Quantum thermodynamics is a research field that aims at fleshing out the ultimate limits of thermodynamic processes in the deep quantum regime. A complete picture of thermodynamical processes naturally allows for auxiliary systems dubbed 'catalysts', i.e., any physical systems facilitating state transformations while remaining essentially intact in their state, like an auxiliary system, a clock, or an actual catalyst. In this work, we present a comprehensive analysis of the power and limitation of such thermal catalysis. Specifically, we provide a family of optimal catalysts that can be returned with minimal trace distance error after facilitating a state transformation process. To incorporate the genuine physical role of a catalyst, we identify very significant restrictions on arbitrary state transformations under dimension or mean energy bounds, using methods of convex relaxations. We discuss the implication of these findings on possible thermodynamic state transformations in the quantum regime.