I have been looking online for discussions about which scents smell like cat pee, and which ingredients are the trigger. It's perplexing: various writers attribute it to different perfumes, and to different ingredients in those perfumes.
The response of perfume lovers to criticism of their favorite scent is an interesting insight into cognitive dissonance.
Many report 'some weird people say it smells like cat pee...well it doesn't smell like that on me!' In spite of folk wisdom that 'a fart has no nose'. Some - many? - attribute liking the scent to having a more educated and discerning nose.
Perfume does smell different on different people, but if someone told me my perfume smelled bad, I'd seek further feedback. In the perfume industry, it's believed that 'great' perfumes tend to be the ones that are most divisive: you either love or loathe them. Even a panel of perfume-istas won't agree on which perfumes belong on which list. Hence the same perfumes often appear on both best and worst perfume lists.
Several fans responded smugly by saying, 'I'm lucky, it smells good on me.' This may be followed by 'I'm one of the ones it chose ton reveal itself to.' Wow, I must be special because this cat pee smells great on me (to me at least). Buffy eat your heart out.
There is something in this. Body chemistry varies, and this affects the volatile ingredients in perfume. Which is why you should never buy without trying just because a perfume smells good on someone else. Still,'other people hate my perfume but I know it smells good and they are just ignorant' is a risky interpersonal decision.
One writer even complained that she was banned from wearing any perfume at work because 'this one time' she put on a bit too much of one quite heavy perfume. Thinking of my many and several work places, I am awed by the amount of built up angst that would be necessary before a ban would be proposed let alone enforced... Yeah, sure it was just this one time...
To complete the case study of humanity in action, several perfume lovers reveal that they 'punish' people who don't like their perfume by wearing even more of it. Or wearing another perfume that even they have reservations about. I'm sure that helps.
Perfume is emotional. Smell is directly connected to our limbic system in our brains, which process emotion and bypass logical processes.'You stink' is a powerful insult to hurl at anyone. The identification many people have with their signature fragrance means that even a careful 'it's not you, it's your cologne' will not erase offense.
For a minority of people, estimated to be between 5-20%, mild chemical sensitivity means they can get headache, asthsma or migraine just from being exposed to strong smells. Which just shows how variable people are.
Both sides of the debate remain convinced of their olfactory superiority (perfume lovers and haters), that there is a 'right' and a 'wrong' in the pong debate.