Having played with Chimbonda at Wigan Athletic and Sunderland, Kavanagh might have noted his habit of playing in gloves even in August.
But having turned out for Market Drayton this season, Chimbonda has warmed to the third tier.
The converted centre-back makes his third Carlisle appearance at home to Bristol City today.
“He’s done very, very well,” said Kavanagh. “We knew pretty quickly we wanted him at centre-half.
“He adapts very quickly because he’s an intelligent footballer.
“I had my reservations about his fitness and coming to a place that’s cold and far away but he knew me and wanted a fresh challenge.
“He wants to work hard and he’s done that every day he’s been here.”
Kavanagh has told Carlisle not to take bottom-placed City lightly despite four wins and two draws from his seven games in charge.
“What’s happened means nothing other than confidence and momentum,” he insisted. “They’re a good side with very good players.” Leon McSweeney (calf) is a doubt, while Chris Chantler’s return from an ankle injury could come in Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors friendly.
Prince Buaben has joined on loan from Watford but Kavanagh thinks the powerful midfielder is “two or three games” from being match-fit.
Meanwhile, the club has revealed losses of £666,257 last season, mainly blamed on dwindling attendances which caused some directors to inject their own money “to maintain the cash flow and continue operations” and ultimately cost Kavanagh’s predecessor, Greg Abbott, his job.