Cat pee smell has laptop owners hissing

2013-10-31 22:46
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - A noxious feline odour has some Dell customers hissing.

People who own Dell Latitude 6430u laptops are complaining that their pricey new computers are emitting a smell similar to cat urine. Some of them said on the company's online customer forums that the odour seems to be coming from the keyboard or palm rest.

The Round Rock, Texas, company originally advised buyers through its forums to try cleaning their keyboards with a soft cloth or compressed air, but the smell persisted.

"The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box," wrote a customer using the handle "three west" on a Dell forum back in June. "It is truly awful!"

On Wednesday, another customer writing under the handle "passflips" said he felt terrible for repeatedly scolding his cat Jerry, because he thought the elderly cat kept spraying the computer. The poster also said he wasted money on veterinarian bills in an attempt to determine whether his cat had a medical problem.

Dell said on Thursday that its investigation revealed strange scent is related to a manufacturing process, which the company has since fixed. But if your portable PC isn't "purrfect", Dell recommends contacting the company's technical support team to have your laptop's palm rest assembly replaced.

Company spokesperson David Frink said the odour isn't related to a "biological contamination" and doesn't present a health hazard. He added that newly-assembled laptops that are currently in stores aren't affected.

The laptops in question are ultrabooks designed for business use. The base model starts at $900 on Dell's website, but Dell charges close to $1 300 for higher-end versions that include Windows 8 and Intel Core i5 processors.

While laptop users may find the smell of cat urine offensive, "cat's pee" is a term sometimes used by wine lovers to describe a wine's aroma.

And while the smell coming from the Dell computers is apparently unintentional, more than one group of engineers is working on "Smell-o-Vision" TV to engage viewers' olfactory senses.

In addition, a host of recent smartphone add-ons make scents, too, including the Scentee, a Japanese smartphone attachment that plugs into a phone's earphone jack and dispenses scented vapors through dedicated cartridges.

Read more on:    dell  |  us  |  computing

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.