He served Nobunaga Oda. He acquired the nickname of "Oni Shibata" (Shibata the Devil) for his valor in battles.
When Nobunaga attacked Echizen Province (Fukui Prefecture) (1570), he defended Chokoji Castle in omi Province (Shiga Prefecture). After Echizen was brought under Nobunaga's control (1575), he governed Hokuriku District with headquarters at Kitanosho Fukui Prefecture. After No-bunaga died, he feuded with Hideyoshi Toyotomi as to who should succeed him.
When Hideyoshi held an elaborate memorial service for Nobunaga at the Daitokuji Temple, Katsuie only sent a proxy to the function. He and Hideyoshi fought at Shizugatake (1583). Katsuie was defeated and retreated to Kitanosho, where his forces were besieged. Katsuie and his wife, Otani-no-kata killed themselves.
Otani-no-kata was a younger sister of Nobunaga. Before he died, Katsuie sent his three daughters to Hideyoshi and asked him to raise them. One of the sisters was Yodogimi, the mistress of Hideyoshi, When Katsuie's forces were surrounded in Chokojo Castle during Nobunaga's campaign in Echizen, he destroyed all water cisterns in the castle so that his soldiers had no alternative but to break the siege to survive . Katsuie was called "Kamewari Shibata" (Cistern Breaking Shibata) because of this incident.