Related to this, Main Character is running a multi-racial nation, whose members are persecuted by the religious authority of the humans of that world. And human nations--read Kingdoms and Empires--around them dislike the MC's nation because it has resource, its animal people are much better swordsmen, archer, or musketeer then they are, and it is a beacon of democracy compare to the human nations. So MC's nation needs to prepare for war. And they need tactical and strategic intelligence of military, political, and economic for that. However, human nations has rules about letting animal peoples enter and live within their nations, with strictness dependes on how much they discriminate against animal people. Some nations treat animal people the same as human, and some nation won't even allow animal people to set foot in its cities. There are sympathizers with animal people within even the most anti-animal people nation, but willingness to provide intelligence varied. At that time, human nations are still using messager pigeons, couriers, and watchtowers for official long distance messaging and civilians could only hear news from travelling bards and merchants. However, because MC comes from modern world, animal people nation is already using WWI technology, with telegrams and telephones as primary communication methods. How could MC's spies get useful intelligence from enemy government when they can't even physically get close to their halls of power?
Edit: the human nations are still in late 18th/early 19th century technology. Some nations have acknowledged MC's nation and established diplomatic ties, some don't. The animal peoples are visibly humanoid and are about the same size as the average homo sapient. The intelligence difference between a cat people and a cat is the same difference between a human and a chimpanzee and are viewed as such in that world.
Edit 2: the method should also be able to withstand the scrutiny of the counter-espionage effort that is possible for human nations of those technology and psychology era.