I woke up this morning, and tried to decide how my potential cold was doing, and whether the fact that my feet were cold was an ominous symptom or just down to the fact that they were poking out of the end of the duvet. There are some nasty things about. A friend I was hoping to see at yesterday's carol concert never made it because she spent the day in bed feeling extremely cold and rather dizzy. The Systems Administrator let Our Ginger into the bedroom, as he was howling in the corridor, and then went off for a shower leaving me with Our Ginger lying on my chest and roaring. Then I spoilt it for everybody by letting in Mr Fidget, who was squeaking very loudly outside the door, followed by Mr Fluffy. They ran about the room and then bounced on the bed, while Our Ginger sulked at having his special private time interrupted, refused to sit on my chest any more and stopped purring.
I became suspicious when the Systems Administrator went downstairs and Mr Fidget did not follow for his breakfast but remained sitting on the sheepskin rug by my side of the bed. Normally Mr Fidget is off like a rocket at the prospect of food, and he was not so much sitting as crouching. With deep foreboding I shifted Mr Fidget aside to discover a copious pool of pee in the middle of the rug.
I can't really blame him for not understanding that he was not supposed to pee on the rug. When he used to live in the study he was supposed to pee in a large seed tray of vermiculite. He has only been allowed in the bedroom a handful of times, and the difference between two inch pile wool and vermiculite is not so very great. They are both white and absorbent and able to hide what you've done, the rug and the litter tray about the same size, both towards the corner of the room concealed by furniture. Only I wish Mr Fidget would not be so feral. Mr Cool doesn't seem to have any difficulties working these things out.
It was no good lying in bed considering my cold next to a pool of cat pee while it worked its way through to the carpet. Fortunately the skin side of the rug is fairly waterproof and I was able to bundle up the rug and tip its contents down the sink without it dripping everywhere. Probably the loo would have been better but I didn't have that long to think about it, and anyway the rug needed rinsing pronto and I left it soaking while I had breakfast, after which I had the unenviable task of washing it. I'd been thinking about doing that for a bit, since it was getting grubby from my filthy gardeners' feet walking over it each night, but in an ideal world I'd have brushed it first, and it would not have been impregnated with cat pee.
My advice would be not to end up in a situation where you have to hand launder a sheepskin. It takes ages, and the wool curls once wet and traps any solid lumps of dirt that might have been in there before you started. Obviously people with perfectly clean and tidy houses and no pets, who do not come in from the garden with bits of the garden sticking to them or if they do have a shower before going to bed, will not have bits of twig, leaf, Strulch, grass seeds and compost fragments in their bedside rug. Gardeners, people with workshops, hewers of wood and drawers of water, will know that in our grubby and hobby based worlds of earth stuff does get trodden in, and some of it makes it beyond the turtle mats in the hall.
Now the sheepskin is drying in the laundry. It smells fine, no trace of cat pee and not especially of wet sheep, but the wool has stuck together in punk tufts. Whether I can restore the fluffiness of yore remains to be seen.
Once I'd finished laundering the sheepskin I decided my cold wasn't too bad, and went and turned the contents of the next compost bin. I did not find any rats.