Stefano Colantuono found little to celebrate on the occasion of his 400th match as a manager as his Atalanta team slid to a Serie A away defeat.
It came against one of his former clubs too, with Nicolas Spolli and Gonzalo Bergessio on target for Catania after Atalanta had edged ahead early in the second half through Maximiliano Moralez.
Michele Ferri almost grabbed a late equaliser, but it was not Atalanta, or Colantuono's, night.
Catania began strongly and Francesco Lodi saw a left-footed shot saved by Andrea Consigli early on, before Bergessio headed just over the Atalanta bar.
Pablo Barrientos was denied from close range by Consigli before at the opposite end James Troisi spurned the visitors' first real chance, his shot saved by Mariano Andujar.
Cristian Raimondi then hit the bar for Atalanta in the 32nd minute, as close as either team went in the opening half.
Atalanta made the breakthrough after 49 minutes when Andujar blundered and kicked the ball straight to Moralez, who fired home right-footed.
The lead lasted just three minutes, with Spolli connecting with a corner from Lodi to net a close-range header.
Alejandro Gomez almost put the hosts ahead soon after that leveller when his strike from outside the penalty area brushed the right post.
But it was 2-1 soon afterwards, as Catania's pressure told in the 65th minute when Bergessio thumped a left-footed shot from long range into the bottom right corner.
David Brivio had a clear chance to equalise 12 minutes later when he had only Andujar to beat, but his shot lacked the power to get past the goalkeeper.
Ferri's chance came deep into stoppage time, but he shot inches wide of the right post from six yards.