It comes down to the basic drives of the animals. To simplify things a bit.
Deep down dogs are convinced that if they are living completely alone, they will die. This means that they really need to be a part of a pack and that they'll do things just for the priviledge of staying a part of that pack. Hence their desire to please, and also why negative reinforcement can work on dogs. They'll accept punishment and try not to displease you to stick with the pack so to speak.
Deep down cats are convinced that if they are living completely alone, they'll do just fine (even when that's not actually the case). They don't feel like they need to stick with their "pack" no matter the cost and if put through too much negative stuff like harsh negative reinforcement etc. they'll just leave. If they can't leave physically because they're indoor cats etc. they'll retreat into themselves and hide under things etc.
This doesn't mean that cats don't like us, they are social just not strictly hierarchical pack animals. That's also why them choosing to give us their trust and to stay with us is so amazing because they have the option not to.
Anyway negative reinforcement doesn't really work on cats. It sort of does in that you can hiss at them or say no! and shoo them off tables etc. and they'll quickly learn what you don't want them to do, but they don't care about upsetting you so as soon as your back is turned and the immediate consequence of being told NO! and put back on the floor isn't there they'll be right back up on that table.
Clicker training works on cats because that's training using only positive reinforcement. I've clicker trained my cat to jump between two chairs, stand on two legs etc. we're working on 'sit' now.
The other thing that works on cats when you're having a battle of wills is just to ignore them. I.e if they're meowing at your door for attention and waking you up in the middle of the night etc. The only thing that will stop them doing it in the long term is to let them learn that their tactics just don't work. I.e by not responding at all. If you respond after a while of meowing that's just teaching the cat that they need to be even louder and more stubborn.
I remember seeing a study where they had trained cats to push a lever to get a treat. Then they increased how often the cat needed to push the lever to get the treat and made it random. Then they stopped so the lever would never give a treat. They found that the cat pressed the lever over 3000 times in a row right after that change but stopped pressing the lever completely shortly after that since there were no treats to be had. They can be stubborn and persistent creatures
messybeast.com has some very interesting articles on feline behaviour, look at the subsection on behaviour, the link is here: http://www.messybeast.com/catarchive.htm