The Scottish SPCA is appealing for help finding whoever left the young cat in the bin outside a care home in Paisley.
Animal welfare workers were called to rescue the young cat, who has been named Belle, after she was discovered by a member of staff at the Westerfield Care Centre in High Calside.
SSPCA rescue officer Joanna Boyle collected the white-and-tortoiseshell female from the home and took her to the charity's rescue and rehoming centre in Cardonald, where she is now being looked after.
Officer Boyle said: "Whoever did this to Belle didn't care whether she lived or died.
"They were, quite literally, throwing her away like a piece of rubbish, which is not only horrendously cruel but also an offence.
"We're very keen to speak to anyone who recognises Belle and knows who might have owned her."
Belle was found about 1.30pm on Monday.
Vets said she is less than a year old, underweight, and had suffered cuts to both back legs.
Officer Boyle added: "Belle has been caused a great deal of distress and she's very lucky to have survived this cruel and callous abandonment.
"The care assistant who found her was putting rubbish from the care home into the bin when she heard cries from inside.
"After such a terrifying ordeal Belle is understandably timid and skittish. However, she is happy to be picked up and stroked, so we think she must have been someone's pet."
Anyone with information is being asked to contact the SSPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.