The Little Orphan is a 1949 Tom and Jerry cartoon.
The cartoon starts with Jerry reading a book whilst taking cheese from a mousetrap. Nibbles arrives and passes Jerry, before trying to take all the cheese from the trap. Jerry saves Nibbles in time. Jerry has been asked to take care of Nibbles over the Thanksgiving holiday. However, Nibbles is, as the note pinned to his scarf says, "always hungry." Jerry attempts to feed the little mouse with his own food, but his cupboards are empty. Quietly, he leads Nibbles out of the mousehole, and sneaks into the living room, where Tom is sleeping beside a bowl of cream. Jerry allows Nibbles to drink the cream from the bowl, before spotting a turkey. Mammy Two Shoes (in a cameo role) takes the turkey and puts it on the table then leaves. Nibbles spots the feast too. Nibbles proceeds to eat certain foods from the table, while Jerry dresses himself and Nibbles as pilgrims, but the trouble begins when Nibbles swallows an orange whole. Jerry hits Nibbles with a knife to remove the orange. It shoots straight out of Nibbles' mouth and right into the sleeping Tom, waking him up.
After Tom's rude awakening, he spies on the two mice, and wearing a feather duster as a Native American headdress, catches Nibbles. Jerry pops a champagne cork into Tom's face. Tom returns, grabbing Jerry. Nibbles takes a fork and propelled by a plate of jell-o, launches the fork into Tom's rear end. Tom picks up the offending fork and hurls it towards Nibbles, catching him by the diaper. As Tom catches Nibbles, Jerry runs up a nearby candlestick and whacks Tom in the face with a spoon.
Tom launches flaming cattails, melting Jerry and Nibbles' hiding places. As they flee, Jerry runs into a knife (sometimes shown as a fork instead) thrown by Tom, and is knocked out cold. Tom grabs Jerry once again. Nibbles catapults a pie into Tom's face, knocking the cat off the table. Nibbles slingshots a candle onto Tom's tail, burning him, so that he appears in blackface (see "Censorship" for information about this scene). Finally, Nibbles launches a champagne bottle like a missile, which hits Tom and shoots him into a cabinet. Tom finally surrenders.
Finally, Tom, Jerry and Nibbles do grace at the table. Nibbles finishes his prayers and proceeds to devour the entire turkey before Tom and Jerry are able to pick up their cutlery, leaving the little orphan with a full stomach with him patting it experiencing delight.
- This is the fifth Tom and Jerry short to win an award.
- This cartoon was not reissued and thus survives with its original titles.
- The original promotional poster depicted Nibbles as brown like Jerry instead of grey.
- This is the second Tom and Jerry cartoon (not counting the reissues of Sufferin' Cats! and Fine Feathered Friend) to use the early version of the iconic Tom and Jerry theme from Polka-Dot Puss. The third and final cartoon (again not counting the reissues) to use this theme would be The Cat and the Mermouse as the next two cartoons didn't use this theme.
- The opening title reuses the picture of the gold Oscar statue (representing its status as an Academy Award winner) from the opening title of The Yankee Doodle Mouse, the only difference is that the background behind the statue in this opening is red instead of blue.
- The Little Orphan is one of the three Fred Quimby shorts which Hanna and Barbera remade in CinemaScope quality, under the title Feedin' the Kiddie. Its Cinemascope version is rarely aired on TV in favor of the original. As of 2010, this short is rarely aired on Cartoon Network or Boomerang due to their unofficial ban on any shorts featuring Mammy-Two Shoes.
- In the poster, Nibbles Mouse is brown just like Jerry instead of gray.
- For the cheater cartoon Life with Tom clips of this cartoon were edited the part where Tom is burned by the candle is edited so that right before flames gets to his face, it cuts to where the champagne bottle is opened, as well as cutting out the shot of Tom (still in blackface) getting knocked back.
- Despite keeping the blackface gag, Feedin' the Kiddie cuts out the scene where Mammy Two Shoes puts the turkey on the table, as the character has been retired after Push-Button Kitty and replaced by Joan and George.
- When this aired on CBS in 1960, Chuck Jones' team reanimated scenes in this cartoon to replace the knife with a fork and re-edited Tom's blackface by having Tom retain his Indian headdress after getting burned by the candle instead of having it burn away into pickaninny braids as in the original version.
- Similarly to Life with Tom, the part where Tom is burned by the candle is cut on Cartoon Network, however, it is cut so that after the candle is shown landing on Tom's tail it immediately cuts to where the champagne bottle is opened, removing Tom getting burned all together, and it also cuts out the shot of Tom getting knocked back. The exact same edit also occurs on its CinemaScope remake Feedin' the Kiddie when shown on both Turner networks.
- On a belated note for Feedin' The Kiddie, the blackface gag is also cut on The Art of Tom and Jerry Vol 2 laserdisc; except that the entire scene where Tom gets burned by the candle has been removed (evidence in here: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2o650u).