Rita and Runt is a segment that lasted only during the first season of the series. About the adventures of two strays, the feisty cat, Rita (voiced by Bernadette Peters) and the big goofy dog, Runt (voiced by Frank Welker).
Rita (the Cat) and Runt (the Dog) are two stray animals that have big adventures. Ever since their small, begun friendship and how they helped each other escape the fate of being put to sleep in the Pound, they have never stuck to a permanent home that isn’t Runt’s hairdo for Rita. Rita is a "hip for the room", but lovely and clever cat that sings, while Runt is a quite the goofy sort that thinks Rita is another dog like him.
When they try to find a home. It never works out for one or both of them and their soom homeless again. With each adventure, it’s always each other they have by the start and by the end.
- Their like Abbott and Costello,
- Or like Sonny and Cher,
- Like Martin and Lewis,
- Oh, they're a perfect pair!
- Like Laurel and Hardy,
- Like Fontanne and Lunt,
- They're perfectly mismatched!
- They're Rita and Runt!
- 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)
- The segment was dropped after the first season, due to the expense of Bernadette Peters, Rita’s voice actor being part of the cast. Afterworlds, Frank Walker voiced other characters for the rest of the series and the only appearance of Rita and Runt would be non-speaking cameos in segments for other characters. However, they’d occasionally have speaking roles as minor characters, with Bernadette Peters being a special guest actor for the series rather than a regular.
- 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.
- 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.