Rolando Maran's men had eked out two points from two draws before heading north and looked ready to claim their first away win of a dismal season with Pablo Barrientos and Gonzalo Bergessio especially lively in the Ducale city.
In-form Parma were strangely subdued but could have won a fifth game on the spin had either Antonio Cassano or Amauri put the ball away from solid chances in either half.
The shared points left the Gialloblu in eighth place while Catania prop up the standings with just 16 points from 23 games.
Parma had won their previous four but their flow was disrupted when last weekend's meeting with Roma was abandoned after only eight minutes due to a waterlogged pitch.
They seemed uncharacteristically sluggish against Catania, with only Cassano's free-kick giving Mariano Andujar any food for thought in the moments preceding the break.
The Sicilians - desperate for a first win in five attempts and their first on the road - looked focused at the Tardini and went close to scoring in the 14th minute as Mariano Izco sent Fabian Rinaudo through on goal.
Parma defender Massimo Gobbi cleared the danger but Catania came even closer to notching shortly before the half-hour mark.
Gonzalo Castro's cross to the far post found Barrientos, who pounced on the ball only to fluff his lines at the last moment.
Catania broke forward again, with Barrientos' cross to Rinaudo being scuttled away by the home defence, yet it was Parma who would enjoy the last scoring chance of the half.
After winning a free-kick on the edge of the area, Cassano whipped the ball over the wall to force Andujar into a desperate parry.
The second half began with a bang as Bergessio clattered the crossbar after scooping up Izco's pass.
Still Catania kept coming and, shortly after the hour, Francesco Lodi nearly got the better of Antonio Mirante with a swerving left-footed shot on the volley.
Bergessio was next to threaten, heading straight at Mirante from a Catania corner, but arguably the best chance of the game would fall to Parma.
There were only three minutes remaining when Mattia Cassani picked out Amauri in space in the Sicilians' box. The big Brazilian twisted his body to get his head to the ball but nodded it wide of the gaping goalmouth.