The hosts started the game one point and one position below their visitors, but the gulf in quality was evident in the first half as Norwich broke forward in numbers on more than one occasion.
Norwich had numerous chances to open the scoring as Leroy Fer had two efforts cleared off the line, while David Marshall was impressive in the Cardiff goal.
The game had a bizarre ending however after Fer tapped into an empty net after Alexander Tettey had received treatment for an injury.
Summer signing Fer received the ball from a throw-in and tapped into the empty goal with keeper Marshall rushing out to receive the throw, and though the goal was initially allowed it was referee Michael Jones who overruled that decision in a strange climax.
Robert Snodgrass was nearly the beneficiary after Marshall palmed away Martin Olsson’s cross, but the Scotsman lashed his effort well wide with the goal gaping.
Cardiff nearly sprung a shock on their opponents after 25 minutes, when Peter Odemwingie’s excellent through-ball slipped Fraizer Campbell in behind the Canaries’ back-line, but John Ruddy was out quickly to thwart Jordon Mutch from the pull-back.
Norwich quickly reasserted their dominance however, with dynamic midfielder Fer having two headers cleared off the line from Snodgrass corners.
Fer was at the heart of everything Norwich created, with first-half chances also falling to Jonny Howson and Gary Hooper, but Bluebirds stopper Marshall was equal to everything the Canaries produced.
The second half told a similar story as Cardiff continued to sit back and give Norwich the space to manoeuvre, but the Canaries gradually grew more and more frustrated as the game went on without a goal.
Pilkington went close from Hooper’s cross after 65 minutes, while Nathan Redmond’s crashing effort was saved well by Marshall just one minute after the winger came on as a substitute.
Fer then went close with another header on 72 minutes as Norwich continued to press forward.
Craig Bellamy took to the field midway through the second half to rapturous applause from the stadium, though Cardiff’s former Canary could not inspire the Bluebirds on the break.
Redmond tried his utmost to haul Norwich into a deserved lead after coming on on the hour mark, testing Marshall three times in a matter of minutes.
Fer nearly snatched a winner for the home side with a last-minute header, but Marshall remained unerring in the visiting goal.
The Dutchman was then at the heart of late controversy as he received Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s throw-in after treatment was given to midfielder Tettey, passing the ball into an empty goal.
As confusion reigned over the stadium, referee Jones ended up ruling out the goal, and the sides had to settle for a point in bizarre circumstances.