I was going to ask the same thing as Kobster. When I had to go abroad for 4 months, I found a student I trusted, who'd grown up with a cat, to cat sit for way reduced rent. So, essentially, a me replacement. Subletting was not allowed in my apt. complex, but since the lease remained in my name, that wasn't a problem.
If you can find someone you trust and you're willing to reduce your rent/mortgage in exchange for the "service," that would be far better than boarding. At least the place will remain familiar. I'm not familiar with the JET program - is it university-affiliated? ie, do you live near a college or university where there might be a ton of students who'd love the opportunity to exchange somewhere to live for cat care? You could then do interviews, have them over, and see how they interact with your kitty. Perhaps there's someone out there with experience with a bitey kitty like yours.