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Compu-Triage: Help! My cat is a jerk!

Liquid Spills on Laptop

Finally, time to relax! The house is quiet. You pour yourself a tall glass full of freshly squeezed orange juice and sit down with your laptop at the kitchen counter to watch animated gifs of cats missing jumps.

“Mrowr,” Socks whines. Socks is always whining. Perhaps Socks doesn’t appreciate your watching his brethren embarrass themselves on the internet. You go to Google, “How to get cat to stop whining?” As the search is loading, Socks – that rat bastard – leaps onto the kitchen table where he knows FULL WELL he is not welcome. Anticipating your frustrated armsweep, he dodges and leaps across your laptop, knocking your orange juice into your keyboard, then scrabbling away across the linoleum.



Turn power off.

Liquid + electricity = no thank you. You might want to check if the laptop is still functional. I get it, but let’s not court disaster.

Remove power cable and battery.

You are doing everything possible to avoid sparks and corrosion. Good for you! If your computer was conscious, it would thank you.

Remove any removeables – mouse, external speakers, etc.

Anything you’ve got plugged into USB ports, get it out. This is the emergency room, they can return for visiting hours after you’ve gotten the liquid spill cleaned up.

Open the laptop as much as you can, and place it upside down.

“Put it in the sun,” people have told me. “Put it in a sack of rice!” These people are well intentioned, but these measures will not save your laptop. That pernicious liquid remains just below the keyboard, corroding the motherboard. When their computers finally do stop working, which they will, it will be too late to save anything. Don’t be like the rabble, with their rice and their hairdryers. You have your laptop draining as much as you can. Now you need to locate your closest computer repair shop.

Get thee to a repair shop.

Your technician will open your computer, clean all the sugary-acidic liquid from inside it, and test all components to determine which, if any, have been affected by Socks’ malfeasance.

And for the love of Socks:

Do not turn the laptop on until the liquid has been cleaned from the inside of the machine. Orange juice, coffee, soda – these, among many other delicious beverages, are acidic. If you leave your laptop simmering in their juices, your system board will become so corroded that any damage will be irreparable.

Act quickly and calmly to save what you can. And consider keeping your laptop off the kitchen counter from now on.




Further Prevention:

Stick this on your keyboard so that those pernicious droplets of Cabernet can’t seep into your laptop and fry your motherboard.


Make sure you have a waterproof laptop bag for those surprise unseasonable downpours.



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