Purpose: MR-guided cardiac catheterization procedures currently use passive tracking approaches to follow a gadolinium-filled catheter balloon during catheter navigation. This requires frequent manual tracking and repositioning of the imaging slice during navigation. In this study, a novel framework for automatic real-time catheter tracking during MR-guided cardiac catheterization is presented. Methods: The proposed framework includes two imaging modes (Calibration and Runtime). The sequence starts in Calibration mode, in which the 3D catheter coordinates are determined using a stack of 10–20 contiguous saturated slices combined with real-time image processing. The sequence then automatically switches to Runtime mode, where three contiguous slices (acquired with partial saturation), initially centered on the catheter balloon using the Calibration feedback, are acquired continuously. The 3D catheter balloon coordinates are estimated in real time from each Runtime slice stack using image processing. Each Runtime stack is repositioned to maintain the catheter balloon in the central slice based on the prior Runtime feedback. The sequence switches back to Calibration mode if the catheter is not detected. This framework was evaluated in a heart phantom and 3 patients undergoing MR-guided cardiac catheterization. Catheter detection accuracy and rate of catheter visibility were evaluated. Results: The automatic detection accuracy for the catheter balloon during the Calibration/Runtime mode was 100%/95% in phantom and 100%/97 ± 3% in patients. During Runtime, the catheter was visible in 82% and 98 ± 2% of the real-time measurements in the phantom and patients, respectively. Conclusion: The proposed framework enabled real-time continuous automatic tracking of a gadolinium-filled catheter balloon during MR-guided cardiac catheterization.