Rolando Maran's Elefanti have their eye on an unlikely top-five finish after emerging as the surprise package in Serie A but an uncharacteristically wayward Gonzalo Bergessio failed to help them on their way.
At the final whistle, however, the solitary point was more than welcome in east Sicily after Mauricio Pinilla missed a late chance to fire Cagliari above Parma and into the top 10.
Catania dominated the first half and were unlucky not to take a lead into the break with Bergessio particularly fired up at the Stadio Angelo Massimino.
The Argentinian's free-kick whistled just over the crossbar before he headed Keko's cross inches past a post in the 23rd minute.
Mariano Izco then tried his luck from distance, causing Michael Agazzi to fumble the ball in the corner at full stretch, before Cagliari finally bared their teeth minutes before the break.
Matias Cabrera had been unchecked as he made his way to the edge of the Sicilians' box to slice over the bar with Mariano Andujar well beaten.
Whatever Cagliari boss Ivo Pulga told his players at half-time worked as the Rossoblu surged forward from the restart.
Radja Nainggolan dragged a fierce shot across the box and just wide of the far corner before Cabrera shot high over the bar at the end of a Pinilla-led raid.
Cagliari piled on even more pressure in the final 20 minutes but Marco Sau's driven effort from the edge of the box sailed into the crowd.
There were nine minutes remaining, then, when Pinilla spurned a gilt-edged chance to settle the tie.
The Chilean found himself all alone in the box except for Andujar but, as he closed his eyes and shot, the ball bobbled beyond a post and to safety.