The wealthy region threatened to break away following a referendum in October 1 that Spain's Constitutional Court said was illegal.
Spain's deputy prime minister says that Catalonia's leader didn't give an adequate response in his letter about the region's independence and has until Thursday to comply with the country's laws.
Catalan President Charles Puigdemont, in a letter on Monday to Spain's prime minister, called for more dialogue over the status of the semi-autonomous region, but he failed to meet a demand from Madrid to clarify a declaration of independence or face direct rule.
Spain has repeatedly said that it's not willing to sit down with Mr Puigdemont if calls for independence are on the table, or accept any form of global mediation.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont did not give a clear answer to Madrid whether he proclaimed independence for Catalonia last week and after he resumed his calls for dialogue, world agencies said. Puigdemont΄s government defied Spanish authorities by staging the vote.
The Spanish government says growing uncertainty over Catalonia, which is deeply indebted to Madrid and which can not borrow internationally, imperils Spain's recovery from the financial crisis.
Saenz de Santamaria said in an address to reporters that "it wasn't very hard to say yes or no".
Rajoy said he is ready to invoke article 155 of Spain's constitution, allowing him to retake full control of Catalonia - the so-called "nuclear option".
Some separatist politicians say Carles Puigdemont has no other choice but to make a declaration of independence for the wealthy northeastern region, which has a population of 7.5 million people.
Mr Puigdemont did not directly answer the question in a letter to Mr Rajoy, made public by local Catalan media.
Two senior Catalan regional police force officers and the leaders of two pro-independence associations are in court again, facing possible sedition charges related to the staging of the region's banned October 1 secession referendum. Instead, he asked for two months of negotiations on the issue with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. All four, including Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero and Jordi Sanchez, the head of the Catalan National Assembly, were due at a hearing Monday in Spain's National Court in Madrid. But he suspended the effects of the declaration to allow for talks.