Rita and Runt is a segment of Animaniacs that lasted during the first season of the show, centring around the adventures of two independent strays, Rita the Cat (voiced by Bernadette Peters) and Runt the Dog (voiced by Frank Welker). The segment was dropped after the first season.
Rita and Runt, the vagabond stray cat and dog duo have many big adventures. Despite having a desire to find a nice permanent new home, the two manage to live quite comfortably by offering each other a close unbreakable friendship in defending one another for protection and giving moral support.
- When Rita Met Runt (Episode 7, Prologue)
- Les Miseranimals (Episode 11)
- The Cat and the Fiddle (Episode 17)
- Home on De-Nile (Episode 25)
- Phranken-Runt (Episode 29)
- Puttin' on the Blitz (Episode 31)
- Smitten with Kittens (Episode 39)
- Of Nice and Men (Episode 43)
- Kiki's Kitten (Episode 44)
- Icebreakers (Episode 48)
- Up a Tree (Episode 57)
- Witch One (Episode 62)
- Mace Ventura Pet Hunter (#15)
- The Lunch Boat (#42)
- This segment was dropped after the first season because it became too difficult to create a new song for Rita to sing in each episode, and keeping Bernadette Peters on the payroll became too expensive. Her costar Frank Welker, however, remained a series regular, as he voiced multiple characters in addition to Runt. Although the sketch was discontinued, Rita and Runt would occasionally appear as non-speaking cameos or run-through in the show. Peters and Welker reunited once again as Rita and Runt (now minor characters) for the film Wakko's Wish.
- Their story is similar to that of George and Lennie from John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men. Runt and Lennie share their lack of intelligence, while Rita resembles George's shrewd personality, as well as his responsibility to care for his mentally challenged friend. In both stories the characters travel from place to place, searching for a better life. In George and Lennie's case it's a farm of their own, while Rita and Runt are looking for a home, usually somewhere in California. The episodes Of Nice and Men is a direct parody of the novella, indicating some level of resemblance was intentional.
- Even after the segment was dropped, Rita still received a mention in the series' intro. Unlike Pinky and Brain, who stopped getting a mention after getting their own spin off show.