However, the Black Cats boss stressed the midfielder needs to start showing that he is learning from the error of his ways.
Cattermole, making his first return to the DW Stadium since leaving the Latics for Wearside in 2009, was dismissed for the second time in three league games after being booked twice in quick succession midway through the opening period for fouls on Mohamed Diame and Hugo Rodallega.
The 22-year-old captain also saw red in Sunderland's opening game of the campaign against Birmingham, to add to another dismissal last season.
Bruce said he had "no complaints" about referee Andre Marriner's decision to give Cattermole his marching orders and is now looking for the player to demonstrate that he is taking some lessons from his poor disciplinary record.
"The one thing he has got to learn is that once you have got a yellow card, you simply can't go to ground," Bruce said.
"He has made a genuine attempt for the ball, he has mis-timed it and he has got to learn that.
"I've got no excuses for him. It was two yellow cards, simple as that.
"It has happened twice in a month which is not healthy, not for him or the team. He has to learn from it and we will be having conversations with him.
"He is inconsolable and he knows, but it's when he's out there that he has got to know."
Despite the loss of Cattermole, Sunderland took the lead in the 66th minute through debutant Asamoah Gyan's strike before a late header from Antolin Alcaraz salvaged a draw for Wigan.
Ghana forward Gyan, the Black Cats' record signing, converted Jordan Henderson's cross after replacing Danny Welbeck at the interval to mark a first appearance Bruce was more than satisfied with.
"You can tell he has been on planes and all over the world, waiting in passport offices and all that and that is why we didn't start him," Bruce said.
"So he needs a bit of work, but he has got a great attitude for it and he'll be fine.
"He's made a wonderful start which obviously will help him - to get a goal on your debut is terrific. It's just a shame we didn't hang on to win it."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, who himself brought new arrivals Franco Di Santo and Tom Cleverley off the bench for their debuts, was pleased to see his side come away with a point.
"I think we showed signs of a team that is slowly gelling together with many new faces," Martinez said.
"I am extremely delighted with the reaction we had in the second half and the way we worked as a team.
"We were a little bit frustrated and not as fluid as we should have been.
"But to get back into a game when you are 1-0 down is the hardest thing in football.
"I was extremely proud at the manner we approached the game and a draw is the least reward we deserved."