Good artists have good pets. Dalí had an ocelot named Babou, which he’d bring to restaurants and art galleries. Frida Kahlo often included her pet monkeys in her self-portraits. Picasso’s dachshund, Lump, also appeared in many of his works. Da Vinci had a dog, a cat and birds, according to some Renaissance records. Charles Dickens had a raven; Lord Byron had a bear. Andy Warhol lived with 25 cats (24 were named Sam).

Michelle Law has Bean.

Bean is an eight-year-old tabby the multi-hyphenate creative rescued from a shelter when he was two. While Law is busy writing online and for print, acting on stage and on television, speaking at festivals and on panels, and winning multiple prestigious awards that would make any artist envious, Bean is busy being Bean.

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“He’s really sassy, he’s got a lot of personality,” Law says. “You can see there’s something going on behind those eyes. He’s not like other cats, where they sort of just exist around you. Bean, he’s got something on his mind – whether it’s affection or pure evil.”

Bean is “nuts, in a good way”, and in the world of the artist — or any modern human for that matter — finding the balance between work and rest can be a challenge, so having a nuts cat can really help with staying grounded and present. We sat down with Law to find out more about how Bean inspires her art and helps her make every night a special occasion.

A muse in whiskers

In the delicate dance of work and rest, Bean’s presence reminds Law not to sweat the small stuff. “I think work, when you’re a writer, or an artist, is all-consuming and you can sort of forget to come up for air,” she says. “Cats are really present creatures, and when they need something from you, they let you know. So it’s good to just have that energy in the house to remind you to stay in the present.”

Bean isn’t just a source of zen, he’s a source of inspiration too. “I’ve definitely written about him in different projects,” says Law. “I’ve written about him in a book that I wrote called Asian Girls are Going Places, and he’s featured in illustrations in that … Writing is a very lonely vocation and cats, they’re just a really gentle presence to have around that isn’t imposing — it’s just nice company.”

Evening rituals and the art of unwinding

When work is done Bean loves to nap, roll around or get sucked into the allure of the screen – hey, it happens to the best of us.

“He loves watching TV,” Law says. “If something’s got an action scene where there’s a lot of movement, he’s into that, or sometimes I’ll put on a cat Youtube channel, which is basically an hour and a half of squirrels and birds.

“He tunes in and tunes out … A lot of the time he’s really just happy chilling out next to me and my partner as we watch TV because it’s nice and cosy.”

And while TV depends on Bean’s mood, cleanliness is a nightly ritual. “He’s really tidy,” Law says. “A lot of cats get a bit lazy about that kind of stuff, and they’re not very particular about things, but he’s pretty good. He also really loves getting groomed. So I’ll groom him and take off his collar, and he’ll just roll around on the rugs for minutes because he’s just the king of rolling.”

Making every meal special

Bean and Michelle usually eat at the same time, although sometimes Bean’s impatience means he’ll eat first. His curiosity can also be a fun hindrance. “A lot of the time he’ll try to watch or interfere with dinner prep,” Law laughs.

Dinner is served in the form of high quality wet food, which is the only kind he can have due to kidney problems. “Bean’s a huge gravy fan and Dine makes really great gravy ranges. Bean is always a big fan of new flavours, and anything I can use to entice him to eat his other food as well is perfect.”

Bean “loves tuna-flavoured things”, so he’s partial to Dine’s Gravy Indulgence with Tuna. The range also features flavours like pulled chicken and pulled salmon.

The quiet hours

The time post-dinner and pre-bed is sacred. It’s reserved for rest, relaxation and, when the moment strikes, inspiration. For Law and Bean, it’s also a chance for their bond to flourish – and for Bean to be his weird self.

“He likes to roll on the dining table – one time he rolled off onto a dining chair and then flipped the chair. And he just freaked out, and then just acted really embarrassed,” she laughs. “So he’ll have a good roll after dinnertime.”

When he’s not rolling, he’s stalking. “He’ll just go from room to room following us and just seeing what we’re doing. When I’m having a shower after dinner, he’ll just sit on the bath mat and yell at me,” she says.

“At bedtime we’ll just chill. I’ll read in bed and he’ll climb up and sleep between my legs and keep me warm.”

A reminder to have fun

It can be easy to fall into routine and let the days become weeks, which turn to months in the blink of an eye. With the frantic pace of life as an artist (and in media), making every night a special occasion in its own way can come from the smallest of joys.

“Sometimes he’ll play fetch with treats,” Law shares. “Obviously he won’t bring them back, because he’ll be chomping them. He loves cat grass as well, so I use that as a garnish on the top of his meal if he’s feeling special. Sometimes when I’m making my dinner and his dinner, I’ll put some music on — he likes classical, but he’s pretty happy to listen to whatever.

“He’s just a sweet little guy.”

Watch: In the Studio With Sydney Fashion Designer Alix Higgins and His Cat Miu Miu

Designer Alix Higgins couldn't work without his cat (and mascot) by his side. We asked Higgins how Miu Miu helps with the creative process and encourages downtime at the end of the day.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Dine, Make Every Night Caturday Night