off-the-clock activities, they don’t quite get to the high level of relaxation that Lancaster needs after a heavy week. A night in with Carol, she says, is the best way to switch off and get a little self-pampering in. “Any time that I have a free window where I can read a book, do a face mask, cook an elaborate dinner, do a jigsaw puzzle, watch an entire season of Southern Charm in one day – that’s my ultimate way to relax,” she says.

Carol may not be an active participant in all these activities, but she helps in her own way. Sometimes she’ll be eating her own meal – perhaps Dine’s Pulled Menu with Chicken – while watching closely as Lancaster tackles her latest cooking obsession.

“I really love cooking Korean food,” she says. “I just got one of those little clay pots for the stove and was making a really gurgly tofu and kimchi stew. And any time I’m doing something busy and practical on the counter like rolling pasta or wrapping dumplings, Carol gets herself up on the table and watches. She loves to watch.”

And, while Carol obviously has her own meal to attend to, the two know how to share. “She does get a little bite off my plate,” Lancaster says. “Chicken or anything that’s not too spicy or seasoned, obviously.”

It’s fair to say that, where Lancaster finds an activity peaceful and relaxing, Carol more often finds mischief. “I’ve done a couple of 3000-piece [jigsaws] recently,” she says. “They take up the whole kitchen table and take ages to do and so when I go to bed at night, I have to put stuff over them, otherwise I’ll be laying in bed and I’ll hear a piece clatter to the floor and I have to get up and get mad at Carol and hunt the piece down.”

Even quietly reading a book seems to signal an invitation for Carol to get involved. “I just read Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld which is, like, 500 pages or something, so she really loved that because it was a big, hefty spine to gnaw on,” Lancaster says.

Despite the cheekiness, any night or day spent relaxing together is clearly just as enjoyable and beneficial for Carol as it is for Lancaster. “She’s so needy,” Lancaster says. “If she could have her way, she would be sitting on me and touching me at all times of the day.”

Watch: Behind the Scenes With Melbourne Artist Beci Orpin and Her Cat Chip

Creative practitioner Beci Orpin couldn't work without her cat Chip by her side. We visit them at home to see how Chip helps Orpin find inspiration in her work, while leaning into her playful side, and find out how they both unwind at the end of the day.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Dine.