First half goals from Junior Hoilett and Sean Morrison, along with Danny Ward’s late strike, secured the points for the Bluebirds, condemning the Tigers to a 25th league defeat of the season.
Grant McCann made two changes for the trip to the Welsh capital, which saw George Long and James Scott return to the starting line-up in place of Matt Ingram and Josh Magennis.
There were also three further changes on the bench with Sean McLoughlin, Matthew Pennington and Josh Bowler all included among the substitutes. Jordy de Wijs, Elliot Bonds and Callum Jones were the ones to miss out from Saturday’s home defeat to Luton Town.
Long was called into action inside the opening 40 seconds when producing an excellent save to divert Robert Glatzel’s strike from distance over the bar.
The hosts – and Glatzel – threatened again on six minutes when the German striker beat the offside trap before dragging an effort wide of the far post under pressure from both Angus MacDonald and Long.
Another chance for the Bluebirds followed five minutes later. Junior Hoilett was the creator, bursting clear down the left before pulling the ball back to Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who guided a first-time effort over the bar from ten yards.
The Tigers had shown plenty of energy in the opening exchanges at the Cardiff City Stadium – but it was the hosts who continued to look the more dangerous in the final third, with the pressure finally telling on the 20-minute mark.
Moments after Glatzel had wasted two decent scoring opportunities in quick succession, Hoilett was the man to break the deadlock. A ball over the top allowed the pacey-winger to get in behind Leonardo Da Silva Lopes and he drilled a crisp finish beyond Long into the bottom corner.
The Tigers were denied a stonewall penalty on the half-hour make when Mallik Wilks – twisting and turning inside the box – was upended by Joe Bennett. However, referee James Linington failed to point to the spot – much to the annoyance and disbelief of McCann and his coaching staff in the dug-out.
Wilks was causing problems for the home defence once again shortly after, collecting Tom Eaves’ flick-on before turning and getting shot away – only to see his effort well-blocked by Curtis Nelson.
Despite enjoying their best period in the game so far, the Tigers fell two behind 11 minutes before the break when slack defending from a set-piece allowed Sean Morrison to plant an unstoppable header past Long.
And only another decent save from Tigers’ custodian on the stroke of half-time – denying Mendez-Laing – prevented the hosts from taking a three-goal lead into the break.
Kevin Stewart had the first shot of the second half – guiding a curling effort from distance on target – only to see it easily gathered by Alex Smithies in the Cardiff goal before the Tigers then went close twice in quick succession on 54 minutes.
James Scott was the first to be denied when his effort on the half-volley was locked by Morrison at full stretch before Wilks’ strike from George Honeyman’s knockdown was kept out by Smithies.
A triple change on 59 minutes saw Jon Toral, Martin Samuelsen and Keane Lewis-Potter brought on to freshen up the Tigers’ threat in the final third, with Honeyman, Eaves and Scott the ones to make way.
Neil Harris responded by bringing on Will Vaulks for Hoilett four minutes later, before introducing Josh Murphy and Danny Ward into the action in place of Glatzel and Mendez-Laing 18 minutes from time.
Lewis-Potter turned Bennett inside out down the right before sending a dangerous low ball into the box looking for Samuelsen towards the back post, but good defending from Nelson prevented the Norwegian from making a telling touch to halve the deficit.
McCann was forced into making a fourth substitution on 75 minutes when skipper Callum Elder hobbled off to be replaced by McLoughlin.
The hosts made certain of the points seven minutes from time when substitute Ward pounced to fire home after Long had parried Bennett’s powerfully-struck free-kick from the edge of the box.
The Tigers did carve out one final opportunity in four minutes stoppage-time, but Samuelsen’s header from Stewart’s right-wing cross was blocked by Wilks before going behind for a goal kick.
Cardiff City: Alex Smithies, Leandro Bacuna, Sean Morrison, Curtis Nelson, Joe Bennett, Marlon Pack, Joe Ralls (Bradley Smith 85), Lee Tomlin (Callum Paterson 85), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Josh Murphy 72), Junior Hoilett (Will Vaulks 63), Robert Glatzel (Danny Ward 72).
Subs Not Used: Neil Etheridge, Dion Sanderson, Aden Flint, Sol Bamba.
Hull City: George Long, Ryan Tafazolli, Kevin Stewart, Dan Batty, Tom Eaves (Martin Samuelsen 59), Angus MacDonald, George Honeyman (Jon Toral 59), Callum Elder (Sean McLoughlin 75), Leo Da Silva Lopes, Mallik Wilks, James Scott (Keane Lewis-Potter 59).
Subs Not Used: Matt Ingram, Reece Burke, Josh Bowler, Matthew Pennington, Josh Magennis.