When animal cells oxidize carbon (food) to create energy is there any spark or catalyst needed?
Biologically, enzymes are catalysts.
Metabolic pathways do depend on catalysis in many instances. These are not usually the inorganic metal compounds common in industrial chemical catalysis, but specific molecules that enhance the processes of digestion and energy transfer.
There is no "spark" however. The driving force is the normal increase in entropy of the reactions.