Refuse collectors saw the frightened animal escaping from the lorry after they emptied the bin into the vehicle in The Orchard area of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, on November 16.
The cat, described as “brown, fluffy and elderly”, has not been traced.
The Scottish SPCA said it looks as though someone deliberately placed the animal, which was in a white cat carrier, into the bin.
Scottish SPCA inspector Mairi Wright said: “We haven’t been able to locate the cat but I have requests in to view CCTV in the area. The cat is said to be brown, fluffy and elderly.
“The sanitisation workers emptied the bins as normal by 1pm and saw the terrified cat flee from the truck.
“It was reported the cat was inside a white cat carrier inside the bin. It looks like someone has deliberately placed the cat there and they couldn’t get out.
“This would have caused the cat great distress. Intentionally trying to cause harm to, or kill, an animal is a criminal offence and is punishable by law.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the charity’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.