Why is it safer to towel dry a cat rather than using a hairdryer?
There are two primary concerns involved in drying a cat after a bath: the psychological impact of the action on an already stressed animal, and the degree to which the drying method increases the likelihood of matting.
Even cats that have been acclimated to routine bathing from kittenhood are not thrilled by the process. It’s always best practice to keep one hand on a cat during bathing, because their instinct tells them to get away. Even the quietest hairdryer is going to introduce an annoying and frightening sound into an already tense situation, either stressing the cat for no good reason or causing it to become aggressive.
Additionally, the heat generated from the hairdryer, even on a low setting, can dry out and irritate the cat’s skin. If there is any existing skin irritation, the air from the dryer may even burn the animal. As for your own safety, you would be working with an electrical appliance in a small room with a mad cat and lots of splashed water all over the place. The wisdom is questionable at best.
A towel is the safest method because it allows mild restraint of the cat, and if used to blot, not scrub at the cat’s coat, it will facilitate drying. The blotting action also prevents matting of the wet hair. If the cat will allow you to do so, you can gently comb its coat as the hair is drying, which will further lessen matting, but let the cat’s mood dictate that decision. If the cathas had enough, leave him alone beyond making sure he can stay warm.