I would have to agree with what you've read and have heard... you really should not hit your cats in any way, for any reason, ever. I also wouldn't yell at them. They don't associate that sort of punishment with being on the counters, etc... they just wonder why their mommy is being so hurtful, and I would think it would just cause them to be scared of you.
For some good tips on how to keep your little Pickles off your counters, you can do a search for 'cats on counters' in the forums. I just checked some posts out, here's one that I thought might help.
|Originally posted by valanhb
The thing with training cats is that you have to convince them that they don't really want to do it. The key is consistency. Spraying water won't work in the long run because they will figure out that they don't get sprayed when Mommy isn't there. Then you just have sneaky kitties who still get up on the counters.
Some kitty deterrants (not all of these will work with all kitties, but hopefully *something* will work with yours): double-sided tape or something with sticky side up, strong citrus scent, aluminum foil flat on the surface, helium/mylar balloons above the table/counter preferably with a small fan blowing on them so they move, cans on the edge with pennies or nuts or ball bearings in them (just a few to make a loud noise when kitty knocks them off). Some more radical things you can try if those don't work: old-fashioned mouse traps, set upside down with newspaper on top of them so when kitty goes up, the trap goes off; a product called a "Scat-mat" which send a very mild electrical current through it (like when you touch your tongue to a battery) to put on the counter/table.
Hope one of those suggestions will solve your problem.