I’m sure there is a plugin out there somewhere which will accomplish this. However, I haven’t managed to come across one yet. I’d also be interested how to go about removing the ‘category’ prefix in the URL, too.
I think it’s reasonable to expect (the option of) category links generated in the shorter format. I’m sure it’s also easy enough for me to write a function that would do it for me, but I’d just like to know if a standard method already exists.