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the Kernel

InstaCats makes longreads bearable by inserting pictures of cats

Make longreads much cuter with this Chrome extension.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Jun 16, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 1:58 pm CDT

Given how short the Internet’s attention span is, we spend a surprising amount of time scrolling through near-endless wastelands of text. It’s often a chore staying focused on that text when you know there’s a much better Internet out there to explore. The solution to the tedium, of course, is to bring the best part of the web into that ceaseless wall of words.

Enter InstaCats, a Chrome extension for Web readers and cat lovers alike that breaks up long stretches of text with entirely irrelevant pictures of cats.

“Why?” you may ask.

“Why not?” InstaCats responds.

Longform storytelling is thriving online. It has become a staple of most news websites, including this very one that you are reading right now. The next time you dive into an issue of the Kernel—or try tackling Paul Ford’s much-discussed 38,000 word feature on code—launch InstaCats and give your eyes a rest between paragraphs.

The real promise of InstaCats, though, is making those pesky terms and conditions agreements readable. Instead of blindly clicking “Agree,” why not read through them with the support of adorable little furballs that appear between each privacy-violating statement? Who knew kittens could save you from surrendering your personal information?

In addition to the Chrome extension, you can also activate InstaCats with a bookmarklet from the extension’s website. Either way, you’ll have cats on command—which is really all the Internet was ever supposed to be.

Screengrab via the Kernel

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*First Published: Jun 16, 2015, 1:17 pm CDT