For the scratching....get a scratch post. They have great ones at pet stores, some with catnip in them so they are attracted to it, and you get a catnip spray, and spray the the post with it, if you get one without catnip. They also have furniture saver type things at pet stores....I belive in "petco" they have eveything!
OR, they have such a thing called "soft paws" ( I think ) not sure of the right name, it might be "soft claws" or something to that extent. But they are little things that you can put on your kitties nails, so they arent able to scratch the furniture and get stuck on things. I almost bought some today, but ran out of money before I got to that section.
I should just work at a pet store. Anyhow, I noticed they have different colors and the new ones are green and red for christmas. You can get clear too. Check that out.
Also, the squirt bottle thing, I dont think of it as bad...I use it when it really comes down to it. My kitty likes to eat our fake plants like crazy, and I know it's in his instincts to do that, but I still dont want him to do that. I have recently started to use a squirt bottle for that, (put it on the setting that doesnt JET STREAM, but use the sprayer function. That way it wont scare them too bad, just one spray. and firmly tell them that that is naughty, and you dont want them to do that again. They can hear tone of voice, just like a little kid.
Our kitty has cut his plant eating in half, and knows its naughty when he does it, so he contemplates it before he does it now too.