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 Barclays Premier 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."