Natasha (hi, Natasha!) reminded me that I hadn't posted the conclusion to last weekend's thread-eating saga. So, here it is:
When last we spoke, the vet had just advised me to give Malcolm a laxative to get things moving, as it were. Frankly, the idea of a cat laxative made me turn green, so I decided to wait instead.
So I waited.
After a few hours, the piece of thread that had been hanging out disappeared, but didn't appear in the litter box. This was a mystery. Had he pulled it out with his teeth while grooming? Had it been sucked back up by reverse peristalsis? Why was I so obsessed with the functioning of a cat's sphincter?
I waited some more, and kept checking for signs of thread. I had to do it when G wasn't around -- she was already worried enough as it was -- so every time she left the room, I lifted up his tail for a quick peek.
Finally, at 4:30 the following afternoon, I looked in the litter box, and there it was: that stupid red thread. Morbid curiosity made me put on a pair of gloves and disentangle it from what it was, uh, stuck in, and it turned out to be at least a foot and a half long. Not only that, it had been totally unchanged by its passage through the cat; I could have washed it off and used it to sew on a button. (I didn't.) When I went looking for the thread-eater to make sure he was all right, I found him lounging on G's bed, purring and cleaning his paws, totally oblivious to all the drama he'd caused.
I'm not sure if there's a moral to this story, except possibly that you don't always get a prize when you pull a string. :)