Feline herpesvirus 1 (FeHV-1) is an alphaherpesvirus that causes feline viral rhinotracheitis, an important viral disease of cats on a worldwide basis. Acute FeHV-1 infection is associated with both upper respiratory and ocular signs. Following the acute phase of the disease lifelong latency is established, primarily in sensory neuronal cells. As is the case with human herpes simplex viruses, latency reactivation can result in recrudescence, which can manifest itself in the form of serious ocular lesions. FeHV-1 infection in cats is a natural host model that is useful for the identification of viral virulence genes that play a role in replication at the mucosal portals of entry or are mediators of the establishment, maintenance, or reactivation of latency. It is also a model system for defining innate and adaptive immunity mechanisms and for immunization strategies that can lead to better protection against this and other alphaherpesvirus infections.