A questionnaire, based on 14 years' private practice experience and psychological principles, was compiled to establish the reasons why veterinary clients are involved with their pets. Questionnaires were sent to South African veterinarians country-wide and only clients visiting veterinarians were requested to complete the questionnaires anonymously. Questionnaires (n = 612) were returned and the data was processed by computer. The results indicated that clients are involved with their companion animals for emotional, social and relaxational reasons, which all have psychological implications. They are, however, also involved with their animals by caring for them, and they keep them for utility or economical reasons and also due to their general interest in nature. The latter reasons could be seen as natural reasons for keeping pets. The same relationship between clients and their pets continue during veterinary consultations. Because of this continuing involvement, some clients may consult veterinarians mainly for psychological reasons and others mainly for clinical reasons. There is a constant interaction between these motivations for veterinary consultations. Client consultations of veterinarians could thus be categorised into psychological consultations which are predominantly human/client orientated and clinical consultations which are predominantly animal/patient orientated.