Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat
Title card
Created by: Amy Tan
Voices of: Holly Gauthier-Frankel
Rick Jones
Oliver Grainger
Jesse Vinet
Ellen David
Arthur Holden
Sonja Ball
Neil Shee
Hiro Kanagawa
Jaclyn Linetsky
Khaira Ledeyo
Raugi Yu
Russell Yuen
John Stocker
Kathy Tsoi, Leanne Adachi and Rosa Yee
Peter Shinkoda
Amy Chow
Linda Wang
Karen Lee
Kamiko Taka
Kameron Louangxay
Terrence Scammell
Carrie Finlay
Michel Perron
Jonathan Koensgen
Michael O'Reilly
Country of origin Canada
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons: 1
No. of episodes: 41
Running time: 27 minutes
Production company(s): CinéGroupe
Sesame Workshop
Original channel: TVOntario, Société Radio-Canada (Canada)
PBS Kids (US; 2005–2006)
Original run: September 3, 2001 – December 7, 2008

Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (or simply Sagwa) is an educational Chinese (Asian) and Canadian-American animated television series based on a 1994 novel by Amy Tan which aired on PBS Kids, produced by Canadian animation studio CinéGroupe and Sesame Street creator Sesame Workshop. In the series, which is set c. 1840, during the Qing Dynasty, Sagwa has fun in her day-to-day life while learning and teaching valuable life lessons. The show is notable for its setting and messages about family obligations and loyalty. It was also a huge ratings success for PBS Kids. The series was developed and produced for television by executive producers George Daugherty and Michel Lemire, and producers David Ka Lik Wong and Leon G. Arcand.[1]

It aired for one season and 40 episodes, premiering on September 3, 2001 replacing Wishbone and was quietly cancelled in 2002, but aired as reruns on some PBS affiliates until 2005.


Miao FamilyEdit

  • Sagwa Miao – Sagwa (傻瓜 shǎguā, "silly" or "silly melon") is the middle child of the Miao family. Kind, curious, quick thinking, creative and often bossy, Sagwa, according to a story told by Nai-Nai in one episode, was born in the Year of the Dog. She was originally pure white in color, but gained her current Siamese cat markings after falling into an inkpot. Sagwa is very talented in calligraphy, and is said by her parents to have the best artistic skills in the Miao family. And she has an orange Miao Family collar on her neck. Voiced by Holly Gauthier-Frankel.
  • Sheegwa Miao – Sheegwa (西瓜 xīguā, watermelon) is the youngest child of the Miao family, born in the Year of the Rat. Curious, friendly, cheerful and full of energy, Sheegwa is also very optimistic and ascribes good intentions to almost every creature she meets. She is pure white in color, except for a pink tinge on her cheeks, and has a folded right ear. She also has a pink Miao Family collar on her neck. Voiced by Jesse Vinet.
  • Dongwa Miao – Dongwa (冬瓜 dōngguā, winter melon) is the oldest child of the Miao family, born in the Year of the Monkey. Intelligent, competitive and sometimes stubborn, Dongwa is independent and often prefers the company of the Alley Cats or solitary martial-arts practice to playing with his sisters. He is the only male child of the family and is also protective of his sisters. He is cream-colored and has the traditional Siamese markings, and has a purple Miao Family collar on his neck. Voiced by Oliver Grainger.
  • Baba Wim Bao Miao – Baba Miao (爸爸猫 bàba māo, literally "daddy cat") is the father of the Miao family. Baba Miao is very strict with his children, and in matters of hard work and duty, but also has a softer, playful side as well. He also fancies himself a devotee of Chinese Opera although he has Beat deafness. He and Mama Miao are the official calligraphers of the Foolish Magistrate. Baba Miao, like Dongwa, is cream-colored and has typical Siamese facial markings. When he was cared by Angwan he was called Bu-Gu. Voiced by Arthur Holden.
  • Mama Shao Fun Miao – Mama Miao (妈妈猫 māma māo, literally "mommy cat") is the mother of the Miao family. Like Baba Miao, she is also a loving but strict parent, but is usually more lenient and gentle than Baba. She and Sagwa have similar coloring and markings. Voiced by Ellen David.
  • Nai-Nai Miao – Nai-Nai (奶奶 nǎinai, paternal grandmother) is the grandmother of the Miao family. Grey in color, she is old-fashioned, patient and full of wisdom. She often tells the kittens stories, and the family treats her as a respected ancestor. Voiced by Sonja Ball.
  • Yeh-Yeh Miao – Yeh-Yeh (爷爷 yéye, paternal grandfather) is the grandfather of the Miao family. Like Nai-Nai, he is wise and patient. He is a good storyteller, and the kittens treat him with great love and respect. Voiced by Neil Shee.
  • Uncle Miao – Uncle Miao is the uncle of the Miao family and Baba's brother. He's very into ancient local history.
  • Auntie Mae-Mae – Auntie Mae-Mae is the aunt of the Miao family and Mama's sister. She babysits Sagwa, Sheegwa and Dongwa for the first time and adopts a dog called Cha-Siu as their cousin.


