Two goals inside the opening 12 minutes from Jay Bothroyd and Michael Chopra put Cardiff in control.
Bothroyd, cleared to play after escaping punishment for his tackle on Luciano Becchio during Monday night’s 4-0 league win over Leeds at Elland Road, fired the Bluebirds ahead in the ninth minute with his 12th of the season and fifth in four games.
Three minutes later he turned provider as he set up Chopra for his second goal in a week.
Norwich deservedly reduced the arrears in the 34th minute when Wes Hoolahan, restored to the side, headed home from close range but Peter Whittingham restored Cardiff’s two-goal cushion three minutes later from the penalty spot.
With QPR being held at home by Burnley, it meant David Jones’ side took over at the summit following a fifth successive league win.
Craig Bellamy – yet to lose since joining his hometown club on loan from Manchester City – was named Cardiff captain for the day against the team where he began his career in an unchanged side.
Norwich boss Paul Lambert made two changes, with Hoolahan and youngster Korey Smith being brought back into the starting line-up at the expense of David Fox and Anthony McNamee, who dropped to the bench.
The Canaries, unbeaten in their last three away games, were first to threaten but from a third-minute corner from Simon Lappin – on his 100th appearance for the club – on-loan Leon Barnett headed well over.
But Cardiff responded and hit Norwich with two goals in three minutes to take a firm grip of the game.
First Bothroyd – who had moments before been denied by goalkeeper John Ruddy – tucked home from close range after Mark Hudson had knocked down a Whittingham corner.
Then Bothroyd played in Chopra who made no mistake as he slotted his effort past Ruddy.
Norwich, though, produced a spirit response and Andrew Crofts fired over the bar before Simeon Jackson saw his shot deflected for a corner.
The visitors had the ball in the net in the 17th minute but captain Grant Holt’s header was ruled out after he was adjudged to have committed a foul before Jackson – with a clear sight of goal – was denied by Bluebirds keeper Tom Heaton.
Hoolahan was then thwarted by Heaton but he did pull a deserved goal back for Norwich with a brave header from Lappin’s cross.
But Cardiff immediately restored their two-goal advantage after Elliott Ward was penalised for handball and Whittingham made no mistake from the spot with his fourth goal in as many games.
Ruddy bravely saved at the feet of Chopra, who was looking to pounce, early in the second half and the stopper then foiled Gabor Gyepes as Cardiff made a strong start when play resumed.
Bothroyd was unlucky not to get his second of the match 18 minutes from time when his 18-yard effort hit the crossbar and Ruddy made a comfortable save from Chris Burke as the home side enjoyed a good spell of pressure.
Having opening the scoring, Bothroyd came close to having the final say but Ruddy produced a fine finger-tip save to turn his strike around the post.