The desire to own a pet is a near-universal human impulse. Sometimes the satisfaction of owning an animal comes from caring for something; at other times, it comes from being cared for by your pet. And occasionally, it’s just nice to spend time with anything that isn’t human.
But caring for a pet is also hard. There are the practical issues—for apartment-dwelling, 20-somethings, many dog breeds are out of the question. Then there’s the massive time and energy commitment that is hard to reconcile with a conventional 9-to-5 work schedule.
One major and particularly heartbreaking obstacle that prospective pet owners face are allergies. And this isn’t just a problem if it’s your own animal—it can make living with cat or dog-owners impossible. (Or at least, very uncomfortable.) If you’re someone prone to allergies and still want an allergen-producing pet or you’re constantly in the presence of an allergen-producing animal for any other reason, you have a couple of options. A HEPA filter—which stands for “high-efficiency particulate air”—can help trap animal dander, decreasing their allergic potential. Another option is immunotherapy, or allergy shots, that have been shown to eliminate animal allergies in the majority of patients who opt for this treatment.
But thankfully, there are also quite a few animals that are hypo-allergenic—in other words, animals that are unlikely to trigger symptoms in the majority of those with allergies. There are even some cat and dog breeds that fit into this category. In our opinion, these are the best hypoallergenic pets.
This one’s pretty straightforward: a fish’s scales do not produce dander, which means they’re one of the only bona fide nonallergenic pets. But the species’ ability to relate to their human caretakers is severely limited. And while some research suggests that fish actually can identify human faces you still can’t, you know, cuddle with them.