Some pet owners are using a new method of training cats that is called "clicker training". Clicker training is a reward based training that encourages desirable behaviors. With this method, you don't punish unwanted behaviors but reward good behavior.
The basic idea is: When the cat exhibits and undesirable behavior, you use a "clicker" to make an unpleasant noise. Once your cats undesirable behavior has stopped, you stopped the "clicker" and reward the good behavior. For example, maybe your cat is scratching your new leather sofa. When you see your cat doing this, you start "clicking" with the clicker. Often the cat will look around, not like the noise and stop the behavior. After a couple seconds, stop the clicking and calmly approach your cat with a treat, gentle pet sor some other positive event or reinforcement.
For more information, go to Clicker Training Your Cat