SHELBINA, Missouri — Standing in the shade of his command tent on the side of a rural highway, Buddy the Cat holds a pair of binoculars up to his face with both paws early Thursday morning, scanning for cat food.
“I don’t see a damn thing,” the silver tabby cat says, squinting.
A four-year-old striped ginger cat, an assistant, clears his throat. “You have to take off the lens caps, sir.”
Buddy turns, glares at his assistant, then makes a show of removing the lens caps as if that had been his idea all along.
“Aha!” he says triumphantly. “I see the cans!”
That was the scene at what the mercurial feline is calling Operation Yums HQ, less than a half mile from the site of an overturned tractor trailer on Missouri’s Highway 36. The truck, which had been headed east, drifted onto the right shoulder of the highway and tipped over into a ditch, spilling its glorious, delicious, must-be-acquired cargo onto the surrounding grass and concrete.
“Look at it,” Buddy said, surveying the scene as firefighters, police and paramedics saw to the driver, closed down one lane and directed traffic around the accident. “Soon, it will be all mine. Er, I mean ours. Muahaha!”
The driver wasn’t hurt in the crash, the Shelbina Fire Protection District said. Shelbina is about 70 miles east of Kansas City.
Authorities weren’t initially sure what caused the tractor trailer to tip over, but said rain and a slick road could have been factors. They’re still investigating.
In the meantime, the human emergency services personnel were oblivious to the cats huddling just out of view, licking their lips and preparing to raid the site under the cover of darkness.
“Stupid humans, they don’t even know they’re sitting on a gold mine!” said Buddy’s second-in-command, Smushface McCutiePants. “Take heart, dear companions, for tonight we dine on Fancy Feast!”