Drying fur. Damp cloth more absorbent than dry?

Assumption.

Use dry towel to wipe off water. When that towel becomes damp, get another dry towel to use. Do not use a wet towel to dry a wet cat.

The assumption is wrong.

According to answers at the Physics Stack Exchange, damp cloth > dry cloth for water absorption.

“Take a really dry dish cloth and try to wipe up some liquid you spilled on the kitchen counter. It will take up only so much of the liquid.

Then try it with a damp cloth (or a wring out a wet one). It will take up much more of the liquid.

It seems counter-intuitive. Why does a damp cloth absorb more liquid?”

Answers.

“Water breaks hydrogen bonds formed within the fibres. This makes the fibres softer, and the exposed hydroxyl groups make the surface more hydrophilic. It’s the latter process that makes a damp cloth more able to soak up water than a dry cloth.”

Summary.

Water breaks bonds in fibers.

That makes fibers more “water-loving”.

Results in increased absorption.

 

The science of drying cats

How best to minimize drying time?

First, how does “drying” work?

“What exactly is involved in turning wet” cats “into dry ones? In a word, evaporation: turning the liquid water on your” cat “into a vapor (gas)—and then getting rid of it.

“The simplest way of getting rid of liquid water is to turn it into a vapor (broadly speaking, that means a gas produced from a liquid)—and the easiest way to do that is to heat it up.”

Hence, the use of blow dryers or HV dryers. HV dryers may not have heating elements, but after several minutes of use, the air warms up.

“Heat it enough and all the molecules will eventually evaporate—in theory, at least—leaving you with no liquid at all.”

“If you want them to dry properly, the water they contain doesn’t just need to turn to a vapor; it has to be completely removed from the air around them. If water vapor lingers near your” cats, “it’ll not only hinder more liquid water from escaping, but some of the molecules in the vapor will also reenter your” cat “and turn back into liquid, wetting them again!”

Hence the use of towels to blot the cat and and catch water molecules blown off your cat’s coat.

Required to efficiently dry a cat.

  1. A blow dryer
  2. Towels
  3. A non-humid room

Source:

*Paraphrased and replaced “clothes” with “cats” from Woodford, Chris. (2010/2017) Clothes dryers.

 

Drying and trimming claws Maine Coon cat

Bundle cat in a large, thick towel. Bath towels of good quality work best. You can use two towels if cat is irritable.
Bundle cat in a large, thick towel. Bath towels of good quality work best. You can use two towels if cat is irritable. This is a lovely, large cat who is sweet-natured, but due to hip sensitivity, can be irritable during grooming. He has swatted at me a few times, but I don’t take it personally. He’s just saying, “Be careful lady!” I have to always be aware of his hips to make sure that I don’t cause the big guy discomfort.
After bathing, I towel dry for several minutes, using one towel, then switching to another dry towel. Then I comb the head and neck. Most cats enjoy being combed there.
After bathing, I towel dry for several minutes, using one towel, then switching to another dry towel. Then I comb the head and neck. Most cats enjoy being combed there.
If I haven't already trimmed the claws, I pull out one paw at a time to trim them. In this situation, the cat is on the bathroom floor. I am sitting behind the cat, hovering over the cat.
If I haven’t already trimmed the claws, I pull out one paw at a time to trim them. In this photo, we are on the bathroom floor. The cat is on my lap. This is his rear paw. I am holding his upper body in my arms, close against me. Some cats seem to prefer being held close against my body instead of being on a table.
Now the cat has been towel dried. I am ready to blow dry. If the cat is jittery about blow drying, I keep his front area wrapped securely in the towel. I blow dry his rear. Then I stroke his face to calm him. Lastly, I blow dry his front area. In the photo, he is leaning against my leg, snuggling my foot.
Now the cat has been towel dried. I am ready to blow dry and de-shed. If the cat is jittery about blow drying, I keep his front area wrapped securely in the towel. I blow dry his rear. Then I stroke his face to calm him. Lastly, I blow dry his front area. In the photo, he is leaning against my leg, snuggling his face into my foot. Tickles!  You can see that even though he is well-cared for and often groomed, his coat does have shedded fur clumped in with fur that’s still attached. If he weren’t groomed monthly, he would develop mats and be carrying around a coat that is weighed down with shedded fur. Shedded fur keep air from circulating to the skin.  It’s just plain uncomfortable to be wearing a thick blanket of excess fur. I develop a lot of affection for the cats I groom, so I like to see them thriving and at ease in their body.

“Can cat hair get into my lungs?”

How would cat fur bypass the body’s protective mechanisms?

Cilia

Mucus

Various tubes of decreasing size

“The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.”

Particulate Matter/Air &Radiation US EPA

Is fur 10 micrometers or less? No. If fur is pulverized into dust, then perhaps it could enter the lungs. Groomers inhale particles, but are the particles small enough and in high enough volume to cause lung problems later in life? That I don’t know. Since high-velocity dryers are currently a standard grooming salon tool, I would guess that more particles are being blown around nowadays. In earlier years, a “stand dryer” or a human-style blow dryer was used to dry pets.

What I do know is that you will not see a furry lung if you autopsy a groomer.

“Since the late 1970’s, we only monitored particulate matter pollution that was 10 microns in diameter or less, called PM 10. A micron (or micrometer) is a millionth of a meter. To give you an idea of how small PM 10 is, the dot above the letter “i” in a typical newspaper measures about 400 microns!”  From Hamilton County Environmental Services website. Good site!

Note: Micron = micrometer = millionth part of a meter.  A meter is 39.37 inches. PM = Particulate Matter.

“PM is the term used for solid or liquid particles emitted to the air. Some particles are large enough to be seen, and others are so small they can only be detected with an electron microscope.”

Relevant article from NAILS Magazine: “If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Inhale It.” Take home message: “Particles that are small enough to remain airborne and possibly be inhaled are not visible to the naked eye. In other words, says Will Forest, associate toxicologist for the Hazard Evaluation System Information Service of the California Department of Health Services, “If you can see it, you can’t inhale it.”

Micrometer

So your long-haired cat needs to be groomed. Here’s what you need to buy.

I groom these two sweet-natured beauties once a month. (Jump to the middle of this post for links to grooming tools.) Even if your long-haired cat is another breed or a mix, you can use similar tools. If you are going to be grooming your cat monthly, it’s worth buying the tools and products. Grooming is a recurring part of the life of a long-haired cat. (If it’s not, it should be, because ungroomed cats lug around a lot of shedded fur and are coated with too much body oil.)

Chirp & Bambi’s owner is a responsible person who makes sure that her cats get the care they need to stay healthy, comfortable and happy. She combs them frequently, so that when I visit, I don’t have to subject them to intense de-matting. Lucky cats!

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Tools and products:
Four Paws Tearless Cat Grooming Shampoo, 12oz

Groomers Goop Creme For Oily Coats

Four Paws Cat Grooming Claw Clipper

Wahl 41870-0423 Bravura Lithium Purple Professional Cord/Cordless Pet Clipper Kit by Wahl Professional Animal

TINY TRIM ball tipped small pet grooming scissor 4.5″ EAR NOSE FACE PAW

Andis Pet 7-1/2-Inch Steel Comb (65730)

Li’l Pals Slicker Purple and Green Brush for Dogs, Extra Small

Safari Cat Shedding Comb, Wood Handle

The Wet Hair Brush, Metallic Purple

Oster Hi-Velocity Adjustable Table and Cage Dryer

The set up for home grooming
The set up for home grooming