The 25-year-old, who was shown the eighth red card of his career last month against Hull City, returned to action during the Black Cats' defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Despite receiving criticism over his aggressive tackling, Cattermole believes that he is not a dirty player.
"I didn't need to read anything about what anyone said after the game or what pundits said, because I knew myself how disappointed I was to get sent off," he told the Sunderland Echo.
"I believe I play the right way - fully committed - and that time I maybe went a little bit over the mark. Maybe you have to stay on your feet, it's that one that gets away from you when you have to lunge."
Sunderland continue their fight for Premier League survival on Saturday when they travel to fellow strugglers West Ham United.