There were mitigating factors at first. While he did take charge of a team that was second in the league at the time, that league position seemed to mask a number of issues that had been ongoing during the final months of predecessor Robbie Neilson's spell.
The squad had begun to fragment with players eyeing pastures new and not as focused as they had been the past two seasons.
A chaotic January transfer window was essentially Cathro applying a band-aid solution while the patchy final half of the season was given the mitigating circumstance of : "Don't worry, once he's had a full pre-season and moulded his own team, we'll see the best of him".
Sadly the hope for such reasoning did not come to fruition with an embarrassing League Cup exit following defeats to lower league opposition - Peterhead and Dunfermline respectively.
Hearts have had shock losses inflicted on them before but it was the manner of the performances that had supporters reaching for the ejector seat.
The team on both occasions looked disinterested, lacking in energy and wishing they were someplace else. The penalty misses against Dunfermline - all three not looking out of place at Murrayfield - coupled with the players' reaction, hinted that the dressing room had gone.
Hearts fans had seen this before with the performances in those defeats mirroring the displays of the team during rookie manager Stephen Frail's disjointed season in charge during 2007/08.
The spark only came back on that occasion when the more experienced Csaba Laszlo took over.
With Cathro, Hearts could have brazened it out further and given him more time. However, top four finishes are the minimum benchmark set by the board and with a resurgent Hibs back in the top flight, immediate action was needed.
What now for Cathro? He is still well-regarded within football circles as a high quality coach - two former managers that he has worked under, Nuno Espírito Santo and Rafa Benitez, speak highly of him.
So maybe he will go back to working under such managers again and putting what he has learnt from his experience at Hearts to good use.
I have little doubt he will try his hand at management again in the future - although perhaps at a lower tier club whose expectations aren't as high as Hearts'.
After all, many have learnt from their failures as well as their successes and have gone on to great things - Cathro making it in management one day will not surprise this writer.
However, the usual crop of naysayers who mocked his appointment at the time will no doubt be crawling out of the woodwork to gloat.
Jamie Fullerton and Kris Boyd poured their invective via the airwaves and the newspapers about him - the crux of their argument being not Cathro's tactical knowledge, but that he's not one for having a drink with the boys.
Tell that to the tee-totalling, footballing legend that was Jock Stein.
Fullerton will probably give it the big "I told you so" - any reporter interviewing him should remind Mr Fullerton how his only managerial gig (Notts County) only lasted two months before he was shown the door.
Should Boyd smirk in public, the reporters should offer him the challenge to take on a managerial post of his own before passing comment.
Stephen Craigan of BT Sport ranted at Cathro's appointment claiming he was "better qualified" than Ian to take the Hearts job.
If he is gloating this week then the reporter interviewing him should remind Stephen that a vacancy exists at Hearts and he is free to apply and show us all how this management lark is done.
And lest we forget the Glasgow-based Scottish press. One of which has already started with the "I knew he would fail".
A shame Graham Spiers' gift of the third sight deserted him back in 2004 when he predicted that Hearts fans would be forced to admit that long-since disgraced former chairman Chris Robinson "was right" about the plan to sell off Tynecastle - Hearts supporters have never had one opportunity to make such an absurd remark.
Not to mention we await what a certain award-winning hack will say now given he dismissed Cathro's appointment as a "hipster experiment".
Should Keith Jackson do so, remind him how his soothsayer powers went AWOL when he was told to call Craig Whyte a billionaire.
As for who should succeed Cathro, the usual names have been mentioned. Paul Hartley, Tommy Wright and Steven Pressley (a man who knows how to lose a dressing room).
My preference probably will not happen but if Hearts could send a message out to Iran where the man who last won the Scottish Cup for the club had his last known managerial gig, then they will have their man.
After all, many fans feel that Paulo Sergio has unfinished business with Hearts and only did not have his contract renewed due to the financial whirlwind that would hammer the club months after he left.
Not to mention that the man himself has already sent Hearts owner Ann Budge his CV.
In the meantime, much will be be written by the press of how Cathro was too young for the job, was in over his head and should never have been at a club as big as Hearts.
For the sake of balance, the Scottish Fourth Estate should highlight how employing a young manager can work.
German side TSV Hoffenheim qualified for the Champions League last season under the guidance of Julian Nagelsmann - who is a year younger than Ian Cathro.
Herr Nagelsmann is proof that if you're good enough, then age is no barrier for managing a top club.
The tabloid naysayers would to well to contact Hoffenheim to see how a young coach can thrive and bring success to that club. A call to this number: +49 7261 94930 should set the ball rolling for a lead story which offers some balance to the young manager or old manager debate that the Cathro situation has sparked off.
After all, we wouldn't want these reporters' readers getting the impression of any personal agenda against Cathro (who a year before getting the Hearts job was acclaimed as a young visionary when linked with Rangers) - or the club that once employed him.