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What stinks?! Buyers says Dell’s Latitude laptops emit mysterious cat urine smell

Computer giant says the strange scent is related to a manufacturing process, which it has since fixed.


NEW YORK – A noxious feline odour has some Dell customers caterwauling.

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!”

This week, 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 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 spokesman 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 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.

©The Canadian Press