amendment or modification. Participant hereby waives any rights, and releases

 AGREEMENT  FOR  DEFERRAL  OF  1997  ANNUAL  CASH  BONUS

     Ralston  Purina  Company  ("Company")  and    NAME  agree that, effective
                                                 ------
November 1, 1997, $ DEFERRAL awarded to Participant under the 1997 Annual Cash
                  ----------
Bonus  Award  Program shall be deferred, as requested by Participant, into the
option  or  options  available  under  the  Deferred Compensation Plan for Key
Employees  ("Plan"), which is attached hereto as Exhibit A and incorporated by
reference  herein.

     Pursuant  to  Participant's  request,  the  following  amounts  have been
deferred  for  Participant  in  the  manner  set  forth  below:

     (1)          EQUITY  OPTION  -
                  -----------------

          (a)          $  EQUITY  in  a  Deferred  Stock Equivalent Account in
                       ---------
Participant's  name under the Equity Option as set forth in Section 2.2 of the
Plan.

          (b)          $  MATCH  in  a  Deferred   Stock Equivalent Account in
                       --------
Participant's  name  representing  Company  Matching  Deferral  (25% of amount
listed  in  1(a)  above)  as  set  forth  in  Section  2.2(b)  of  the  Plan.

(2)           SHORT-TERM VARIABLE INTEREST OPTION - $ SHORT in a Deferred Cash
              -----------------------------------   -------
Account  in Participant's name under the Variable Interest Option as set forth
in  Section  2.3  of  the  Plan;  provided, however, that, notwithstanding any
provision  to  the  contrary  contained  in  the Plan, amounts attributable to
deferrals  into  the  Short-Term  Variable  Interest  Option  shall be paid to
Participant  in  January  1998.

(3)             LONG-TERM VARIABLE INTEREST OPTION - $ LONG in a Deferred Cash
                ----------------------------------   ------
Account  in Participant's name under the Variable Interest Option as set forth
in  Section  2.3  of  the  Plan.

     Participant's  deferral  hereunder is pursuant to the Plan and is subject
in all respects to the terms and conditions of this Agreement and of the Plan.
No  other  communications  or  representations, written or oral, made prior or
subsequent  to  this Agreement shall be deemed to amend or modify the terms of
this  deferral  except  by  an  agreement  in  writing executed by the parties
subsequent  to  the  date  of  this  Agreement,  expressly  consenting to such
amendment or modification.  Participant hereby waives any rights, and releases
Company  from  any  claim,  based  on  any  such  prior  communications  or
representations,  if  any.

ACCEPTED:                              RALSTON  PURINA  COMPANY

_____________________________                    By:__________________________
          Participant                                     C.  S.  Sommer
    					               Vice  President  and
				                        Director,  Administration
_____________________________
          Date

i:sec\10k-97\ex10xvii.doc 

Basic Info X:

Name: amendment or modification. Participant hereby waives any rights, and releases
Type: and Releases
Date: Dec. 17, 1997
Company: RALSTON PURINA CO
State: Missouri

Other info:

Date:

  • November 1 , 1997
  • January 1998

Organization:

  • Ralston Purina Company
  • Deferred Stock Equivalent Account
  • Variable Interest Option

Money:

  • $ DEFERRAL
  • $ EQUITY
  • $ MATCH
  • $ SHORT
  • $ LONG

Person:

  • C. S. Sommer

Percent:

  • 25 %