  • Chang-Foo Soon the Foolish Magistrate – The ruler of the province, Chang-Foo (丈夫 zhàngfū, husband) the Foolish Magistrate is a large and rather absent-minded man. He occasionally makes rules without reason, or makes ill-conceived decisions under pressure from his wife, Tai-Tai, but for the most part he is portrayed as a just and reasonable ruler. He is very fond of his cats, both for their calligraphy skills and for their ability to keep away mice and rats, of which he is deathly afraid. In one of the episodes, when he says "No rules, no race", this phrase turns into a musical drumbeat as a result of the phrase repeated by him. Voiced by Hiro Kanagawa.
  • Tai-Tai Soon – Tai-Tai (太太 tàitài, wife) is the Foolish Magistrate's wife. She is a very irritable, status-conscious woman who needs to prove her superiority to the "common" people of the village; however, she has flashes of kindness and reasonableness, in which she sees the consequences of her actions and apologizes to those she has wronged. She is very attached to the Sleeve Dogs who live in her robe, and values the cats only when they can bring praise on the family. She has a niece called Angwan. Voiced by Khaira Ledeyo.
  • The Three Daughters – Ba-Do (白豆 bái dòu, literally "white bean") is the Magistrate's oldest daughter, who wears pink. Of the three daughters, Ba-Do is the protagonist. Luk-Do (绿豆 lǜ dòu, literally "green bean" or "mung bean") is the Magistrate's middle daughter, and usually wears yellow. She is the more athletic of her sisters. Huang-Do (黄豆 huáng dòu, literally "yellow bean" or "soybean") is the Magistrate's youngest daughter, who is taller than her sisters and usually wears blue. She is the more sensitive of her sisters. The three girls argue a great deal, but they are generally loving sisters who support each other. Voiced by Kathy Tsoi, Leanne Adachi and Rosa Yee.
  • The Cook – The Cook not only prepares meals, but also attends to medical and other emergencies around the palace. He is a good friend of the Reader. Voiced by Raugi Yu.
  • The Reader – The Reader is in charge of reading the Magistrate's rules to the villagers; informally, he and the Cook often serve as advisors to the Magistrate as well. He also serves as tutor to the three daughters, and in one episode is discovered to be a talented poet as well. The reader is often the victim of mishaps caused by others in the palace. Voiced by Russell Yuen.

Best Friends/AlliesEdit

  • Fu-Fu – Fu-Fu (福蝠 fú fú, "lucky bat") is Sagwa's best friend and sidekick. A cave-dwelling bat who wears round glasses, he is an extremely clumsy flyer and often crashes into trees and other objects. He acts as Sagwa's conscience, warning her against taking unneeded risks, and then rescues Sagwa from the consequences of her adventures. Voiced by Rick Jones.
  • The Mice – Shei-Hu, his cousin Shei-He, and a large group of other mice live unseen behind the Palace walls. They are close friends of the three kittens and do no harm to the Palace nor its inhabitants. However, the Foolish Magistrate and his family are very afraid of mice in general, so their presence must remain hidden. Voiced by Jaclyn Linetsky.

Other charactersEdit

  • The Alley Cats – A group of cats who live in the streets and alleys outside the palace grounds. They include "bullies" such as Wing-Wing, Jiet-Jiet and Lik-Lik, who tease the Miao kittens because of their "goody-goody" ways and privileged lives. Others, however, are friends to Sagwa, Dongwa, and (to a lesser extent), Sheegwa, such as a female alley cat named Hun-Hun, and a male alley cat named Fam.
  • The Sleeve Dogs – Ping, Pong, and Pang are three small Pekingese dogs who live in the sleeves of Tai-Tai's robe. They antagonize the cats and boast of their superior status, but invariably their taunting and plots cause them to appear ridiculous and get into trouble in the end.

Many of the names of the characters derive from the Chinese language. Their spellings are romanizations (though not always Wade–Giles, but possibly dialects also), and differ from the standardized Pinyin system.

The name of the titular character, Sagwa, literally means "silly melon head". Although innocuous without context, this phrase is typically regarded by Chinese to be an insult, carrying connotations of incompetence, foolishness, and even mental retardation.


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2000s debuts Between the Lions (2000–2010) · The Dooley and Pals Show (2000–2003) · Clifford the Big Red Dog (2000–2003) · Corduroy (2000–2001) · Elliot Moose (2000–2001) · Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse (2000–2002) · George Shrinks (2000–2004) · Seven Little Monsters (2000–2004) · Timothy Goes to School (2000–2001) · Anne of Green Gables (2001–2002) · Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (2001–2002) · DragonflyTV (2002–2008) · Angelina Ballerina (2002–2006) · Liberty's Kids (2002–2003) · Make Way for Noddy (2002–2007) · The Berenstain Bears (2002–2004) · Boohbah (2003–2006) · Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks (2003–2007) · Clifford's Puppy Days (2003–2004) · Franny's Feet (2004–2011) · Peep and the Big Wide World (2004–2011) · Curiosity Quest (2004–2015) · Maya and Miguel (2004–2007) · Postcards from Buster (2004–2012) · It's a Big Big World (2005–2010) · Danger Rangers · The Zula Patrol (2005–2008) · Signing Time! (2006–2008) · Wunderkind Little Amadeus (2006) · Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (2006–2010) · Curious George (2006–2015) · SeeMore's Playhouse (2006–2008) · Design Squad (2007–2011) · WordGirl (2007–2015) · WordWorld (2007–2011) · Super Why! (2007–2015) · Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies (2007–2008) · Animalia (2007–2008) · Biz Kid$ (2008–2012) · Betsy's Kindergarten Adventures (2008–2009) · Martha Speaks (2008–2014) · Sid the Science Kid (2008–2013) · Lomax, the Hound of Music (2008) · The Electric Company (2009–2011) · Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps (2009–2010) · Dinosaur Train (since 2009–2017)
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