The confined cat's head was caught in the drainage hole of a communal bin when Susan Burney heard him meowing in Walsall on Monday.
At first Ms Burney thought it was the sound of a hungry cat wanting feeding, but she soon spotted the upset animal in Glebe Street.
"I could see the kitten's head was stuck in the hole. So I had to call the fire brigade who were fantastic and eventually they got it out," Ms Burney said.
"It must have been there for at least two days and it was taken to the RSPCA. It was a beautiful little thing."
Fire crews cut either side of the drainage hole with a blade before bending the steel of the bin back to free the kitten, explained animal collection officer Cara Gibbon.
The RSPCA worker said rubbish had piled up on top of the kitten, now named Dusty, who was clearly distressed.
"I can only assume that there was some food in there which he could smell, which led to him getting trapped like this," Ms Gibbon added.
"The fire service were absolutely fantastic and they managed to free him very quickly.
"Thankfully he was not injured. He wasn't wearing a collar and isn't microchipped so we believe he was a stray.
"We have named him Dusty and he is now being looked after at our animal centre in Birmingham."
The RSPCA is now urging people to make sure bin lids are properly closed to avoid this happening in future.
Ms Gibbon added: "If there is food in a bin and a cat can get in there, then there is a chance that it will - so please make sure your outside bins are secure.
"We'd also like to remind people to contact the RSPCA in the first instance rather than trying to rescue the animal yourself.
"Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day and can be reached by calling 0300 1234 999."