Lady Cai was the older sister of Cai Mao, a military general serving under Liu Biao. Liu Biao had two sons, Liu Qi and Liu Cong, both born to his first wife. As her niece married Liu Cong, Lady Cai favoured Liu Cong and she often praised Liu Cong and slandered Liu Qi in front of Liu Biao. After Liu Biao's death, she collaborated with Cai Mao to make Liu Cong the successor instead of Liu Qi.
In Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Lady Cai was the mother of Liu Cong. She disliked Liu Qi and collaborated with Cai Mao and others to harm Liu Qi. Liu Qi followed Zhuge Liang's suggestion to escape from Xiangyang and station at Jiangxia.
Liu Biao was succeeded by Liu Cong after his death. When the warlord Cao Cao invaded Jing Province, Liu Cong surrendered and was relocated to northern China. Liu Cong and his mother were killed by Cao's men during their journey to the north.