The best way to get a cat's attention and discipline it is to do what mother cats do: grab it by the loose skin on the back of its neck and shake it hard.
Also, if you then speak loudly into the thus-incapacitated cat's face, it pays attention.
You can also use a spray bottle of water to make a cat stop clawing your furniture and doing other naughty actions. But I inherited a cat that had been disciplined this way as a kitten -- and the poor guy had a panic attack every time I misted my house plants.
As fas a disciplining cats, like Garrison Keillor says about sheep, "If a cat does what you want it to to, it's because you guessed right."
"If someone treated you in the above manner(spanking,rubbing you nose in urine, shaking and yelling while dangling you in the air) would you seriously want anything to do with them? I doubt it."
Uhm... Did you not have parents? Ever get your mouth washed out with soap? Do you still love your parents?
I would just make a little "hiss" noise when he does something you dislike. Cats really do not take physical discipline well, and are adept at leaving home if they are not happy with you. Better still, distract him with a toy.
The only thing I can tell you for absolutely sure is that all of the above work. Cats WILL learn lessons from spanking, rubbing their noses in urine, and shaking and yelling at them. They will learn to fear you, not trust you! It's far better to learn WHY your cat is doing something and then use your brain, or someone else who has the knowledge and experience to retrain him. Think of it this way. If someone treated you in the above manner(spanking,rubbing you nose in urine, shaking and yelling while dangling you in the air) would you seriously want anything to do with them? I doubt it.
Any animal can be trained. Whether they 'lean their lesson' specifically or not, is another thing. It's hard to tell, because they can't speak to you to tell you if they understand. Animals can learn (somewhat like humans by conditioning them, but conditioning them to a good habit).
If you think of Pavlov's dogs, who would bark and salivate when the bell was rung, we can see how easy it to condition an animal. However, how long it takes and how many repetition it takes might be considered random.
How many times would you need to lightly smack your kitty on the bottom before she learned? Perhaps ten, perhaps a thousand times.
It is easier to train them to do something positive, like if they pee on the carpet, you use a harsh tone, and some people would even rub their nose in it. Each time, you put them in the litter tray, and slowly they learn that's where it happens.