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.